Going Low Tech

by Peg Bogema

Here's an email I got from a candidate Stout Systems is working with:

"I have put about 20 resumes out there in the last month, and not one company has expressed a flicker of interest. It's hard to get across how shocked I am by this; I'm awfully good at what I do and I have never spent so long in a job search. Usually it takes about six weeks--this time it's been six months, with only one onsite interview. I suppose that if I count them all up, I've sent out close to 100 copies of my resume since January. Usually I send...10?"

Boy, does this candidate speak for a lot of people!

In talking and emailing with candidates, we are often asked what to do to penetrate the gate keepers. Here are a few tips:

  1. If you're applying for a position that's not in your geographic area, you are going to make a strong case for yourself if you say that you don't need relocation assistance. You also make a strong case for yourself if you say that you're trying to relocate to the area for a specific reason (like family, good schools, four seasons, no snow, whatever)
  2. If you match a position well, call that out in your cover. If you are deficient in a particular skill, call that out, too, but say why you think it's offset by your other strengths.
  3. Network like crazy. Right now we're inundated with resumes. I say "no" to many, many candidates. And this pains me [OUCH!] because most of them are quite skilled. With the number of applicants, only the exact match people are getting through the gate. THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, if I get a personal referral from someone we know, I pay a lot more attention to the resume. THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT to anyone who is becoming frustrated in his or her job search. Reaching out to everyone you've ever worked with and getting them to make introductions, walk your resume in to HR, etc. is the key thing to do. Use Linked In to find your former colleagues. Remember that most companies pay their employees a referral fee if they recommend someone who gets hired; so you might even be helping your friends even as they help you.

Go low tech. In today's job market, you'll find that the personal touch is the thing that will help the most.

Good luck if you're job hunting. It is tough right now, but we have tiny signs of improving conditions.

FYI: I'm reading resumes this week, a job that my colleague Ursula Kellman normally does. She's taking a well-deserved vacation, so I'm holding down the fort in her absence.

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