In my Sunday Denver Post, I was intrigued to read a story in the Business section that detailed the woes of 2 job seekers. Each of these women had been on the job hunt for months, with no end in sight (until one of them obtained retraining in another field).
One of these women relayed her story of spending 5 to 6 hours per day on Internet job searching and networking, and the other mentioned sending more than 300 resumes out to posted ads.
Maybe you also read the same story, and thought that this was a prime example of how bad the job market really is out there. Or perhaps you could relate to the journeys that these women had taken in their quest to find new work.
I read something different.
In fact, I was amazed to hear the details of both stories, and here’s why: sending your resume to posted job ads is the worst possible method to use when unemployed.
This method not only pits you against the largest volume of competition possible, but also forces you to play a numbers game, where your resume might be number 501 in the stack–but the employer has stopped looking after the first 500 entries.
What’s astounding to me is that time-tested advice on the right way to look for a job (by targeting desired employers and creating an irresistible pitch) are everywhere, including this recent how-to job search article from Erin Kennedy.
In addition, I was shocked to learn that each of these job hunters had a sales background! This means that they probably possess fantastic, door-opening abilities to cold call and penetrate accounts at a decision-making level.
Why not use those abilities to follow up and find an actual person on the end of each inquiry?
What about using sales databases or other company data (Dun and Bradstreet, Hoovers, etc.) to find contacts at local companies? Even the Harris Infosource Directory can be had for free at any Denver public library.
In addition, neither job hunter mentioned how she used social media to advance the job search, so I did a little investigating. There, I found that one of these people had populated her LinkedIn Summary with a cover letter. (How do I know this? I wrote it. Yep, that’s right – all 2,000 characters are my cover letter, save for about 5 words.)
It was lifted from a letter that I developed for another job seeker, who must have passed it along. (So, not only is the profile written for someone else, it uses copy that wasn’t optimized for LinkedIn!)
Is it possible that these job hunters had never heard of the proper way to use LinkedIn?
I find that hard to believe, given the volume of data published by the careers industry on a daily basis. Ask The Headhunter, Tim’s Strategy, Career Rocketeer, CAREEREALISM, Secrets of the Job Hunt, and Job-Hunt.org all do a fantastic job of educating job seekers on social media topics, as well as fresh, innovative ways of getting out from behind the computer to make an impression on employers.
Now, I know that job search isn’t easy, but the techniques and tools needed to make things happen are totally different in 2011 than they were even a few years back – and there’s plenty of help for anyone that trolls the Internet to find it.
I’m just amazed that the word hasn’t gotten out to those that really need it.