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The deck is stacked against me.

That is what many job applicants think as they submit their resumes to company web sites and, to a lesser degree, search firms. Frequently their interest in a job, as well as the time and effort to make the submission, is met with “radio silence.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have submitted my resume for a job that I was qualified for and I heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement that they received my resume,” one executive recently complained. “It is just a black hole.”

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They call it the black hole. “I cannot tell you how many times I have submitted my resume for a job that I was qualified for and I heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement that they received my resume,” one executive recently complained. “It is just a black hole.” His comments have been echoed time and again from other executives across multiple industries. After repeated failure they begin to believe that the deck is stacked against them.

And it is if you do not understand how the 2020 version of the job search process works. It is hard to win a game, even if you are a consummate professional, when you do not understand the rules for success.

The rules cover three basic areas:

  1. Clarify and simplify your story. To do this you must understand your real value. Surprisingly, most executives struggle with this concept.
  2. Develop a resume that speaks to a specific employer’s needs. If you are using an older version with updates, or a new shiny one created by a resume service, and it does not speak specifically to the needs of a given employer, you are wasting your time.
  3. Master the art of storytelling for you job interview, from the telephone interview all the way to the face-to-face meeting with the decision maker. The best qualified candidates get the job less than 25 percent of the time. The winners are those who did the best job telling their story, communicating their value in a way that connects directly with the prospective employer’s needs.

Executives must pay special attention to the rules of a successful video interview if they hope to succeed since more and more of the search process is being shifted to video platforms.

Executives must pay special attention to the rules of a successful video interview if they hope to succeed since more and more of the search process is being shifted to video platforms. Most of the video interviews I conducted during my 25-year career as a search consultant were mediocre at best, including the one with an executive who had set up a makeshift home office in her laundry room while contractors remodeled her study. The clothesline in the background added a degree of color to our conversation I did not dare mention.