Most job hunters know that the two main parties in the hiring process are HR and the hiring authority. To maximize your efforts to get a job offer, you should be aware of the differences between what each party does and how best to proceed with each of them.
Most job hunters use the same approach in their search. You should use a more advanced approach than the standard send a resume and cross your fingers, but for now, remember:
If you use a standard job hunting approach, HR is the most important party in the hiring process. Why? Simple. HR's responsibility is to make sure that a given applicant has the minimum qualifications necessary for the position that person applied for.
You might think that if you have the educational requirement, any technical skills required, and the experience required, then you will be well on the way to getting an interview with the hiring authority. Unfortunately, there are still obstacles to overcome before that happens.
Because most employers are flooded with resumes, to deal with with the flood, HR screens resumes not only to sort those that meet the minimum qualifications, but also to screen out those applicants that have factors which render those people unfit to be in the pool of serious candidates for anything in a long list of reasons such as: too old, experience in a different size company, jumping around in the industry, self-employment, currently unemployed, fired from a recent job, poor communication skills, no/not enough/too much experience working as part of a team, unrealistic compensation demands, poor references etc. If you think it sounds like HR is more concerned about screening people out, rather than looking for reasons to move you forward in the hiring process, you're right! Remember; they have a ton of resumes to screen, and to get through them all, they need they need to be as efficient as possible.
If HR receives X number of resumes that appear to have the minimum required qualifications, they reduce it to a manageable size by looking for reasons to justify screening out as many as necessary.
Most hiring authorities look for evidence of three main qualities in a potential hire:
*A high level of competence
*A high level of integrity
*The kind of personality that wears well over time
The most important thing that most hiring authorities want to know is the answer to: What can you do for me?
My advice, based on personal experience as well as long experience personally helping clients of all ages and backgrounds, is that you should market yourself directly to hiring authorities.
Why? Because s/he is more likely to understand or overlook factors that might cause you to be screened out if you use the standard method of sending resumes to HR.