Thursday, February 18, 2010

Avoid the Resume Black Hole

CNN published a great article today on avoiding the resume black hole. Jessica Dickler, in "The Job Application Black Hole" informs readers that applicants are one of hundreds for each job (not breaking news), that you must pass an initial questionnaire perfectly before moving on to the next step and that you must pay attention to the date of the posting to avoid a stale, already filled "phantom posting."

What I am here to tell you is that 99.9% of the time you will not get a job by blindly applying online. It's just not going to happen. In any market, but particularly in a market where you're one of hundreds applying for a single role, you must have someone on the inside to physically walk your resume over to the hiring manager's desk and follow up to gain valuable feedback.

How do you get someone on the inside, you ask? You exploit LinkedIn's most valuable function: Search.

On the top of the page, right-hand side, there's a search field called People. Enter the organization to which you would like to apply. Anyone in your immediate network work there now or in the past? Perfect, Link up to them if you haven't already and let them know you're applying. Ask for help in the process. Ingratiate yourself. Buy them lunch or coffee and send an email thank you immediately and then a written thank you note. It's a crowded market, you need to stand out.

No one in your immediate network related to that organization? No problem. That's where the beauty of LinkedIn really shines. You have access to your network's network, like a giant game of six degrees of separation. Identify secondary or even tertiary contacts, and select Get Introduced. This allows your common contact to make an easy online introduction and you two can link up.

Once linked, ask your new inside contact a couple of questions about the position. Thank them profusely for their time and if they offer more help, take them up on it. Again buy lunch or coffee and again, send an email thank you immediately and a written thank you note straight away. And, thank your contact that made the introduction. Gratitude is free and is your secret weapon to getting the job you want during the Great Depression.

It sounds a little tricky when reading about the process but try it. It works. Please post success stories here!

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