The View From A Career Counselor

Here’s an interesting email from a career counselor posted by Andrew Sullivan on his blog. The key piece of advice seems to be that you have to go outside the normal channels if you want to be successful on your job search. Sending resumes to job boards only gets you so far.

I feel for the guy, but he should break the rules more often. Having been unemployed myself for months, I understand the frustration. But having worked in career counseling for a few years, I know how to look for a job. Most people don’t, and would do better if they did.

Don’t waste too much time with job boards unless you are someone with a very specific technical skill looking for a job that requires that skill. Do contact employers directly and consistently, and contact them before they have job openings. The old nostrum that “if a job is posted, it’s been filled” is generally true.

The reality is that 80% of jobs are filled via personal connections and relationships. It really is like high school; people hire people they know and like. Think of everyone you know, even your worthless brother in law, as a potential connection to a job, either directly or indirectly. Your resume should be the last thing an employer sees, because the first thing they should see is you in person.

The writer goes on to give 5 useful tips of how to approach a job search. Check them out.

Andrew then posts responses from other readers. This one caught our attention.

The career counselor nails it. I’ve been looking for a job for about two months now and have come to the conclusion that Human Resources is, without question, the most useless, bureaucratic, least efficient department in ANY organization. HR has, ironically, perfected the extrication of any sort of human contact imaginable when applying for a job – no names, no contact info, no phone numbers, no nothing. I even went to one job fair where an HR rep for a company refused to accept a resume I was trying to hand her. “We only take resumes online for jobs posted,” she said.

You can’t just go through the motions. Get out there and bypass HR whenever possible. Keep networking – relationships matters!

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