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I can’t get any interviews. What am I doing wrong?

frustratedArmando from Monterry Tech recently asked:

I have a Bachelor’s in Marketing, two Master’s degrees (Mass Media and and MIB) and a Ph.D. I can’t seem to get a single interview when sending my resume online. I am frustrated. I have consulted experts, and they all agree that my resume format is OK. What am I doing wrong?

Hi Armando –

I can sense your frustration, That said, I can’t tell you what you are doing wrong unless I know what kind of work you are seeking and how you are going about your search.

I do know this: Simply applying online for jobs and hoping for interviews is not an effective job search strategy; it is a small part of an effective job search strategy, but not a strategy unto itself.

You also mentioned that you consulted experts … what are their areas of expertise? Just because someone is expert in one field, does not make them an expert in all fields or in job hunting or recruiting.  So, be careful to evaluate all advice you receive (including advice from me!), because not all of the advice you receive is good advice!

With that caveat – here is some of my advice:

More is not necessary better when it comes to education

You are certainly well educated.  You have four degrees!  Unfortunately, more education does not necessarily mean more marketable or more desireable to employers.  The qualifications you offer must make sense to potential employers and must be relevant to their hiring needs.  If someone needs to hire a chemical engineer, they are not going to care that you have a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

Also, does your series of degrees tell a coherent story?  Are the degrees in related fields?  Do they complement each other?  Or, are they in widely different fields and unrelated?  As a job seeker, it is your responsibility to help potential employers understand who you are, what you offer, and what you want.

While one employer might look at your resume and say: Look at how well-rounded and highly educated he is!

Another might look at it and say: Why did this guy get degrees in three different fields?  He’s all over the place!

It’s not about the volume of the education. It’s about the relevance.

Resumes are not “one size fits all” documents

Most employers do not hire “renaissance men”, so a generic, all-encompassing resumes are not typically effective job search tools.  They might be exceptionally well-formatted, well-written and free from typographical errors, but if they are full of information that is not relevant to the hiring employer, they may actually hurt your cause.  I recommend that you focus your resume to feature those aspects of your education, experience, skills and characteristics that are relevant to the employers you are targeting.  Leave the rest off.

You may need to have a few versions of your resume, so be prepared.  Don’t waste time customizing a unique resume for every job, but do make sure that the resumes you send are written to present your qualifications in terms relevant to the employers and kinds of jobs you are seeking.

Employers hire based on what they need, not on what you offer

Employers hire to meet specific needs when they have those needs.  They do not usually hire people when they are available just because they are available and have strong general credentials.  If you have what employers need, and you tell your story well, you will get considered for available opportunities.  It really is that simple.

If you tell a clear and compelling story about your qualifications, and your qualifications align well with the needs of hiring employers, you will get interviews.  If your story is unclear and/or your qualfications do not align well with hiring needs, employers will have no need or desire to interview you.

It’s basic, supply and demand economics.

One last thing: I strongly recommend you review my post Four Job Interview Questions You Must Be Able To Answer.

If you can answers these questions, you will be poised for success.

Good luck,

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