I moved to Sacramento two weeks ago and in that time I have submitted more than 40 resumes but have received only one response back. I understand that I lack professional experience because I have been college for the past four years and have only held student-employment jobs. Do you have any suggestion of what I should do?
The Career Doctor responds:
Without seeing your cover letter or resume — which both may contain problems — I can still say that I think you’ve fallen into the classic mistake of many job-seekers: not being proactive. It is a rare situation where the employer will contact you.
Instead you need to get the phone numbers to those 39 employers (which you should already have since you should have called these companies already to get a specific name of an individual to address your cover letters to) you have not heard from put on your best speaking voice and call these people up and suggest setting up an interview. For many job-seekers this aspect of job-hunting is the hardest thing to do. I’m not sure why that is but perhaps we feel as though we are like the telemarketers who always call our houses — and in a way you are: You are calling with the intent of doing enough selling over the phone to get an interview.
Making these telephone calls is not magical. While you will get more responses keep in mind that the rejection rate is still going to be high — depending on your field and the demand for the type of job you are seeking. But even if you only get three job interviews from these 39 phone calls you are better off than where you are now.
Here’s another tip: If the employer you call says that they have no current openings you should still push for an interview but instead of a job interview ask for an informational interview to learn more about the field. Quintessential Careers has a whole tutorial on informational interviewing. Informational interviewing may not land you a job but it is a way of building your network — especially when you have just moved to a new area — and a way to possibly get referrals to other job openings in your field.
Finally if you have any concerns about your resume or cover letter — or if one of the people you contact mentions a problem with one of them — then you should go back to fix those problems immediately!