If you've been searching for a job recently, you have probably realized that there are a lot of people out there looking too. Getting noticed in this sea of competition is the focus of this week's job searching tip.
QUESTION FROM A SUBSCRIBER:
After a year of being unemployed and receiving no replies to hundreds of inquiries, I have finally found a job I really, really want. I crafted a nice cover letter, highlighted why I'm right for the job and emailed that along with my professionally written resume. I'm afraid my reply to the company's posting will be lost in the deluge of resumes they will surely receive. What can I do? I have a specific person's email address, but I do not have her phone number.
If her phone number wasn't listed in the posting, is it acceptable to call the central office and simply ask for her and introduce myself?
There are several methods you can use to get the attention of an employer.
One idea I heard recently that sounded really good was to get a referral from someone currently working at the company. This idea comes from Gerry Crispin, author of the book CareerXRoads. He said he would even go as far as to go to the company's parking lot and when someone comes out of the building, offer them $10 to use their name when sending in your resume.
For example, if you put "Referred by John Smith in your Marketing Department" in the subject line of the message you send to the HR person with your resume attached, that will surely grab their attention and quite possibly make you the #1 person they're considering.
Personally, I would not recommend calling them on the phone if a phone number was not advertised. People who make hiring decisions tend to be very busy and generally view the process of screening through candidates as a chore. Calling the hiring manager before meeting them and without an invitation might stress the person out even more. Other job searching experts may have a different opinion on that. If you know someone working at the company, you might be able to get that person to ask the hiring manager for permission for you to call them. That way you could call and say "John Smith in Marketing referred me to this position and suggested I give you a call."
Aside from the referral idea, you could try coming up with a catchy subject line for the message when you email your resume. For example, if you were applying for a tax accounting job with IBM, you could write something like this in the subject: "CPA with 10 years' experience in technology would love to do IBM's taxes."
Your email is likely to be one of a hundred or more in their inbox. But most people will write just "Resume" or "Applying for accounting position" in the subject. So if you come up with something witty, they'll probably open your message. Hiring managers are bored and stressed office workers like anyone else and if you come up with a way to make their day more entertaining, they'll appreciate it.
Another idea would be to fax your resume in. Again, you could come up with a creative cover page to get their attention. You could send your resume by both fax and email.
These same ideas could be applied when posting your resume on job sites. Instead of just using a standard boilerplate objective statement to start off your resume, try something more interesting like "Cost-cutting CPA looking for a company that wants to super-size their bottom line." Having a creative resume title/position title can also draw recruiters' attention. For example, "Quota Busting Sales Executive" would probably grab a recruiter's attention more than just plain "Sales Executive." It's important to keep in mind your resume is really an advertisement.
Just as with any kind of advertising, your resume not only has to be effective but it has to reach a lot of people for maximum effect.