A cordial manner and a list of well-prepared professional references are basic items in any job-seeker's tool box. But like most effort you put into your job search, don't fall into thinking prospective employers should reciprocate or respond, or get bummed out when they don't.
That's the first thing I took away from the farewell post by John Brownrigg, the latest professional to exit The Wall Street Journal's "Laid Off and Looking" guest bloggers' club by getting re-employed. Brownrigg doesn't identify his new employer or even the type of job, although it's probably in his previous field, real estate development. He writes:
I was shocked at the lack of respect potential employers had for me as a job seeker, as 90% of my applications were never given the simple courtesy of a response. Employers seemed unconcerned about the quality of their applicants, as almost none even asked for my references let alone checked them out. I have no idea how they evaluate things like work ethic and leadership skills from a resume, often not even written by the applicant but by a professional resume writer. It seemed that aligning with internal Applicant Tracking Systems was much more important.
If You Don't Network, the Algorithm Is Your First Customer
If you're pounding the pavement, this should be old news to you. Yet I keep seeing people sound not only offended but surprised when similar experiences are mentioned in online discussion groups. As eFinancialCareers News has reported many times: If you reply to a job posting without networking in, your resume nearly always will get rated by an algorithm before any human sees it. That makes the ATS (applicant tracking system) your first customer - and most of the time, your only customer. But don't cringe; get used to it. For those willing to take the bull by the horns, a piece of software is probably an easier adversary than a human interviewer.
Brownrigg also usefully spotlights that getting a job often comes down to lucky timing - being in the right place at the right time. "There is nothing remarkable" about where he landed, he writes: other openings that didn't pan out were closer fits for his experience, and friends and business acquaintances had recommended him for those as well. Neither market conditions nor his resume or approach had changed in period before his job offer. All in all, he says, "It didn't feel like Divine intervention. It was simply my time."
His concluding words bear repeating:
My advice is to stay positive, level out the good times with the bad, protect your personal brand, nurture your professional entourage, and be patient. Your time will come, just as mine has.