“Employers don’t respond”
If you are an incensed job hunter because you don’t hear back from employers when responding to on-line job openings or other ads, perhaps this will help.
Here is an example of what goes on from the employer’s point of view. This well-respected New York employer told me how he tried to find a qualified writer to work on a project. He posted an ad on a job site, in which he stated the type of relevant writing experience the person must have. He also asked people to e-mail a letter and resume.
“I thought that specifying the relevant experience would somehow strain out the inexperienced and unqualified. Silly me,” he says.
Within minutes of posting his ad, the barrage began. “From throughout the known universe of English-speaking people came everyone who’s ever worked as a writer or has learned to write. And everywhere from California to Copenhagen,” he says. Of the responses, that came by the score, most didn’t score well, he adds.
At first, he read every submission. Then he began ignoring all messages that failed to mention his specific needs. When the response referred mechanically to “the job you posted,” he says he figured the job hunter didn’t notice what he needed — or didn’t care.
Nearly as common and equally fruitless, were writers “who did backflips to justify their experience as relevant’.” This included those who thought their background was relevant because they wanted to “move on with my career.”
Alas, amid the “blizzard of chaff I found some wonderful wheat,” he says, and discovered two people he wanted to hire. But the resumes kept coming. At last count he had over 400 messages from people interested in the jobãmost of them unread. He’s now sending an automatic reply to everyone who sends him a message containing the word “writer,” saying the position was filled. At some point, he hopes to be able to weed through the rest.
He says he’ll never respond to those job hunters who:
Instead of sending a resume as he requested, said nothing about themselves, except that they’d like to talk to him about the job
Chided him for seeking the relevant experience he listed when their abilities were so clearly superior
Told him what address he could type into his browser to find their resume on the Internet
An Ohio-based business owner describes a similar experience in trying to find a qualified employee through an ad in the newspaper. “Most people are so focused on themselves in their response, they totally blow it,” she says.
“They sent me irrelevant information in form letters that could have been written to anyone for any job in the world in stilted, incomprehensible English.”
Lessons to learn? The New York employer points out that a shotgun approach of wildly clicking on every possible prospect and responding in a generic way, doesn’t work. In fact, job hunters who use this approach are probably shooting themselves in the foot.
A better way: Customize your response. Yes, it takes longer. But it gets you to your goal to be considered for the job. The other way gets you in the trash.
Don’t lecture the employer on what they’re really looking for. By doing that, it’s painfully clear that you’re not it.
Give specific, relevant examples that help the employer understand your experience.
And finally, follow directions.