Is He Being Boxed In to Unwanted Career?

Bill writes:
Hi. My current job will be ending in late October so I’ve been busy doing the things job-seekers should do. Since I would really like to relocate I’ve sent out covers and
resumes all over the country. I’m looking primarily for an academic job (teaching academic or career counseling etc.) in a community college or university. I would
also consider a trainer position at either a for profit or non-profit organization.
To date I’ve sent out 68 customized cover letters and resumes. I’ve individualized
each one so hours have been spent on this. Since I have an MA in English I
make sure there are no typing errors or anything that might turn a recruiter or
HR person off. I’ve tried to achieve a balance of professionalism and a personal touch.
I’ve received no interviews or even telephone responses. Thinking that perhaps
employers are hesitant to risk interviewing out-of-towners I’ve also sent quite a
few resumes to local employers — to no avail.
I suspect that a lot of the problem lies in the fact that my resume lists my
educational background in English and foreign language (French) but my
experience of the last few years indicates employment that has little to do
with my training in English. Even though I try to emphasize my versatility in
my cover letter I’m getting the sinking feeling that I’m being boxed into a
social-services category. Any suggestions? As for follow-up very few give telephone
numbers and many specifically say that they do not want any phone calls.

The Career Doctor responds:
You may not like some of what I have to say Bill but just remember that you
did ask for my help.
First let me say that you have been doing many things correctly — so that’s good –
but if you recall from my discussion of the Domino
your job search will have a much less chance of succeeding unless ALL
of your job-hunting tactics are working properly…and I think you have a few problems.
I’m a little worried about your attitude/outlook. While you generally sound positive there’s an
undercurrent I sense in your letter that may just be frustration but it may be something more
negative. Please explore this issue carefully. I call it job-search karma and it’s almost as if
employers can sense it a mile away. The other thing to remember is that job-hunting is often
streaky; you may be in a rough streak right now but a good streak could be just around the
corner (especially with my advice)…so hang in there.
OK. My advice. Let’s talk about the jobs you are seeking. From looking at the job listings
are you qualified for these positions? If you are qualified have you written your resume in
such a way to tailor it to each job/position? Are you just applying to job postings — or are
you also doing a direct-mail campaign and using your network? Job-seekers cannot simply rely
on job listings to find a new job.
Next are you writing to the hiring managers? Forget the HR departments. When writing to a
community college are you writing to the head of the English department? It’s fairly easy to
get the names of the hiring managers for any job in any organization — it just takes some time.
Make sure — for future job searches — that you send your job-search package to the proper persons.
Finally follow up. I don’t care what the ad says or what your personal preferences are. You
simply MUST follow-up ALL job leads. There is no excuse. Employers who
say no phone calls do so because they don’t want to answer large quantities of inquiries
but following-up a cover letter and resume is different from calling to apply for the job.
Following up shows your interest in the job. And for those employers who don’t list their
phone numbers? Look them up! Call information go online get the phone number
and follow-up! Read more about follow-up in the Domino Effect. You can also find
more resources in the Job
Search 101
tutorial found on Quintessential Careers.
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST