HomeJob HuntingHow to advance to the phone screening stage in job applications?

How to advance to the phone screening stage in job applications?

In light of the recent wave of layoffs, the job market has become increasingly challenging, and many people may be hitting a brick wall at various points of their job search. This article delves into a crucial challenge of the job search: reaching the phone screening phase. It offers tactics to help you secure the outcomes you desire.

What are a few common roadblocks?

  • Not getting callbacks/phone screens or getting very few
  • Not passing the recruiter screen
  • Not moving forward in the job interviews

Let’s zoom in on the initial hurdle: the lack of callbacks. We’ll explore the underlying reasons your job search might not yield the expected results, identify the core issues, and discuss possible solutions to overcome these obstacles.

What is a good call-back ratio?

If you’re getting less than 1 callback/phone screen in every 10 job applications, it’s an indication that one of a few things is happening:

  • You’re not qualified for the types of jobs you’re applying for
  • Your resume isn’t presenting a relevant value proposition; this can happen for various reasons, which we elaborate on
  • Job market (this is out of your control)
  • Strength of other candidates (this, too, is out of your control)
  • For students or recent graduates aiming for internships and jobs overseas, visa sponsorship emerges as a notable barrier. The reluctance or inability of many firms to sponsor visas, owing to the costs and complexities involved, narrows the opportunities for international applicants, further complicating the process of receiving callbacks.

Focus on job search strategies within your control

In the job search process, there are factors beyond our control that significantly impact our journey, such as the job market’s current state and the caliber of other applicants. Economic fluctuations, industry trends, and regional demand can all influence the availability and nature of job opportunities, often making the job market highly competitive and unpredictable.

Similarly, the strength of other candidates, with their unique skills, experiences, and qualifications, can set a high benchmark, adding another layer of challenge. These external elements shape the landscape in which you find yourself competing, highlighting the importance of focusing on what you can control, such as enhancing your skills, tailoring your applications, and leveraging your network.

Common resume mistakes and how to fix them

Issue Suggested Fix
Applying to jobs you are not qualified for Applying for jobs beyond your qualifications doesn’t necessarily boost your odds; it’s crucial to target roles that align with your skills and experience. Thoroughly reading and understanding job descriptions is pivotal in conducting a comprehensive job fit analysis. Make sure you meet at least 70-80% of the basic job specifications mentioned.
Your resume has improper formatting for ATS ATS systems scan your resume vertically, from top to bottom, and horizontally, from left to right. Adding extra columns, graphics, or logos adds complexity, potentially confusing the system. This can lead to parts of your resume being incorrectly interpreted or completely overlooked. Use a traditional, single-column template without photos logos, or other graphic elements. Download a traditional and editable template, vetted by recruiters, formatted for ATS.
Your resume is using generic summary statement Your professional summary, which is usually placed at the top of your resume, is often the first thing recruiters see and read when they review your resume. It needs to be engaging and relevant to clear the initial screening hurdle. Crafting a stellar resume summary requires a blend of relevant elements:
job title, work experience, specific industry, work environment, education and area of expertise.
Your resume is not customized for the specific role Customizing your resume for a job opening goes beyond just inserting keywords. It involves a deep dive into understanding the required skills, experiences, industry, and the company culture you’re targeting. It’s about tailoring your experiences to demonstrate how you can add value to the role and the team. We’ve devoted an entire article to this subject, where we delve deeply into the details and offer examples of the correct approach. Additionally, it’s advised to employ the STAR format when detailing your experiences, this method helps in quantifying achievements and helps you distinguish yourself from other applicants.