An old job search strategy is once again attracting a lot of attention from job seekers and career experts. Why bring back an old technique? Because it’s working when so many other strategies are not.
Clicking “apply” doesn’t work
Online applications, for example, have become the frustration of the century. Chances of landing a job through an online application are miniscule at 1.5%. Yes, you read that right, less than 2%. So, why are we spending so much time clicking that apply button? Because it is convenient for companies who have automated application systems to process applications that way.
Companies receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications for a single job opening. The only way they can process them is to depend on automated systems that have a reputation for screening out as many as 75% of qualified applicants. You could be among them.
Before you lose hope, give up your job search, and stay at the company that is driving you crazy, try one more thing instead.
Go old school
An old strategy that uses snail mail is working better than email, phone or text messages to attract the attention of hiring managers. Here is what to do:
1. Research companies you’d like to work for. Choose half a dozen that meet your criteria. It doesn?t matter whether they have openings for positions you are targeting.
2. Write a letter. Yes, the paper kind with a stamp on the envelope. Address the letter to the president of the company. Yes, the president. (Janitors have gotten jobs this way. You can, too.)
3. List two or three accomplishments. In the letter, mention a couple of your brightest and best moments.
4. Ask for an appointment. Say you’d like to talk with them for 15 minutes about the industry and company. (What you’re asking for is called an informational interview.)
5. Follow up. Call after they’ve received the letter. Ask to schedule time to talk in person if they’re local, on the phone if they’re distant.
6. Respect their time. Stick with the number of minutes you have requested.
When you talk with the executive, do NOT ask for a job. Tell them you want to work in the industry and would like their help finding a position that is a good fit for both you and the company. Ask them:
Do they know anyone who is hiring?
If so, would they be willing to introduce you?
Do they have information about other companies in the industry that might need someone with your skills?
Do they know anyone else you should talk with?
Continue this process by making the contacts suggested by the executive and asking the same questions. Keep track of the people you talk with, when you talked, and the subject of your conversation. (JibberJobber.com is good for this.) Stay in occasional contact with these folks. They are your network.