Dr. Randall Hansen is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home page of The Career Doctor.
If you have any career- or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue (10/05/01):
- Sending out resumes but getting few responses
- Considering using a resume distribution service
- Strategies for writing emailed cover letters
- Job-hunting on the Web but getting no responses
|Q:|| Orlando writes: My name is Orlando and I have recently moved to New York City. I have 4 solid years of web development/programming and design experience. I have also worked 2 years out of the 4 years as a web development consultant. On top of my experiences and skills I am still pursuing my first Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems.
For some reason I am experiencing difficulties in finding a job in New York. I have been sending resumes for more than a month now and it only generated 1 interview but another candidate was selected. I was wondering if this is because I don’t have my degree yet or is it my resume; how long does it usually take on average for someone to hear from companies?
Please help me I would really appreciate any suggestions you can give me on how to get interviews with companies.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Job-hunting is all about marketing and selling – and being more aggressive in hunting down job opportunities than other job-seekers. One of your biggest problems is a common one among job-seekers — applying for jobs and then sitting back waiting for the phone to ring. And as you have discovered job-hunting just does not work that way. You need to get on the phone (or via email if you applied for jobs using email) and call every company you have not heard from and see what the status of your application is – and ask for interviews where appropriate.
I don’t know what method you are using to find job leads but if you are relying only on job ads — either job postings on Web sites or in help wanted ads in New York area newspapers — you need to move your job search up quite a few gears. Have you joined any professional or social organizations since you moved to New York? Do you have friends or family in New York? I ask because networking is the best method to find strong job leads. Learn more about networking by going to Quintessential Careers: The Art of Networking.
Even as the economy falters and even as New York rebuilds from the tragic occurrences of September 11th you certainly appear to have the skills and experiences that many employers need. Don’t get discouraged but don’t sit at home waiting for a phone call. Pound the pavement. Make your own opportunities.
Finally one other great source for understanding the importance of marketing in job-hunting is my latest article: Using Key Marketing Tools to Position Yourself on the Job Market.
|Q:||Melissa writes: I have been looking for a job for the last 5 months — to no avail. I am just about to sign up with a resume blasting service. Because I have heard it is so much of a “numbers” game I thought this service might not hurt. I am however quite ambivalent. Any advice?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There are a growing number of resume distribution firms on the Web and Quintessential Careers partners with the one we feel offers job-seekers the best opportunities’so I’m a bit biased in my response.
My opinion is consistent throughout every issue of this column however. And that opinion states that you need to conduct a thorough job search — one that includes multiple methods of tracking down job leads’and one that always includes networking. Whether it’s posting your resume on a couple of Web sites or using a blasting service you need to avail yourself of every avenue of job searching.
Certainly blasting your resume to a number of recruiters and employers is one method. Where can you find more information about the various services? Go to Quintessential Careers and our resume distribution services.
|Q:|| Francis writes: I have been scouring the Internet for some guidance concerning cover letters when responding to ads for jobs from web sites like Monster Board Hot Jobs etc. The current thinking is that you should always respond with the name of a person. If this is the case no one seems to advocate not applying for a job using one of the above sources to submit a resume since many times there is no name given.
My experience is limited in calling to find out who to send the resume to. One time I called and was told “we don’t give out names” when I asked for a contact.
Would you tell me why this is so? Is it because it could be financial suicide if this type of advice were given?
Thanks for your time. I have found you web site very helpful.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There are critical differences between traditional job-hunting and job-hunting on the Web — and you’ve discovered a big one. An emailed cover letter while having the same job search function is quite different than a traditional cover letter. An emailed cover letter needs to be shorter and more concise needs to grab the attention of the reader more quickly and needs to focus on keywords.
An emailed cover letter is generally no more than three paragraphs. The first paragraph identify the key benefits you can offer the employer — in a dynamic and inviting style. The second paragraph provides the details that support the benefits you mention in the first paragraph. The third paragraph must close the deal by asking for the interview.
You should still try and identify the hiring manager for the position if it is not listed in the job posting. Contacting the company and asking for the name of the hiring manager will work for many organizations but some may have privacy policies – or concerns about getting deluged with responses. There are alternative solutions such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or by skipping the salutation completely and just starting the letter with “Re: Job Posting XX7783Y.”
You can get much more tips and advice about writing email cover letters by reading my article Tips for a Dynamic Email Cover Letter.
|Q:|| Anonymous writes: I recently lost my job at PricewaterhouseCoopers. I was an HR Generalist and I have an MBA in HR. I am finding it very difficult to seek employment and am concerned that my unemployment insurance is going to run out and I still do not have a job.
I go into company web sites daily and respond to job postings and don’t get one phone call. I want to be able to speak to a human being instead of all this resume posting. It is getting me no where and I can’t believe that an MBA in HR is not wanted anywhere.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Now come on. You’re an experienced HR person and you are looking for jobs just by looking at job postings? You have to know better. Job-hunting on the Web should only be about 15-20% of your total job search effort.
What else are you doing in trying to find a new position? What about networking? Have you contacted all your family friends colleagues former co-workers and bosses associates and just about anyone else you know and told them you are looking for a new job? Have you contact your alma mater (for both your undergrad and MBA) and networked with the alumni offices your old professors and the career services offices? What about the local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management? If you’re not a member join and start networking!
What about cold calling and finding hidden job opportunities? Read more in my article Cold Calling: A Time-Tested Method of Job-Hunting. Have you looked into temping — either as a way to get back on your feet or as a way to get your foot in the door? Read this great article: Temping Offers a Way to Build Your Resume — and Much More.
Finally are you spending enough time with your job search and are you following up ALL your job leads? Take the time to chase down every job lead.
And if you are still unsure about what the problem is with your job search I strongly suggest you read Katharine Hansen’s article: Ten Questions to Ask Yourself if You Still Haven’t Found a Job.