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BOB LANKARD: How to get noticed

by on September 22, 2013 1:50 AM

Job seekers see many problems when their job search is unproductive. One problem is they feel employers see them as overqualified. Others worry about the expression “your application is on file.” They think they will be stuck there. Both concerns can be real. But there are ways for the job seeker to deal with both.

“We will keep your application/r←sum← on file for 90 days. If any openings occur we will compare your qualifications with any new jobs,” you have been told after putting in an application or having an interview. It sounds reassuring. They will keep your application for the 90 days — that’s an obligation. But checking your application against every opening is not as certain.

What can you do to make sure you are considered for openings at the place you applied?

• Do you know anyone who works for this employer? Facebook or other social media makes finding someone easier. Enlist your inside contact to tip you off about openings that develop.

• Make the person you meet when turning in your application your ally. Ask them, “May I check with you occasionally just in case something turns up?”

• Ask questions about what happens when an opening occurs. How long do they wait before posting it publicly?

• If you have no inside contact, stop by or call occasionally (don’t be a pest) to learn of any news. If there are new developments in your employability (you added a new skill to your r←sum←) stop by to turn in your new r←sum←.

Those job seekers who have been unemployed a long time struggle to figure out why. Many conclude they are overqualified. “Employers make wrong assumptions about me,” they feel. Let’s take a look at some of those imagined assumptions:

• Too many years’ experience. This job seeker can restrict their r←sum← to jobs that apply to jobs they are applying for. A person who has worked many years for one employer can usually break down their experience into several separate jobs.

• Too much education. A r←sum← is your tool to sell yourself to the employer. Emphasize your skills rather than education. A functional r←sum← may be best for this job seeker.

• Too highly paid. If you know the pay for the job, ignore the rule about bringing up salary. Go on the offensive. Tell the interviewer, “I know the pay for this job. I will accept that pay rate. I wouldn’t have applied otherwise.”

• Too rigid with demands. Some employers are used to applicants objecting to hours, days, or overtime. Set the record straight and tell them you are interested in this job as is.

• Obsolete skills. If your skill set differs from what the employer desires, make arrangements to get those skills with evening classes.

Bob Lankard, a retired employment specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Indiana Job Center, is a job-search columnist for the Indiana Gazette. Read his columns on Sundays.
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