Q: I seem to be hitting a brick wall. I am sending out my resume to almost every job posted, even if is not ideal for my background. I am getting nothing. Almost no response. When I get a response, it is almost always “no thanks.” I guess this is the infamous “black hole” that others have warned me about. Where do I go from here?
A: You have shared some valuable information. You seem to be sending a lot of your time on job boards and sending your resumes to jobs you are finding online. However, your response rate seems low.
First, let’s me share some information on how most job seekers get jobs. Despite all of the advances in technology, most job seekers land roles though a contact. That contact might be a brother, a former co-worker, a neighbor or someone you have yet to meet. Networking events are critical to your success. At networking events, you are meeting more than one person typically. Not only are you meeting more than one person, but you are meeting their entire network as well. It might not be the person that shakes your hand at a networking event, but instead that person’s sister. Second, analyze how much time you are spending at your PC. There is nothing wrong with applying to jobs online but that should not be your only method of searching for jobs. Introverts – this information is for you (mostly)! Spend at least 75% of your time networking face-to-face. Local coffee shops should be your new office. Or join a networking group at your local library. Or attending an alumni event. Professional associations often have events that you could attend. But get out there! One piece of advice before you head out to a networking event – print simple business cards to bring with you. At most networking events, others will be swapping business cards. You will be that person scribbling your name on a piece of paper if you don’t have a supply of business cards. Instead, be prepared and have business cards printed before you walk in.
Networking events can be intimidating if you don’t know anyone. Most will walk in alone so you will not be the only one. Once you attend a few, your nerves will subside. However, what will you say when someone asks you to introduce yourself? Be ready with your pitch. Your pitch is your brief summary of who you are and why you are there. “Hi! I am Sandy Floor and I am a business development rep who is looking for my next opportunity. I have about 7 years of experience in start-ups, mostly in the technology space. I am looking for my next business development role, and focusing on the Burlington, MA area.”
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.