Q: I am looking for a job and I can work in several different fields. My experience over the years – and also my hobbies – allow me choose among many different opportunities. The problem is that I send my resume to all the places that have openings that interest me, but none of the companies respond other then with a nicely worded rejection letter. Do you have any suggestions for me, as I have been looking for quite awhile?
A: This is a good news, bad news situation. The good news is that you can do so many things. The bad news is that companies want specific skills for their particular job opening. This is especially true today, when hiring a new employee and adding the cost of the salary and benefits to their payroll is such a major decision. Employers do not necessarily need someone who has dabbled in a subject, but rather want someone who can demonstrate that they can do the specific job for which they are recruiting.
One of the mistakes many job seekers make is to have a resume that covers several areas of interest and ability, instead of focusing the resume on the one or perhaps two areas of greatest experience and interest.
We incorrectly believe that the wider the net we spread, the more fish we will catch. That is not the case with an unfocused job search. It is preferable to have two or three resumes that are pinpointed to a certain type of job, rather than to have just one resume that covers all the bases. Having multiple versions of your resume can also make your job search more efficient and directed. When you do succeed in getting an interview scheduled, be sure to prepare for it by studying the parameters of the job, and how the company’s needs apply to your skills.
Another benefit of a more focused search is that it makes it easier for people who really want to help you to direct their efforts on your behalf. A message of “I can do almost anything” or “I am good at these ten various things” will make it harder for your contacts to produce the relevant introductions that you need. The more focused your networking efforts are, the more effective the results will be.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.