More Effort Required in Today’s Job Market


Rodney writes:
For nearly two months now I have been vainly trying to acquire an entry-level clerical position but to no avail. I’ve sent out 15+ resumes complete with cover letter and all to entry-level job postings and I’ve gotten NO
CALLBACKS WHATSOEVER (except for one form letter telling me that
“my skills are not the best match for their company”).
What am I doing wrong? I have plenty of relevant computer skills and
a good starting amount of experience thanks to a temp service I’ve been
working with and I’ve got references and all sorts of other wonderful
things to back me up but I can’t even score an interview!
Please I need some guidance and I don’t know where else to look. I’ve
been driven almost to tears because of this frustrating situation.



The Career Doctor responds:
I know that you — and the thousands of others following your same strategy –
think you are trying hard to find a new job but you are simply not doing
enough especially in today’s job market.
First are you only applying to job postings? If you’re looking for a clerical
position there is certainly no limit to the number and types of companies
that need that kind of help. So your first step is to expand the number of
potential employers you are contacting. Do the proper research: find the
companies call to get the hiring manager for clerical positions and then
send a targeted cover letter and resume to each hiring manager.
But before you send out those cover letters and resumes please make sure
that you are following the proper guidelines. Your cover letter should be
about 4-5 short paragraphs with the first paragraph saying exactly why
you are writing — and why you are an ideal candidate for the position. End
the letter with a promise to call and follow-up. Your resume should be
1-2 pages depending on your experience and it should focus on your key
accomplishments skills and education. Do not list duties on your resume.
On both your cover letter and resume avoid any kind of typos and misspellings.
Second — and this step is CRITICAL — you MUST follow-up ALL job leads.
You cannot expect an employer to contact you. I would even advise
getting on the phone right now and contacting all the employers you have
already sent applications to and ask about the positions. Calling an
employer to inquire about a position is never a bad thing — unless you are
unprofessional or unless you start calling every hour. Following-up with an
employer shows you have a strong interest in working for the company.
And amazingly many job-seekers think its best to wait by the phone for
the employer … so get the edge over the others by calling each employer.
And while we’re on the subject of job-search strategies … once you do start
going on interviews make sure you send each person you interview with
a thank-you note as quickly as possible — and then follow-up those
thank-you notes with another phone call.
Get more help in these sections of Quintessential Careers:
Cover Letter Resources
and Resume Resources.