Looking for a job? Technology may not be your friend.

Posted by John Park on Aug 12th, 2008
Aug 12

Job Search - Be Different


Last week, I posted an ad on Craigslist to fill one of our part-time marketing assistant positions.  Boy… was I in for a surprise.  In my 15 plus years in management, I have never experienced anything like it.
In a period of  48 hours, I received over 200 resumes and since then I have been receiving about 10 to 15 resumes a day.  Keep in mind that the position I am looking to fill is an entry level position with an allocation of about 20 hours a week.
If these numbers don’t exemplify our current state of economic disaster, I don’t know what does.  Nevertheless, this blog post isn’t necessarily about the economy or the high number of responses I received.
After a bit of pondering and reflection, I decided instead to write a post to assist those looking for a job in this economy.  Many of these specific job searching tips have originated from my observation as an employer of what job seekers are doing wrong.  You’ll see that the ROOT of these mistakes are deeply intertwined with today’s technology.  That’s right.  Technology isn’t always your friend when you’re searching for a job.
1)  DON’T MASS SUBMIT:  E-mailing your resume blindly to every job post on the Internet is not a good idea.  Your resume will be discarded almost immediately if your mass submission is obvious.  Quantity is not your goal.
2)  READ & ANSWER:  Take the time to carefully read the job post.  Retrieve from it specific criteria the employer is looking for and address them directly in your cover letter.  This is the “why” and “how” you are the right candidate.  If the employer wants an apple, don’t tell them you are an orange.
3)  BE PROFESSIONAL:  Don’t underestimate how much employers appreciate professionalism.  Being “stuffy” or “starched” is in most cases preferred–at least initially.  You’ll have plenty of time to be cool and casual after you get the job.
4)  WRITE A COVER LETTER:  I don’t mean cut and paste the same one you’ve used 500 times.  Again, address specific needs of the employer and answer “why” and “how” you’ll be the perfect candidate.  If you were a movie, your cover letter is the 30 second trailer.  Make it powerful enough for the employer to want more.
5)  TALK SALARY LATER:  Read what the posting states about salary.  If it doesn’t meet your requirement, don’t apply.  You’re not going to convince an employer to pay you more just because your experience states so.  Remember that your primary goal initially is to get an interview.
6)  GO TRADITIONAL:  Don’t abandon traditional job searching tools like a printed resume on nice stationery.  We received over 200 resumes via e-mail.  Do you think we would have taken special note if we had received ONE via regular mail?  Isn’t it funny how the Internet has made going traditional the stand-out strategy.
Job searching in this economy will require diligence, commitment and a lot of creativity.  My most important advice is to be different.  Why are you different and how are you communicating these valued differences to your potential employer.
I want to wish everyone out there looking for a job my absolute best.  I won’t wish you luck because it’s really not about luck.  Like all worthwhile efforts, you need a solid strategy and a plan.



2 Responses

  1. Katherine Says:

    how about in addition to not talking salary…how about don’t ask me about when your vacation is and can you telecommute from home? Biggest GenY mistakes…and you are such great workers and interesting people — why turn off Boomers right away….?

  2. dan Says:

    Successful Entry Level Resumes and Cover Letter Samples

    Great Post! Just wanted to add some valuable tips to keep in mind…

    If you are entering the job market for the first time you must finds ways to brand yourself as unique. In your entry-level resume you should have a list accomplishments and achievements NOT tasks. If your achievements were completed under time constraints remember to include this as well. Your entry level resume should only include your GPA if it was exceptional, 3.5 or greater, or if the job requires it. You will find many samples of entry level resumes that say you should include your personal skills. This is only a logical thing to do when your past job experience ca not prove your skills. And as an entry level job seeker you probably don not have much job experience. That is OK. Find other things to mention in your entry level resume. List achievements in a group project or success in some form of competition you competed in during school. Another important thing to note for all entry level resumes is that you should always include dates on your resume. Recruiters and HR personal become concerned when they see large gaps.

    Successful Entry Level Resumes and Cover Letter Samples

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