I found an article off my Twitter feed this morning from a blog called ResumeBear. Click on that link to read the article. What I think is the most informative part of the article is in a small excerpt below.
"If you are not getting at least a 25% return – one interview for every four resumes submitted – you need help with your resume – it is just not working well. If you are getting interviews, and you are not getting job offers, you need better interview skills. If as a job seeker you cannot find jobs you want to apply to, then start doing information interviews with companies you eventually want to work for."
I don't know if this person's numbers are correct for every market, but I like the concept. Let me tell you why.
As a recruiter, I want to encourage people who talk to me about how they haven't found a job yet although they've been looking for a long time. I am sometimes at a loss for those encouraging words in a networking situation. It's easier to discuss this with a person sitting in the privacy of my office.
Also, there are people who say they want feedback, but when they hear something they don't like, they bristle at the news. It isn't my problem if you don't believe me, of course. But if you have found yourself often irritated by the advice you've been getting, maybe you need to change your outlook. No one is out to make you feel inferior!
When you meet a hiring manager, HR employee or recruiter at a networking event, try a different approach. Rather than mention how long you've been looking and trying to be optimistic about it, ask a pointed question.
1. Will you glance at my resume to see if there are things that I can improve? This is different than an actual critique, but if you have your resume with you, ask for that quick glance.
2. What is the best question you've been asked by a candidate? The list of questions for interviews is another blog post!
3. Do you know of any companies in the area that hire people with my skills? The point here is that there are many medium to small companies in the community that don't leap to the job seekers mind.
To sum up, the job market notwithstanding, there are some things you can do to increase your odds: improve your resume, improve your interview skills, find new companies to work for.