get an interview

You’ve updated your resume, tweaked your cover letter, and searched high and low for the perfect job. Now comes the hard part: how to get an interview for the jobs you want.

We all know people who are frustrated in their job search because they’ve sent out hundreds of resumes without getting one acknowledgment, let alone landing an interview.

You may be enduring this type of job search frustration yourself–anxiously awaiting a call from a hiring manager with an invitation to come in for a job interview. A call that never seems to come, no matter how perfect you think you are for the job.

If this sounds familiar, it’s important to step back from your job search and look at the situation candidly.

Tailor Your Resume to Land an Interview

One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting an interview is to customize your resume and cover letter for each job application.

Rather than using a generic resume that you send to every employer, take the time to review each job posting and target your resume accordingly.

Employers will often list specific qualifications in the job announcement they are looking for in a candidate. If you don’t meet those qualifications, you won’t get the interview–no matter how perfect your resume is otherwise.

However, if you have some or all of the qualifications sought, customize your resume. Highlight the experience and skills that make you the perfect candidate for the job. Focus on those most relevant to the position you’re applying for, and leave out anything that isn’t directly related.

The same goes for your cover letter; each should be unique and address why you would be the perfect fit for that particular job.

Of course, the above advice assumes that you are starting from a stellar, professionally written resume. Good enough isn’t good enough when it comes to your resume.

Yes, this will take more time per contact than just blanketing the market with copies of your generic resume. However, it’s also FAR more effective. Your ROI for time spent will be exponentially better than blanket resume-sending.

To get a job interview, you need to stand out from the crowd and give hiring managers a reason to want to meet you in person. If you have any doubts about your resume, stop wasting opportunities. Instead, schedule a free consultation with us to learn more about how a professionally written resume will benefit you.

Don’t Overlook Sending a Cover Letter

A well-written cover letter to accompany your resume is essential. Still, many people choose not to include one. This is all the more reason for you to do so.

Cover letters provide employers with a way to get to know you beyond your resume and can be an essential factor in whether or not you get an interview.

Here are the top five reasons you should always use a cover letter when applying for jobs.

  1. They give you a way to introduce yourself to the employer and explain why you are interested in the position.
  2. They allow you to sell yourself and highlight your skills and accomplishments most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
  3. If it is well-crafted, it will show that you have researched the company and the specific job you are applying for and that you are a good fit for both.
  4. It provides another opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and ability to communicate effectively in writing, which is vital for many jobs.
  5. Finally, it provides a chance for you to connect personally with hiring managers, which can give you a leg up on other candidates who did not submit one.

Cover letters may seem like a lot of work, but they are definitely worth the effort. By writing a tailored and professional cover letter, you will show employers that you are serious about the position and that you are the right candidate for the job. This, in turn, will significantly boost your chances of landing an interview.

Take a Close Look at Your Job Search Strategy

If you are sure your problem isn’t your career marketing documents, it is time to take a look at your job-hunting strategy. Or worse, your lack of a job-hunting strategy.

You’ll continue to suffer through your job search until you realize you must make a plan and focus on what is most impactful and “cost-effective” in order to get results.

Blanketing job applications in response to advertised openings is usually not a cost- or time-effective way of landing job interviews.

While you don’t want to overlook applying for advertised jobs, you shouldn’t spend much time or rely on them as your only technique. The ads are often placed even though someone has already been informally chosen for the position.

Instead, you must become that in-the-know person chosen before the ad goes up.

This means that your new job-hunting strategy should be both more specific and more personal.

Networking Connections Are Essential

Unless you have very specialized, hard-to-replicate knowledge, education, or training, most employers would rather hire people they know. Failing that, they’d rather hire someone that their neighbor’s friend knows.

Any connection is better than none.


It’s about trust. Put yourself in the place of the hiring manager. Wouldn’t you rather interview and hire someone you know is responsible and can be counted on to get the work done? Wouldn’t you rather hire someone who gets along well with others?

These and other basic trust and dependability questions would go through your mind if you were on the other side of the job interview.

Hiring someone you know (or someone you are somehow connected with) is a shortcut to getting these basic yet essential personal qualities and work characteristics.

If the employer interviews and subsequently hires someone they don’t know at all, they may find out the person is undependable, or worse, find this out a couple of months after hiring them.

Firing is time-consuming and expensive for a business, as is renewing the search for a new candidate and then training a new employee. Employers will go to any lengths to avoid this waste of time and money.

7 Effective Techniques to Land an Interview Infographic
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Why Traditional Job Search Methods Fail To Get You Interviews

  • Tons of competition – In the age of the Internet, there aren’t a lot of secrets. Everyone sees the same job ads.

  • Advertised jobs are often those that are difficult to fill for various reasonsHR professionals cast a wide net to show the company that they’re trying.

  • Advertised jobs are often low-paying positions – In-the-know job hunters or those seeking internal promotions have already filled mid-to-high-level jobs.

  • Employers tend to hire people who are recommended vs. those who respond to ads — to avoid costly hiring mistakes.

  • Employers find advertising creates a lot of extra work — including lots of administrative time screening responses, taking calls, and interviewing strangers.

  • Most jobs are filled before ads are even needed — they’re filled by trusted insiders, like you!

7 Effective Techniques to Land an Interview

  • Open up: Being very open in your job search helps. Let everyone know you are job hunting. There’s no longer any stigma to changing jobs more often than in the past. It’s normal to spend more time between jobs. People are naturally wired to want to help, even if you don’t specifically ask.

    The world has become more social. Social connections have gained value. Continuously work on building your professional network and ask for help from people already in your network.

  • Research: Besides getting information from anyone in your network who has information about the company, go online to find out about the companies you are targeting. Any insight about the company’s mission, business model, or workplace culture will help. Make sure the information you dig up is accurate and not just gossip. Don’t depend solely on Internet research.

    Vet the info with first-person accounts from people you know whenever possible. If you find out the company is phasing out hardware, don’t spend time in your interview touting your hardware acumen. If you learn a lot about the company and can demonstrate a bit of this to your interviewer, you’ll stand out. A common interview question is, “why would you like to work for our company?”

    This is a great place to display your knowledge, which shows you take initiative and are looking for a career, not just a job.

  • Social media: Of course, networking in your online “neighborhood” can be a big help. Your cousin (or Facebook friend, former co-worker, or schoolmate) may know someone they went to high school with years ago who is hiring for just the position you want. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll be received if you are a known quantity to the interviewer.

    Join social groups (online and in-person networks) that deal with your industry: Locate some online industry forums where interesting conversations about the state of the industry and new developments are going on.

  • Look for “elite” job ads: Job ads on membership sites and job openings posted on industry forums will be visible to a smaller crowd of candidates. You’ll be able to more easily see what (or who) your connections are. Part of your job search strategy is to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

  • Build your own brand: As you become comfortable, participate in discussions and answer questions – you’re building a reputation for yourself online. (This should be happening whether you’re job hunting or not.) How can you fail to get interviews if you are well-known in your industry or a local version thereof?

    If you have time, start your own blog. This can be a double-edged sword if you express controversial opinions about your industry. Some people become thought-leaders this way, while others can end up un-hirable. (Although some use this as a springboard to go into business for themselves.)

    Think before you post or comment online, but do get involved at the level you have time for and are comfortable with while job hunting.

  • Volunteer or “consult”: While volunteering, you’ll gain new skills and experience, even when you’re “out of work.” Don’t characterize this period as being merely “unemployed” to your prospective employers. The latter sounds passive. You want to be seen as positive, energetic, and full of new ideas because you are. It is common for professionals to hold freelancing gigs in between jobs.

  • Attend industry conferences, events, and meet-ups: You’ll gain more insight and make more connections. Now that you have a job-hunting strategy and are reaching out, your job search will become much less frustrating and isolating– it can even be fun!

Next Steps

About the Author: Michelle Dumas

Michelle Dumas is the founder and CEO of Distinctive Career Services, one of the internet's longest-standing and most respected professional resume writing firms. Michelle is a 6X certified and 7X award-winning resume writer and career consultant. To learn more about the services offered by Distinctive Career Services visit

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