I read your last "Ask Ellis" with anticipation that you were going to solve my problem of how to more effectively answer ads. You didn't! I get that you were trying to make a point about over-reliance on ads, but I still want to know how I could make my responses work better. Yes, I know that ads account for a small proportion of successful job search, and I realize I'm supposed to network a lot. I even bought your book to figure out how an extremely introverted person like me could network. But here's my reality. I'm never going to be a big networker. Just not going to happen. Your chapter on networking made me realize I could definitely do more than I do now, but I am going to answer a lot of ads. Any suggestions for making that technique work better?
You're not the only one. I've met lots of smart, talented people over the years who have asked the very same question.
My first inclination is always to help them figure out how they could just push, a little, to build some relationships as part of their search. But I also realize that's painful for some, and will only be a minimal part of the process.
There are a few tricks about answering ads. One is that you answer the ad immediately, and then answer again, exactly the same, way 10 days later. In the first batch, chances are good you won't even get noticed. In the second, maybe you'll be only one of three that come in that day, and you do get noticed.
Another suggestion is to avoid sending the resume with a first response. There's always going to be something in the resume that's going to eliminate you from consideration. Maybe you have 5 years of experience in the field, and they're asking for 7. Dumb reason to eliminate you, but the piece of paper can't address the hiring manager's (or human resources') concerns. (It's one of the many reasons why I prefer more high-touch connections.) So why not create a "resume letter"? This could be a list of several of the specs they're asking for, and you could match those up. Of course, you don't even mention the ones you don't have. That's real targeted marketing.
And the best suggestion is one that will make an avowed non-networker cringe. It's a great idea to "circle around" the job, by networking into the organization, and not mentioning that you know anything about the opening. Of course, you'd position yourself exactly for the open position, then ask for some advice on where you might make a connection in the organization to an area that might utilize those skills. Or if the person you're talking with doesn't catch on, then you may mention you heard through the grapevine that the organization may be hiring someone with those particular skills, and would your contact have any advice about how to approach?
I’ve seen these strategies work, so why not give them a try? They may just work for you too.
To find answers to your questions on job search and career transition, get your copy of In Search of the Fun-Forever Job: Career Strategies that Work