As a job seeker, you’re most likely spending all your time scouring the Web for employment opportunities. But did you know a majority of openings are never advertised online? Probably not.
I’d also bet you’ve no clue how long most interviews last; how many other candidates are vying for your dream job; or how much money you lose over the course of your career if you never negotiate pay.
The job search process is tricky and trying, and there’s a lot you probably don’t know. However, if you do your research and have the proper information on your side, the outcome should be favorable.
Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful interview answers, compiled information from various sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor.com, CNN, TheUnderCoverRecruiter.com, and The Wall Street Journal, among others, to uncover facts and figures that may be useful to job seekers.
“Many job seekers want to know, Is what I am experiencing normal?” says Alan Carniol, founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com. “I think this information can help them to answer that question and feel better about their job search experience. These statistics can also help them to create a job search plan, formulate their interview story, and navigate through the post-interview process more efficiently.”
Here are 7 things InterviewSuccessFomula.com found out about the job search process that you probably didn’t know:
1. There were 3.6 million job openings at the end of 2012. About 80% of available jobs are never advertised.
2. The average number of people who apply for any given job: 118. Twenty-percent of those applicants get an interview.
3. Many companies use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50% of applications before anyone ever looks at a resume or cover letter.
4. On average, interviews last 40 minutes. After that, it usually takes 24 hours to two weeks to hear from the company with their decision.
5. What do employees look for before making an offer? About 36% look for multitasking skills; 31% look for initiative; 21% look for creative thinking; and 12% look for something else in the candidate.
6. In the U.S., 42% of professionals are uncomfortable negotiating salary. By not negotiating, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by the time they reach 60.
7. More than half (56%) of all employers reported that a candidate rejected their job offer in 2012.
[Click here to see InterviewSuccessFormula.com’s infographic.]
Why are these statistics and facts so useful and important?
Knowing that the average interview runs just 40 minutes, for example, is a good reminder that you have very little time to make a memorable impression on the employer.
“A hiring manager must make a decision that can cost a company thousands or tens of thousands of dollars [in that short time],” Carniol says. “So, they are very sensitive to even the smallest details, like how nervous the job seeker is, or spelling errors on their resume. Plus, if you’re not prepared, even when you’re the most qualified, it’s very hard to prove ‘why you’ in such little time.”
Here are a few job search preparation tips and reminders:
Recognize that job search is a separate skill and process.
“Whether or not you are great at your job has little bearing on your job search success rate,” Carniol says. “You will have to invest energy in learning this process and remember that any frustrations encountered in the job search don’t relate to how valuable you can be on the job.”
Identify your top accomplishments.
Organizations want to know what results you can deliver to them–so your resume, cover letter, and interview should focus on these specific results, Carniol says. “Remember to add numbers and be as specific and detailed as possible. If you can, develop a story behind each of these accomplishments.”
Prepare an elevator pitch.
“In 60 seconds, you should be able to explain what you want as your next step and how you can create value (by highlighting accomplishments),” Carniol explains. This pitch will come in handy for cover letters, networking, and even chatting with family and friends about your job search. If you are clear on what you want and come across as motivated and valuable, people will want to help you.
Polish your resume.
It won’t land you a job offer, but a bad one can eliminate you, he says.
Get on top of the trends in your industry.
What new trends, technologies, or jargon do you need to be aware of? What companies are up-and-coming (and may be hiring)? Are there any specific skills that you need to improve to be competitive in today’s job market?
Inventory your network.
That 80% of jobs that aren’t posted will be discovered through your network, Carniol says. “And if you invest the time to map it out, your network will be far bigger than you expect.” Create a list of former co-workers, classmates, recreational sports teammates, fellow members of your religious congregation, family members, and neighbors–essentially anyone that you know. “Strengthen these connections by reaching out on LinkedIn.”
Once you prepare adequately, how can you make sure you have a successful job search?
Focus your job search.
Trying to get “any job” is much less effective than focusing on a specific job title at a specific type of organization that aligns with your skills and experience, Carniol says. “If you don’t meet the requirements for a position, think hard before applying. You may only be wasting your time, as well as the time of the employer.”
Use three different approaches to job seeking.
Only a small percentage of people get their jobs through sending a resume and cover letter in reply to a job posting. “The rest find positions by reaching out to colleagues in their field and asking for informal advice; through working on a contract or temporary basis with a target firm; through knocking on doors; by networking at live events and virtual career fairs; and even finding opportunities through social media,” Carniol says. “Use more than one and you’ll see success faster. But if you use more than three, it can get too overwhelming.”
Put in the time.
“The job search really needs to be a job where you invest enough hours each week into the search,” he says. “The majority of the time, you will unfortunately not hear anything back. Though frustrating, that’s normal. You still need to keep at it and put in enough time the next week.”
Come to the interview prepared.
Do your homework on the interviewer and the company so you’re adequately prepared. In addition, come to the interview with your own personal interview story and with questions for the interviewer. This will help you to stand out from other candidates, Carniol says.
“You may reach out for a networking conversation and not hear back. You may not hear back after an interview when you expect. In any case, it’s on you to follow-up on a timely basis so that you stay in consideration,” he says. “A week is a good amount of time between outreaches if you haven’t heard back.”
Understand the power of negotiation.
Once you land a job, you may have the opportunity to negotiate terms, like salary and benefits. Don’t be afraid to speak up! You could be missing out on added bonuses if you don’t, Carniol says.
Remember how much you have to offer on the job.
“The job search can feel disheartening,” he says. “Yet, that doesn’t reflect what you can do for an employer when you join their team.” Keep in mind the value you have to offer any company in every job search communication. If you need a confidence boost, review all of your previous accomplishments.
“The job search process can be tough, but it’s important for job seekers to meet every challenge with the right information and an ample plan of action,” Carniol concl