VOL. 131 | NO. 34 | Wednesday, February 17, 2016
You Aren’t Bothering Me
By Angela Copeland
One of the number one things that stops us in our job-seeking tracks is the online application process. We submit resume after resume and never hear anything back. So, if the Internet isn’t working, then what’s the answer?
The best solution is to reach out to real, live people. In today’s age, when it’s tough to stop by someone’s home unannounced, or even to call without notice, the idea of contacting other people seems extreme. This is especially true when we don’t already know those people. After all, every company’s human resource representatives tell us to apply online. If we’re the “right” fit, they will definitely contact us.
When we don’t hear back, it leaves us feeling underqualified, undereducated and undervalued. In reality, it’s possible nobody ever saw our great resume filled with the stellar skills and an impressive education.
Although it seems scary, your likelihood of finding career success through other people is much higher than through an Internet form. When we shy away from contacting others, it’s because we don’t want to bother them. We don’t want to be considered pushy. We don’t want to be perceived as not following the process.
Often, the best people to reach out to are those in power, such as managers, directors and vice presidents. On the surface, this can be an intimidating group. Surely, they don’t have time for us.
But let’s think about it another way. If you’ve ever spent time talking with a high-level executive, you may have noticed something surprising. They are not always the most intelligent person in the room. Don’t get me wrong; they’re smart. But, chances are good that they weren’t promoted based on IQ alone. There was some other factor that makes them special. But, what could that be? Well, for many executives, it is their ability to network and to have a large number of contacts.
I remember the first time I interviewed for an executive-level role and was asked, “Tell us about the people you know in this field. Do you have contacts you might recruit to join our company? Do you know vendors we might hire?” At that moment, it hit me. I was no longer being considered based on my personal merits alone. It was no longer just about my education and my personal accomplishments. My ability to connect with others and maintain a large network of contacts had just taken center stage.
Given this thought, let’s get back to the problem at hand: applying for a job. The people we need to reach out to for help are often the very same people who themselves value networking. And, they respect the courage and motivation it takes to track them down and send a friendly note. Very often, when we send an e-mail directly to the hiring manager, we were one of the only candidates to do so. At the end of the day, if you don’t have the job, what do you have to lose by reaching out?
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.