I read a book a while back called If It’s Going To, Be It’s Up to Me by Robert H. Schuller. A self-help book, the gist is that we all have abilities and talents – but most of this potential goes underutilized, or completely un-used. According to the author, we can’t rely on others to clear paths for us to achieve our goals; we have to do it ourselves.
In most job searches, however, it seems that often we wait for the world to come to us. Like we live in some giant Starbucks, and our only contribution is to simply verbalize our order. As we patiently wait, we watch puffs of steam and listen to comforting, frothy whooshes that tell us our desires are being fulfilled behind the counter, just out of sight. In just moments, they’ll be handed to us in a steaming cup… with our name written on the side.
It seems that despite countless advisers’ admonitions and blog posts to the contrary (including posts on this very blog), job seekers – including those chronically unemployed – still take this approach when searching for an internship or job.
Life should be that simple.
“That’s not true. I did the work – I sent my resume!”
That’s a great start – but it is just the start. Are you getting called for interviews? “No. No one ever calls me!” is the often heard reply. I see it on Twitter chats a few times every week.
If that is all you are doing… the harsh reality is you’re really not doing any work. And you need to start now!
If you’re not getting consistent response from recruiters, then it’s up to you to change the situation. If it’s going to be, it’s up to you – not the recruiter. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Seek Professional Help
No, not the mental health variety. I’m talking about a seasoned career professional in your desired industry. This advisor can take many forms – perhaps a mentor, a former supervisor whom you trust, or a paid career counselor. If your applications repeatedly fall on deaf ears, you need a new approach. Have your resume and interview skills reviewed critically – honestly, and maybe even in “tough love” mode.
Supplement Your Education
“You want me to go back to school?! I just paid tens of thousands of dollars for a college degree!” But recruiters aren’t calling you, right?
Often you can easily increase your workforce value through online business or specific skill classes at a local college, through local entrepreneurial organizations, and even online certification programs. These classes are inexpensive, are taught by professionals with real-world experience and offer a wide range of highly sought-after skills. Especially if you’re not currently working, you have the extra free time. What’s stopping you?!
Location, Location, Location
Finding the right internship or job is like many other pursuits – it’s a “numbers game”. The more attempts you make, the more successes you’ll have. But in any one city, there are a limited number of opportunities. Expand your options through “virtual” positions – instead of only searching in your geographic area, companies throughout the country (or the whole world) are available to you.
Re-invent Your Job Seeker Self
Once your resume and interviewing skills are critiqued, take one step further. Do you send the same cover letter and resume to every posting you find? Or do you modify and target them specifically to the individual postings? Further, do you include “text speak” ( @… lol… b4… emoticons) in your professional documents? Are there typos (no matter how small!) on your resume or cover letter? Does your Facebook profile need to “grow up”?
If after reading that paragraph you immediately thought “no”… then you’re not putting in the effort. Seriously… you know off the top of your head that you don’t make any of those common mistakes? There’s nothing you could improve upon?
You must have heard this before…finding a job is not so much “what you know, as who you know”. If response to your resume is well below your expectations, it may very well be that recruiters are instead interviewing “warm” leads. Candidates who come with a recommendation from a trusted source are more likely to get an interview. Informational interviews, Twitter chats, mentors, LinkedIn, industry association meetings… there are an endless supply of networking opportunities that will, through your effort, garner you such a recommendation.
Don’t know where to start? There’s an endless supply of blogs and articles that cover your networking options. Start reading, and learning!
Unlike ordering a low-fat macchiato whatever-ino, where it’s made and handed to you exactly as ordered, your job search takes focus – and effort.
Sending resumes to postings and then sitting back saying, “I never get called for interviews” has to stop. If this is happening to you repeatedly, something you’re doing (or not doing) is the real problem – and preventing you from showing them what a great candidate you are, and what a great intern or employee you’d be!
It’s your career and you are in charge! If it’s going to come true, it’s up to you.
For this post, thank you to our friends at YouTern.
Dave Ellis, is an original member of the YouTern team and instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals. Follow Dave on Twitter!