Sunday, January 21, 2007

Why Haven't You Called?

In my local newspaper today is an article on why prospective employees don't always hear back when they apply for a job. They broke the list down into eight possible reasons and the comparison to waiting to hear on a query is downright spooky! Let's try an exercise. Replace terms like employer, application, resume, and job, with editor/agent, query letter, first three chapters, and publishing deal. Do any of these sound familiar?

1. You're targeting big name companies who receive thousands of applications each day. Consider targeting small or mid-size companies who often have trouble locating qualified candidates. Don't give up your dream company, but keep your eyes and ears open for other opportunities.

2. You don't follow directions. One employer may require applications by email, another may prefer traditional mail. Make sure you carefully read the directions and follow them to the letter. If you don't, your application will probably never reach the hiring manager.

3. You need to update your resume. Sending out the same old cover letter to all companies doesn't capture the attention of prospective employers. Hiring managers want to know why you're a good fit for their company specifically.

4. Your cover letter isn't enticing. The best cover letters take select details from your resume and expand upon them.

5. You don't reference keywords. Companies that receive a high volume of applications often use filtering software to find key words in cover letters that reflect directly on the job.

6. Application materials aren't perfect. Submitting an application containing typos, misspelled words and grammatical errors is the quickest way to foil your chances.

7. You don't follow up. Often a brief phone call or email reasserting your interest and strong qualifications will renew your application in the pile.

8. You're not as qualified as you think. Before submitting your resume, take a good, long look at the job description and compare your skills and experience with those required.

Which of these issues might be holding you back?
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