I was recently a part of a recruiting effort that resulted in many people contacting me about a position. I received over 50 responses within three days for an unpaid opportunity.
The differences among the responses were stark. Here are some of the responses I received:
“Yes, I am interested.” [no further text. or attached resume. seriously.]
“I’m probably not what you are looking for, but I’ve attached my resume anyway.” [can’t wait to read it.]
“I am very interested in this opportunity” [and here is how I do not meet any of your most basic qualifications: …]
Do these people have any sense of their competition? I received fantastically written e-mails, clearly and concisely laying out how they meet the stated qualifications, followed by a pitch on the additional value they bring to the table.
In a hot job market, a candidate may be able to get away without strategically marketing themselves, but today there is simply too much competition. You can’t just throw your resume over the wall. You must pitch yourself if you want consideration.
The New York Times posted a great article by Phyllis Korkki about how many candidates don’t hear back from companies, because there are so many “unqualified people clogging the system.” The article recommends the following steps:
* Network through LinkedIn to get to the hiring manager
* Focusing on your personal network
* Expand your professional contacts
I gave similar advice just last week: first build your network infrastructure via LinkedIn, then strategically work your way through your list.
And for goodness sake, include a compelling pitch. If you communicate to a hiring manager that your resume isn’t worth reading, what do you think will happen?
By the way, the only candidate so far who has been selected was not perfectly qualified. She had, however, crafted a compelling pitch and was offered an alternative opportunity that was a great fit for her.