What You Can Do
So how do you overcome that initial hurdle to make sure your resume gets attention?
Focus on the Cover Letter
Katherine Goldstein, innovations editor at Slate, suggests that a job seeker’s first step should be to present an excellent resume and, more importantly, a competent cover letter. That means proper basic grammar and no typos. The entry-level resume should present detailed experience in a field (and should only be a page long), and the cover letter tells the hirer about you and why you would be a good fit for the company.
In today’s difficult economy HR departments and hirers have to wade through hundreds and sometimes thousands of resumes to fill one or two positions. They look for reasons to discard applications. “It is not uncommon for me to get 100 applications for one spot, so I’m constantly looking for reasons not to advance a candidate to the interview round. Writing a good cover letter is your best shot at getting noticed," says Goldstein.
Put Yourself Out There
Job hunting in general takes energy and courage. Says Tim Sackett of The Tim Sackett Project: “[Finding an entry level job] takes work, it takes networking, it takes picking up the phone and having conversations, it takes asking for help, it takes asking people to do things for you – and many of us just aren’t comfortable doing all of these things." People at higher professional levels are applying for jobs below their pay scale, making it more difficult for entry-level applicants to stand out.
Don’t Lose Hope
Remember that companies keep resumes on file, usually for 1-6 months. You might not fit the particular position you initially applied for, but you might be contacted later if something similar pops up. You could send a reminder email three or six months after you applied.
Capitalize Your Strengths
Just because you don't have exactly the amount of depth of experience the job description may be looking for, don't sell yourself short. Capitalize on even the smallest amount of experience you may have in a chosen field. For example, use an internship during college, a part time weekend job at Best Buy in the Geek Squad, or by having a small business on the side doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for friends and local companies.
If you have any non-industry specific business experience, use that experience to help you pivot into a job that could take advantage of your experience.