Q: I am a graphic designer with 10 years of experience and have applied to 119 jobs since moving to MA on Jun 3. I have had zero interviews. I tried doing some follow-up phone calls, but those only resulted in rude "they'll call you if interested" or instances where I had to just leave a message. No one ever calls back. Please keep in mind that I only apply for jobs that I am 95%+ qualified for. What am I doing wrong???
A: Great question. Your current job hunt strategy is a popular one. As you have discovered though, it is probably not the most effective job hunting strategy.
Your approach to job hunting can sometimes be successful with luck and in a strong economy. However, I would suggest that you revise your job hunting strategy immediately.
Here is what I would suggest:
1. Develop a Linkedin profile. Several years ago, boston.com published a great “how to use Linkedin” article. I still share it with job seekers. Here it is: http://www.boston.com/jobs/bighelp2009/september/articles/linkedin_tips/
2. Use Linkedin every day to expand your network. Join Linkedin groups which are affiliated with your profession and your desired geographic location.
3. Network, network and then network more. Connections lead to job opportunities. Friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. should all know you are looking for a new opportunity.
4. Attending networking events in the area.
5. Consider attending a meetup group. Visit www.meetup.com.
6. Connect with an employment agency with expertise in the placement of graphic designers.
7. Don’t dismiss contract or temporary opportunities. These opportunities often lead to longer term full-time roles.
8. Never say no to an introduction. If a friend refers you to a former colleague who runs a marketing agency, meet that person. It does not matter whether they have an appropriate opening or not. They may know of an opportunity or put you in touch with another colleague who is hiring.
Finally, firing off resumes to online postings should be one part of your job search strategy. However, developing contacts should be the focus of your job search.
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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.
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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.