Job hunting methods haven't changed in 30+ years. Most people send out resumes to job postings they find online and to recruiting firms. They also fill out applications online, maybe call some recruiters, ask friends and professional contacts about any openings that they may know of, and that's about it. Some people attend job fairs and others join networking groups. As time passes by, pressures may rise, and low-level panic may even set in. This isn't good. What's going on?
You know that your educational background and your work experience are just as good — or better — than that of most other people who've applied for some of the same openings as those you targeted. You could be forgiven for being genuinely perplexed about why you're having such a hard time getting access to jobs that you know you could handle. What else are you supposed to do?
Do you need to hire a professional resume writer to redo yours? Should you include more verbiage about your experience and/or your accomplishments? Was your G.P.A. not high enough? Do they think you're too young/too old? Did you stay too long in past jobs — or not long enough? The list of possible reasons why you're having such a hard time could fill a small notebook.
Here's what's happening. First, remember that companies are flooded with resumes for posted job openings. Therefore, they use resumes these days to screen people out and not to look for reasons to contact you for an interview. Truth is, the hiring process today is mostly about elimination, not selection. Sort of like how financial institutions look for reasons to deny a loan or credit card card — more so than for why they should extend you credit at a non-usurious interest rate.
Sending resumes in hopes of generating job interviews almost always fails. The odds of winning the resume lottery are not very good. So, what should you do? If you don't get interviews, you won't gain access to the kind of jobs you're interested in. Here's your answer.
First, target the hiring authority only. HR and other screeners can't hire you, but they can eliminate you from consideration — for any one of a thousand excuses/reasons.
Next, send a letter directly to the hiring authority. Do not include a resume. Remember; you can't bore someone into hiring you. You can only interest them into wanting to know more about you.
People are mainly interested in themselves. In the context of job hiring, the main thing that the hiring authority wants to know is what you can do for her or him. That is what the main focus of your letter should address.
You should close by suggesting that if what you've said sounds interesting and they would like to know more about your qualifications and how you could help them, you would be glad to come by one day for a brief visit to tell them more.
Ideally, you'll be invited to meet with them without having to first send a resume. If they respond to you and ask for a resume, send it.
If you feel it would improve your chances to have an expert compose a letter for you, try to find someone that has experience in direct mail copy. A gussied-up cover letter is not what you need.
What you need is a well-crafted marketing letter that makes an offer to be of service. Not one that makes an attempt to sell your services.
Remember: effective job hunting is all about eliminating the element of luck.
Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.