Deborah Walker Answers Career Strategy Questions

    April 29, 2003

Are you feeling stalled in your job-search efforts? Are employers and recruiters ignoring you? Do you wonder what you could do to improve your job-search results? Maybe I can help. As a former headhunter, I am known as “the Career Strategist.” In my work as a career coach and resume writer I am often asked such questions as: How do I find more job leads? How do I know what to put in my resume? Why can’t I get interviews? Are cover letters really important? How do I prepare for my next interview?

Email career and job search questions to:

Articles by Deborah:
Are Headhunters Calling You… Or Ignoring You?
Career Fairs — Your Shortcut To Job Interviews
Practice Career Management To Avoid Career Crisis

Sample Questions:
Q: I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes, but gotten very little response. I can’t figure out why. Any insight?
A: Since employers and recruiters read hundreds of resumes a week, you’ll catch their attention quicker with a resume that differentiates you from your competition. The best resumes target one career objective which is supported by quantifiable accomplishments relating to corporate bottom-line results. Peppering your resume with relevant accomplishments helps the employer see your value to their organization. Send an accomplishment-driven resume and keep your calendar clear for the interviews that you’ll generate.

Q: What’s the best way to present myself when applying for positions online or in the paper?
A: In an employers’ market (too many job seekers for positions available) it makes sense to apply only to openings where you qualify at least 80%. For positions where you are highly qualified, spend the effort and time to prepare a targeted cover letter. You’ll get much higher results sending 10 customized, point-by-point cover letters and resumes than you will respond to 100 ads that you qualify only minimally. Pack your cover letters and resume with key words found in the job postings and, more often than not, you’ll beat your competition that sent a mass produced non-customized cover letter.

Q: I’ve just had my 3rd interview and now I’m just waiting for the offer. Should I keep sending out my resume even though I’m pretty sure I’ll get an offer in a few days?
A: Job seekers anticipating an offer often stop additional search efforts only to experience disappointment when the offer doesn’t come. Strategically, this is a bad idea for several reasons. One, it leads to a feeling of “starting over from scratch” which leads to negative and draining emotions. Second, precious time and opportunities are lost. Third, if a second offer is in the works when the first offer materializes, the job seeker is in a much better bargaining position than if he has no other offers to consider.

Q: How do I fight off the feeling that I’ll never get a job offer? I’ve been out of work eight months now and I’m having real doubts about my abilities. How do I keep moving forward when it feels hopeless?
A: Every job seeker goes through periods of let down. In the low periods a job seeker often sees additional efforts as futile. The best way to fight off job-search depression is to push yourself toward action. Respond to five ads, contact a new networking referral or send another target-market letter. Often attitude follows action-positive attitude follows positive actions.

Q: What’s the best way to establish relationships with headhunters?
A: Headhunters can be a fantastic source of job leads and inside information. To get the most out of potential headhunter relationships there are two rules to follow. One, contact only headhunters who specialize in your industry or job function. Most every recruiter or headhunter has a recruiting niche. Their client companies rely on them as experts and interview candidates based on the recruiter’s recommendation. The second rule, contact as many recruiters as you can who fit your industry or function. To a big extent, this is a numbers game. More qualified recruiters you contact, the better your chances of one of them calling you with just the position you’re looking for.

Deborah Walker, CCMC

Resume Writer ~ Career Coach

For more tips on resumes, job-search strategy and interview skills, check out the article archive at my website:


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