Stop Relying on the Internet
by Michael Mayher

There are two items that are on the minds of many job seekers. One is the frustration of sending a resume to a company with the understanding that there are other tens, hundreds, even thousands of resumes submitted for the same jobs. People are not stupid; they know the vast majority of resumes submitted will never be seen by a human being and are therefore never considered. The second thing about which people feel powerless is they cannot establish contact with any flesh and blood person and, especially, not a responsible hiring manager. This second concern is especially frustrating for pro-active people, who are ambitious and rightly understand emailing a resume is mostly a waste of time. Isn’t it ironic: these are precisely the kinds of people that companies claim they want to hire.

I know a lot of very good human resource professionals. That said, however, they work for a bureaucracy that seems hung up on and obsessed with processes or fads that enable them to avoid you at all costs, even if it means missing a well-qualified applicant who didn’t submit to their formulaic and counterproductive rituals. It is little wonder companies prefer naming their departments anything but human resources and instead utilize “innovative” terms like human capital, human performance, talent acquisition or talent management to clearly demonstrate what they think of you, a mere commodity.

It is silly that so much advice for job seekers is concerning the same stale advice about improving your resume or some drivel about how increasing your social networking presence or accessing more online job portals will make a difference. Most of you reading this know I am right and yet this is what the majority of other people are doing -- wasting valuable time online to find a real job. Rather, what you need is useful advice to help you break your over-reliance on the soulless internet, diversifying your job search efforts. Even the best-written resume is meant only to get you in the door and ideally in front of a hiring manager. Now, it is at this point in time the interview and hiring process begins.

Finding opportunities

You have other options beyond the internet that only give you the impression you are actually doing something, in reality, you’re not. The internet is an information resource, a tool, but not the solution to all our problems. The supposition of the internet being the answer to all our problems was a clever marketing ploy – that’s worked too well.

Honesty in our world is in short supply and I’m not going to BS you, if you’re looking for effortless solutions, if you think you’ll be getting your dream job by sending your resume electronically while sitting in your ‘jammies at the kitchen table, I will disappoint you. There is a sweat equity aspect; it requires effort, dedication and perseverance. You have to be able to hear the word “no” and keep going without getting discouraged; you have to be able to smile through the rudeness, antipathy and indifference, that’s life. The internet has become a crutch, insulating everyone from reality. Know this: you are fully capable of everything I suggest, although it’s likely you haven’t done it for a long time, or never learned. 

Establishing contact with living breathing people

Don’t stop using the internet, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you are doing. As a tool, the internet is invaluable and your best resource for information -- exploit it. But, then get off your butt and go out and knock on doors, phone, try to arrange appointments and hand deliver your resume whenever you can. Stand apart, be different, while everyone else is sending emails – snail mail an introductory cover letter to someone who would possibly be your employer. Use the internet to research companies, people, etc. And, oh yeah, here’s the biggest reason why waiting like Pavlov’s dog in front of your monitor for a job to reveal itself is silly … are you ready … many jobs and most of the good ones aren’t even posted online! So how are you going to find those by checking increasingly worthless online sources? Sorry, but you’ve got to go old school, telephone calls and shoe leather. Network whenever it is possible, nothing is as powerful as a personal recommendation or a reference.

The methods I suggest break the rules of convention and many people worry that the advice I provide will irritate someone. Perhaps, but let’s talk about the rules and processes you are supposed to follow, who established them? The so-called rules exist, not to benefit you but instead to benefit bureaucrats and administrators, in order to make their lives easier. It has nothing to do with helping you attain your goals. If you want to get a different result than everyone else, you have to be, well, different from everyone else.

So don’t be discouraged, recognize there is a lot you can do to improve your chances of job search success on many levels. If you want to empower yourself and stand apart from the crowd, do something about it.

More articles by Michael Mayher:

Career Survival Skills: The First Interview
The Interview
Resolve to Make This Year, Your Year
Periodic Update of Your Resume

About the Author: Michael Mayher has been an international direct search recruiter on two continents for over 22 years. A consultant, published author, lecturer and blogger, he re-introduces professionals to critical Soft Skills lost in our digital age and necessary to effectively navigate their careers. You can find more information by visiting his blog and website.
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