Career Search Analysis

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Finding Your Way Through the Job Search Maze: Understanding the 3 Conversion Points

job search Sep 04, 2023

When my clients schedule a career search analysis, it's usually because something about their job search isn't working, and they just don't know what it is...

Is something wrong with their resume or cover letter?

Could it be their LinkedIn profile?

Maybe it's their interviewing skills?

Or are they making a mistake at the negotiation and job offer stage?

So the first thing I do is consider the three main conversion points in every job search to analyze exactly where my client may be getting stuck or making some key mistakes.

After asking just a few questions, it becomes clear exactly where my client is stuck, and the next steps we need to take to get them closer to landing their ideal job. 

What are the 3 job search conversion points?

The three conversion points in a job search refer to the key moments in the hiring process where you need to "convert" your status from being just a job seeker to becoming a serious contender for the position. These three conversion points are:

1. Resume Screening:

The first conversion point is getting past the initial resume screening. This is where recruiters or hiring managers quickly scan your resume to determine if you are a good fit for the position.

To successfully convert at this stage, your resume must not just clearly demonstrate your relevant experience, skills, and qualifications - it must show, at-a-glance, how your experience matches the specific job the recruiter is hiring for. At. A. Glance.

The reality is that most recruiters are very busy and have to review many resumes for each position, sometimes hundreds. So they aren't going to spend time trying to figure out if your experience and skills are a good match for the position they're working on. You need to point it out for them.  

This is why generic resumes don't work. It's not necessarily because your resume looks bad or isn't well written or doesn't showcase your experience, skills and education well. It's because the recruiter can't understand at a glance how you match the job they're working on, so they move on to the next resume.

Yes, this means you do need to customize your resume to clearly match each and every job you apply for.

You can make this process easier from the beginning by first identifying an ideal job description in the real world (one that represents most of the jobs you will be applying for), and then matching your resume to that job description. So while you may still need to update your resume for each position you apply for, the changes will be smaller and easier to make.

But what I find to be the biggest challenge here for job seekers is that creating a resume that matches a job position, that makes recruiters see, at an immediate glance, that you are an ideal fit, isn't easy, and is very likely not your core skillset.   

So while you may be immensely talented at what you do for work, it's very possible that creating a resume that becomes a fabulous marketing document to get you that interview is a huge block. 

When I create resumes for clients, I spend hours analyzing the job description, industry, and company, and trying to really get into the mind of the recruiter hiring for that position, and understand what the recruiter needs to see to get that resume on the shortlist. I can tell you, it really helps that I was that recruiter and hiring manager once and know exactly what they're going through. 

And then I spend even more time interviewing my client, digging into everything they've ever done, every accomplishment, every experience, even stuff they don't think is job-related at all (but actually is!). I need to know every single thing, so I can make sure I can add it in if needed to show the recruiter that my client is an ideal match. 

After that, I craft the marketing document (I mean, resume), taking into consideration everything that will impact whether or not my client's resume will be discarded or shortlisted. The layout, look and feel, and length do matter (but only to the extent that they contribute to getting you the result you want). But what's most important is that the recruiter can glance at the resume and say - yes - this person is a match. 

I spent 20+ years in strategic marketing, and I have to say that crafting the right resume is exactly the same process I used to create effective marketing materials. But instead of marketing a piece of software, I'm marketing my client. 

I've seen many beautiful looking resumes - but if they don't get what I call in marketing a true business results (an action of some sort), then that's what they just remain - a beautiful, but ineffective document. 

So if you're sending out lots of resumes and not getting calls from recruiters for initial interviews, then this is the first job conversion point you're stuck at.

I would recommend consulting with a career coach or professional resume writer at this stage. Look for someone who emphasizes the importance of customizing your resume for the specific position, and takes a lot of time to really get to know everything about your past experiences. 


2. Phone Screening or Initial Interview:

The second conversion point is the phone screening or initial interview. This first call is usually with an external recruiter a company has hired, the company recruiter or HR department, and is the first opportunity to directly engage with the employer and position yourself as an ideal candidate.

What you're looking to do at this stage is to convert an initial call or phone screening into an in-person (or Zoom) interview. 

Often this phone screening or initial interview may not seem like an interview at all and can come out of the blue. It could be that quick call back from a recruiter to set a time - that leads into the recruiter asking several questions.... interview questions... that you may not have thought to prepare for. 

That's why successful conversion at this stage requires early preparation and organization. Take some time to prepare your answers to some of the most common interview questions a recruiter may ask at this early stage. These questions could include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • Why are you leaving your position?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Why did leave that company?

Often, these questions are just a way for the recruiter to get a good feel for you and assess your fit for the company. But if you're not prepared, these questions can throw you off, or cause you to answer them in a way you never would if you had initially thought them through. This could leave the recruiter questioning your fit for the company, and not moving you through to the next round. 

To successfully convert to an in-person interview, you need to demonstrate in the initial screening call that you are enthusiastic, interested in THIS position with THIS company (not just any job), come across as personable and confident, and don't raise any red flags. 

if you're having trouble converting at this stage, it's usually because of a lack of preparation, difficulty talking about why you're the ideal person for the position, stumbling over answers to questions, or raising red flags. 

To overcome this challenge, it's important to practice your responses to common interview questions, research the company and the role, and be confident and articulate when speaking with the hiring manager. It's also important to identify any red flags on your resume and practice your responses so you can put the recruiter at ease. 

When I work with clients, we spend a lot of time identifying the most likely questions a recruiter will ask, and coming up with answers to those questions, and then practicing them in mock interviews. We also craft an amazing response to the most commonly asked question: "Tell me about yourself", which I find is the one question that seems simple on the surface, but is actually the one that trips up the most people. 

So if you're getting a lot of initial call backs from recruiters, but aren't moving on to the next stage, I'd recommend working with a career coach to really go through those interview questions, come up with some great responses, and practice them in mock interviews. This could make all the difference!

3. In-Person Interview:

The third and final conversion point is the in-person interview. This interview is generally with the actual hiring manager, and may also include the recruiter and other relevant team members. This is the ultimate opportunity to demonstrate your fit for the role and the company culture. It is important to prepare for this stage by researching the company, practicing your responses to common interview questions, and honing your "career story". 

If you're having trouble converting at this stage, it may be because you haven't prepared enough, you lack confidence, or you let nerves get the best of you. 

To overcome this challenge, it's essential to research the company, and practice your responses to common interview questions. If you find that you tend to get "stage fright" in formal interviews or group interviews, you can explore ways to overcome anxiety, such as taking an improv class, working on your mindset or connecting with a career coach who can help you identify exactly what's going on, and identify steps you can take to become more confident and "like yourself" in interviews.

If you find that you're converting many phone screening interviews, but getting stuck at the in-person interview stage, it could be a sign that something about being in-person is a challenge for you. Many people find in-person interviews challenging, akin to the stage fright many get when giving a presentation. 

I find that a person's personality style plays an important role with in-person interviews, and that's why I don't take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to helping my clients prepare. 

The most common advice is to get more confident, or practice, practice, practice. But this doesn't necessarily work for all people. For example, some personality types find it really hard to balance in-person interviews with being their authentic selves. They can feel like they're promoting themselves, and that goes against a core value. 

I do a lot of work with my clients around their personality styles and finding a way to approach interviews and networking in a way that feels completely authentic and aligned for who they are. And this might be something different for each person!


Where are you stuck in your job search process?

The sooner you pinpoint exactly which conversion point you're stuck at in your job search process, the sooner you can get back on track, fix what's not working, and get closer to landing your ideal job. 

If you're struggling in your job search and aren't sure why, schedule a free career search analysis now RIGHT HERE. I'll ask you the right questions to get to the bottom of your job search challenges and recommend some next steps to get back on track. I can't wait to talk!

About the Author: Nicole Croizier is a Certified Sparketype Advisor, Senior Professional Career Coach, Master Certified Soul's Calling Coach & Facilitator, and on the leadership team for the International Association of Career Coaches. She combines her 20 years of experience in marketing, recruiting, career development, and resume writing to help passionate professionals decode their career discontent, reignite their career spark, identify their ideal job, and transition to meaningful work they love.

She's helped hundreds of passionate professionals, coaches, consultants and solopreneurs spark their work through her own programs and as a coach instructor for Martha Beck's Wayfinder Coach Training and The Soul's Calling Academy.  If you’re looking for a career transition magician, then book a career strategy call with Nicole now or explore her programs below:


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