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Looking for a job is so stressful. Not hearing anything back, and wondering why! Wondering what you may be doing wrong, and wishing you could find a way to do it better.

Sometimes individuals can get caught up in the moment, and may mass apply to jobs for which they are not qualified. Sometimes, maybe because they want a change of pace, they look for jobs that they believe they would be great at, but unfortunately not what they have actually done, or have gained any practical experience in.

Eventually this leads to even more challenges. Especially today, with so many unemployed, and not recognizing that if they send out too many resumes, and especially to the same company, with resumes that do not demonstrate qualifications for the positions which they are applying, then unfortunately some companies may ultimately blacklist these candidates.   Horrible thought isn't it?

If they don't literally blacklist the candidate, recruiters will remember the candidate's name, and not in a positive or constructive light. The recruiter's initial reaction will be "here is that candidate again.. hmm.. why isn't he applying anywhere else? Is he un-hireable? Doesn't anyone else want to hire this person?" The resume is then either deleted, or is lost in file 13- the deep dark ozone of the internet recesses. 

So, how do you avoid falling into, and remaining lost in that dark hole? Hopefully these suggestions may assist you with your job search: 

 1- Update your resume. Make it stand out and make it shine. You have less than 30 seconds to make an impact on the hiring authority or recruiter. Your resume should be packed with quantitative and qualitative facts. Did you save money by getting the job done quickly, did you sell a large product, did you come up with a great idea that is implemented at the company. What tools and products do you use or feel comfortable with. What are your strongest assets, skills, features, etc. These are very important sell points. Don't wait for the interview to sell yourself. Without these features on your resume, you may not even get the interview.

Use professional tinted resume paper for slow mailing your resume, and especially when taking it to the the interview. Let it stand out on the desk of white paper! Kinkos has a really cool parchment paper, pale yellow, that many of my clients have found to be impressive. It's easy on the eyes, not just in looks, but it holds up well with most standard fonts. Very clean, and professional.

 2- Contact a recruiter in your industry. Find one who only specializes in your field (engineering, technical, service, project management or sales). Determining their specialty should be the first question you should ask. Then dig deeper. Do they understand your lingo? Do they know the terms of your industry? Do they know the key players? This will help determine their qualifications, so they do not waste your time. Note, a recruiter does NOT charge the candidate (you), they charge the client (the hiring company). So beware any company who is attempting to make you pay a fee for your job or their services.

Also, make sure that the recruiter will guarantee your confidentiality, and will not send your resume anywhere without your permission. 

 3- Networking. Attend your industry association meetings; memberships and fees are a job search tax deduction, so don't forget to save those receipts. Get involved in the professional social media groups of your industry. Share your wisdom and knowledge with your peers. Recruiters and managers often visit these groups to determine who the experts are in their industry. So stand out!

Network. Let individuals know you are looking. If you are a member of the local union, keep in contact with the members, and ask them whom they know that may be looking to hire someone new. Reach out to the trade journals, the vendors, the trainers, and the clients of the companies who you would like to work for. You will be surprised at what valuable resources these individuals can be. 

Did you know that 70%, even as high as 80%, of active jobs are never published on the internet, newspaper or whatever means. Most top performers are already well known and they stay well connected within their industry through networking. They get most of their jobs through referrals. It really is true.. More companies are hiring than you would think or that you are aware of. 

The job market has more hidden jobs than people realize. It's all about getting your name out there. 

 4- Internet. It's a challenge today, almost a virtual impossibility, so, it would be remiss of me to say, to avoid the internet as much as possible. Of course we need to use it. So, hopefully stressing caution will not fall on deaf ears. Unfortunately, bad people have found a way to take advantage of kicking people when they are down, even more. So, exercise care in your job search. Never answer a blind ad. Make sure you do your research. It may not even be an employer or recruiter who posted the position, but someone trying to gather information about you, your employment, and other personal history. This article isn't meant to scare, but should be considered a tool to help you know what to avoid. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3078533/   - Online Job Listing Scam 

Also, remember that most employed people are reluctant to post a resume because of their very real fear that their current boss will find out. Especially in tough times, looking disloyal is to be avoided.

Companies might end up reading 100 resumes to get a single qualified candidate from a job board, compared to only 10 percent from other sources like employee referrals. The sheer volume of resumes can inundate managers and also lowers the chances for YOU.

It is a sad irony, but, Companies make less than 10 percent of their new hires from job boards. If you do find a great job on the internet contact the company directly. Find out who the hiring manager/decision maker or even the recruiter over seeing the position is and speak to that person.

This now elevates you. You are now a person, not a piece of paper or an item on a computer that can be deleted or filed. People remember people, not the paper trail.

 5- Go to Job Fairs. Seems obvious, right? Yet, so many people miss these opportunities because they dismiss the importance of them. You will be surprised at the wealth of information you can gain from these fairs. 

 6- If you are a college graduate, don't forget to go to the career services at the college Alma Mater. Ask them to help you get involved with the college career days.  Ask them if you can also help with volunteering in their outreach programs. 

 7- Finally, Research the company you are interviewing with. They will be impressed that you took the time, and believe that you do care to work there.

In the interview, ask questions about the position, don't assume that you know what they are looking for, and don't definitely don't assume that THEY know what they are looking for. Take notes and listen to what they say. What do they repeat more than once? What are they stressing in more ways than not.Those are their areas of concerns. Those are the "buy" Points.  Feel out who is the more aggressive interviewers if interviewing with more than one person. That will be the primary hater or lover of your experience. So, help them see the light.  

Remember to be HONEST, always. The truth will inevitably be revealed. Consider how much smaller the world has become because of the internet. Information is only a keystroke away. So, be direct and forthright.

Make sure you cut your hair the day before the interview. Not the same day. Polish your shoes. Companies DO care about your appearance.

SPEAK POSITIVELY about your former employer, NO matter how negative the experience was there.

Have fun, you are meeting a new friend and an industry contact, no matter how the interview turns out. They may one day be needing you to help them find a job!

Most Importantly Be YOURSELF.

Remember, luck is about doing the work to get you at the right spot, at the right time. Without the work, you will remain where you are.

 ----------------------------------------------------

ABOUT KAREN MATTONEN, CAC, CSP

Karen Mattonen has built the reputation as a passionate advocate of workforce ethics and labor relations. Her passion, knowledge, and network has escalated over the years to a point where she is faithfully engaged by 1000's of corporate professionals that appreciate her insight and perspective.

As a result of feedback from her articles, and blogs, and from attending a variety of conferences; Karen came away frustrated that the "experts " usually stopped short of making firm recommendations which might actually aid professionals as they returned to their workloads.

While appreciating the counsel offered at these popular events, she felt that an attempt should be made to disseminate more, and better, information by the industry's regulatory agencies, and peer reviewed experts.

Her passionate and tireless advocacy has led her to create HireCentrix - The Pulse of H.R, Regulation, Retention, Recruiting and Risk Management.  www.hirecentrix.com. Hirecentrix is a company dedicated to providing training to the HR, recruiting and staffing industries, which includes a special focus on the ethical and legal dimensions, through offering a full service resource for individuals to share and communicate, obtain current and accurate information, acquire and provide education and learning within the quickly expanding, diverse, and rapidly changing Recruiting and Human Resource climate.

HireCentrix makes available critical, actionable and required direction and insight, often from sources among the most qualified on the subject. The HireCentrix experience is made available in a way that overcomes the time and budget challenges that plague the modern reality of human capital professionals.

Karen has achieved accreditation as a California Accredited Consultant (CAC) through California Staffing Professionals. She has also gained her Certified Staffing Professional Certificate (CSP) through American Staffing Professionals. (www.americanstaffing.net)

Outside of the HR community, Karen Mattonen has been cited by Microsoft as a resource in how to use Microsoft Outlook as an ATS. She has also served as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for the 3rd largest city in Utah.

Click here to reach Karen via email.

 

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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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