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When a resume won’t work

Many job seekers measure their job search productivity by how many resumes they send out for potential jobs. Believing that if they only get their resume to enough potential employers, someone will surely hire them.

In their quest for getting their daily or weekly quota, however, the quality of the fit of the targeted positions becomes a secondary consideration. They generally don’t consider what happens on the receiving end, and are surprised and discouraged when they get no response!

It’s not unusual to hear complaints like… “I’ve sent my resume to 200 companies and haven’t gotten a single call for an interview!”

They are not alone!

Sending out scores of resumes in the hopes that something has to ‘stick’ is not at all uncommon. As a result, employers are receiving applicants for open positions in record numbers, yet very few of them are genuinely qualified… often not even remotely qualified. When they consider applicants that are either currently, or have most recently worked in exactly the same kind of role they are trying to fill compared to someone that has little or no applicable experience, it’s not hard to figure out which candidates the employer will call for interviews.

Applying to jobs that are a marginal fit, and hoping for a call is a losing strategy.

Simply sending a resume will not work!

So… does that mean you should never apply to jobs if you don’t have the exact experience?

No! However, it does mean that since you’re likely competing with someone that does have the experience, you will have to approach the opportunity with more than a resume.

Diligent networking, referrals, direct contact, and being professionally, pleasantly persistent are critical! How do you do that?

  • Use LinkedIn to find people that work at the company… anyone. Connecting with someone in another department than you’re pursuing is fine, as they can point you to someone closer to the position you want.

  • Ask! Ask friends who they may know at the company, ask people at networking groups, ask some of your first level LinkedIn connections, ask!

  • Call the main number at the company and ask for the contact you’ve found. You don’t need a direct phone number if you have a name.

  • Prepare a script for yourself to keep your conversation on track without rambling, and create a second script for possibly leaving a voicemail.

  • Google to find email address at the company and connect with people directly by email if you can’t reach them by phone.

  • Don’t rely on one contact, find multiple people and talk to as many as you can!

It’s not always the best qualified person that gets the job. Rather it’s the one that is perceived to be able to most successful in the role and in the organization. Personal skills, professionalism and culture fit are factors that carry a great deal of weight and are best demonstrated through personal contact.

A resume alone gives an employer no reason to call if it doesn’t match the position as well as other applicants. A person that has connected with them, shown professionalism, competence, and persistence beyond most applicants they’ve seen is much more likely to gain interest even if the resume seems to be a marginal fit.

Don’t rely on your resume alone, even when you are a great fit… when reaching out and connecting with an employer directly is likely to improve your results dramatically!


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