In the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the labor department announced that the total number of job openings hit a record high of 10.1 million in the month of June this year. With the reopening of the economy post-pandemic, businesses are aggressively ramping up hiring and supply is a serious concern. Here is another statistic from the same report: Professional Services is among the sectors that have added the highest number of vacancies. While the average growth rate for all occupations is 4% as per job outlook data, Information Technology and Software jobs are projected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029.
This is indeed good news for you if you are a job seeker in the IT industry, but there is another side to this story. According to a Glassdoor survey, hiring managers receive close to 250 resumes for each job opening and only 4 to 6 candidates are typically invited for an interview after screening their profiles. This roughly translates to 2% of the candidate pool!
How do I get into this 2% list?
Good question. Step into the shoes of a hiring manager who is handling multiple job openings. They will be required to handle as many as 10-15 open positions when companies go on a recruiting spree. This means that each hiring manager must screen anywhere between 2500 to 3000 profiles. To simplify this process and save time, companies deploy Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) where the candidates have to fill information about themselves, upload their resumes and answer a few questions. If you have applied through LinkedIn, you will already be familiar with this process.
The first thing you must remember is that this ATS software ranks your profile based on keywords relevant to the job description. If your resume does not contain the right keywords, then the hiring manager will not consider your application for further processing.
So, lesson # 1: Before you apply for a position on a job portal, study the job description, understand the skill requirements and ensure you include specific keywords relevant to the skills in your resume.
Successful applicants have one thing in common: they honestly evaluate their profile and apply only to those jobs where they can match at least 70% of skills required.
Simple Tips for Better Responses
You now understand the importance of keywords in your resume. Let us look at some of the other things that you can do to get the attention of hiring managers:
- Customize your resume for each job application to ensure that you highlight the right skills.
- Always attach a bespoke cover letter explaining your rationale in applying for the job.
- Provide honest responses to questions asked in the job board. Never exaggerate or make claims that cannot be substantiated.
- Referrals rank third in the list of sources for hiring managers. So be sure to identify contacts in your social network who will be able to introduce you to people in the company you wish to apply for.
- LinkedIn offers a way for job seekers to send InMail and messages. Use these tools to reach out to the hiring manager. But never send a connection invite if they don’t know you.
- Add “Skill Badges” by completing online courses that will establish that you are willing to continuously learn and acquire new skills to stay relevant.
- Share online certifications on your social media accounts.
- Get endorsements from people you have worked with before to establish credibility.
- Follow-up through email and politely request a quick feedback that can help you understand what worked in your favor and what didn’t.
You will do well to reflect on what author Miles Anthony Smith wrote in his book ‘Becoming Generation Flux: Why Traditional Career Planning is Dead’. Smith remarks, “Finding a job that is a good fit is as much about you selecting the right company as it is about them selecting the right candidate.”
For a Rewarding Career, choose a “Great Place to Work”
It is important that you find out more about your employer by visiting their website and social media pages. Here is how you can effectively analyze a company through information available online:
Visit the “About Us” section on their website to find out about the company’s vision, mission, and core values. Most companies also list details of their leadership and key management team here. The “Products and Services” section will help you understand what they offer to their customers and how they solve real-world problems.
Browsing through the company’s social media pages across LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook will help you track conversations and topics discussed. Videos in their YouTube channel will offer unique insights about thought leaders and subject matter experts within the organization, technology partnerships, branding, and marketing related content.
Most technology companies have OEM partnerships with industry leaders such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google, SAP, Oracle, and Salesforce. You can visit partner portals to understand their alignment and collaboration.
Glassdoor is a platform where you will find reviews about the company written by former and current employees.
Companies are recognized as “Best Workplaces” by independent professional certification agencies which can help in reassuring you that the company’s culture is conducive to employee well-being and growth. These are companies that will value your contributions and help you grow along with them.
Good luck in finding the next big opportunity that will propel your career to the next orbit. Rest assured you will be in the 2% that gets called for the interview.