Q: My husband has applied to several jobs online. It seems that no one responds to resumes submitted anymore. He is not having great success. What advice do you have for a 42-year-old purchasing specialist in his job search?
A: In short, spend less time just applying to roles online. By the time that role hits a job board, thousands may be viewing it. Here is how I would spend my time if I were your husband:
- Develop a crisp, error-free resume. Use a standard font that will scan well. Avoid “wedding invitation” font or logos. Use font size 11.
- Get active on LinkedIn. Spend time building a profile. Embed keywords in the profile. Recruiters are often scouring LinkedIn and using keyword searches. Make it easy for a recruiter to find him. Use a professional photo. LinkedIn profiles with photos are reviewed more carefully. Join groups on LinkedIn and connect with friends, college roommates, former colleagues, neighbors and those from church, temple or other houses of worship. Customize your LinkedIn URL. (Google how to do this – will take no more than five minutes!)
- Don’t spend the entire week sitting behind a PC. (Introverts – I am talking to you!) Get out and meet a colleague at a coffee shop. Use the following guideline – 25% of your husband’s job search time should be behind a PC and about 75% should be in front of others, face-to-face.
- If unemployed, have a simple business card printed. Name, phone number, your customized LinkedIn URL, and maybe a quick title. For your husband, it might be “Purchasing Professional” or something similar.
- Check email daily (if not more frequently). My BIGGEST pet peeve is when we reach out to a candidate and they don’t respond for days. With smartphones, this should be easy.
- Think about professional references. Have them ready to go, using the same font and format of the resume. The two documents should have the same look and feel. I am ebullient when a candidate emails me a simple list of their professional references when I ask for it. Bonus points are awarded to candidates who can email it to me within minutes of my request. Ideally, we like to receive 3-5 professional references because inevitably someone is traveling or difficult to reach.
- Don’t burn bridges. We have all worked with folks who drive us batty. I know that they are in our workplaces. Don’t spend time berating former employers or former colleagues. Focus on you, your skills and how you can add value to a company.
- Be gracious. I am thankful my Mother taught me to send thank-you notes. Send a thank-you email to those who met with you. Offer to buy the cup of coffee during the networking meeting. If someone connected you to a new role, and you were hired, send them a small gift.
Finally, be open to connecting with others when others might be out of work. There is this thing called karma.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.