Job-hunting? Skip the recruiters and "job shops"
There are two kinds of job searches ... the easy ones, and the hard ones.
The easy ones are the ones that have someone else doing your leg-work for you, and in many cases, actually employing you to be subcontracted-out to the actual company with the job.
The problem with these scenarios are, well, that they are "easy." Too easy. They're a net tossed into the water and lots of fish get scooped-up in them, including you. A smaller number of those fish are squirted to the client, who can pick and choose the ones he likes and throw the rest of them (most of them...) overboard at any time without warning.
So, you are "just one of a school," and you can be out of a job at any time for no reason at all.
A better strategy is this: search only for direct hires. In other words, find out what the jobs are and apply to them directly. If you detect that your resume is about to get chommed by software that will pick it apart into its component pieces, look elsewhere.
You will probably wind up working for much smaller companies, doing a much more interesting variety of work, and spending a lot more time-and-effort on job discovery than you presently do. You won't be sending out nearly as many resumes. And, you'll get much better (very fast!) at selling yourself.
But the person who you wind up working for, or with, is actually the person who hired you, and you were not just one name among hundreds, selected (I kid you not...) at random. This person doesn't have to pay a finder's fee to anyone.
Anyone can sell a brush. The demand for these "brushes" is so high that it can become an empty numbers-game. It's easy to get caught up in it. But a rewarding occupation with a real long-term future takes more work.
Don't settle for less.
Rewriting your resume for every job description is another good tip. When initially writing a resume it may be difficult to pin point which experiences you should put on it. A good practice is to review what is desired by the employer and then rewrite your resume and include an experience you had which proves your capacity to function in that requirement.
I know rewriting the resume each job application is a time consuming task however you'll see great returns on interviews vs. number of resumes applied to jobs. Using keywords from the original job description will help the person reviewing your resume pick out and understand the points you are making.
Note though that many companies only hire through their recruiters, or recruiting agent and any application sent directly ends up circular filed. Always follow the companies specified proceeures if you want to actually make it past the mail pile.
Actually, many companies loathe recruiters. I don't know of a single one who has granted any recruiter an exclusive contract. (And, for Pete's sake, why should they?!)
I have been on both sides of that hiring desk. I have been obliged to be polite to one recruiter after another who handed a sheaf of fancifully formatted but otherwise identical resumes to me. I admit, candidly now, that I never looked at any of their offerings ... because there were just too many of them. A hundred pieces of paper; a hundred hopefuls; and more tomorrow. A very good chance that the same resume will show up simultaneously in three different stacks. I didn't have time to troll through all that ... any more than you have time to troll through the contents of your "junk" e-mail folder!
Therefore, I looked only at the very small number of resumes that came in directly through the company's web site. And ...
... when a letter showed up in the company mail, that was addressed to me by name and that contained a resume in it ...
... I ripped open that envelope immediately.
Every salesman with any experience at all will tell you the same thing: you have to cause "a meaningful sale" to happen. You have to accomplish that by truly understanding what "a person like me" actually needs, and by recognizing what obstacles (e.g. "a hopeless(!!) slush-pile of unsolicited resumes") stand in the way of both "you" and "me."
Every salesman will tell you: know your customer. Every salesman will also tell you that theirs is a very legitimate, and what is more, very necessary business function. Willy Loman aside... they are 100% right.
"I've looked at love from both sides now," and believe me, it ain't pretty.
Trust me: put yourself in the pragmatic shoes of the hiring manager, and seriously help him or her out, and you will significantly improve your odds. Because, that person really does need to hire someone ... "yesterday, please."
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