Job hunting in 2010

Being unemployed, I have gained quite a perspective on what you have to do to get a job in 2010.  Now, let the record reflect that I don’t know all there is to know, after all, I have been looking for a job since April with no luck.  However, I have discovered some things I think may help you.

1. Even though online applications seem very convenient, they may actually work against you.

Probably 9 out of every 10 employers I have applied to has an online application and 99.9% of those employers want you to fill out an application exclusively online.  But I have found that strict software parameters combing over those online applications make it very difficult for your application to make it into the hands of local hiring managers in large companies.
I had one manager at a large retail chain tell me to print the application out and fill it out instead of sending it through online because, “We’ll never get it if you fill it out online.”
When at all possible, hand-deliver your application or professional resume to the human resources department or hiring manager personally.  That ensures that the paper representation of your life’s work is in the hands of the decision makers.

2. Don’t wait for prospective employers to call you – check in.

The current job marketplace is very crowded.  Depending on the type of positions you are applying for, there could be anywhere from dozens to thousands applying for the same job.  Alas, another disadvantage of online job searching.  Everything today favors the prospective employers.  Where twenty years ago an employer may have gotten a few dozen local applicants for a certain position, with online job sites, thousands of people in the same fields can apply for the same position.  You have to set yourself apart.  You have to show the employer that you want that job.  Employers are utilizing technology to find you and you should use it to let them know you are still here.

Email
If you can get your hands on the email of the HR person overseeing your hire, use it.  Follow up your job application with an email making sure it was received.  There is a HUGE difference between checking in in highly professional manner and SPAMMING the person who holds your employment future in your hands.  Use common sense in communicating to prospective employers in this way.  Keep in simple. Let the employer know you are still highly interested in their position and highlight a few ways you are a strong candidate for their job.  Hopefully, this will give them a reason to go looking for your resume again.  Don’t put the HR rep on your family email forward about that piece of legislation that you oppose.

Call or Stop in
For the same reasons you should follow up with an email, there is no reason not to make a courtesy call or stop into the office of the business you have applied to.  This shows initiative as long as you do not become a pest.  Again, use common sense in dealing with a prospective employer.  No one wants to hire that OVERLY eager person.

These are a few tips I have grabbed in my own search and I hope they help you.  I would love to hear what has worked for you.  What ways have you found advantages in this new world of job searching?

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