Five Things to Consider If You’re Not Finding a Job

Our discussion boards are filled with posts from qualified job applicants who either can’t get a foot in the door or advance in their current place of employment. If you’re one of them, here’s something you may want to consider, even if you don’t like the thought: If you rarely snag the second interview or are continuously watching colleagues with less experience get plum assignments, management may not be the problem.

Rejected SuitorCathy Northamer, District President of Robert Half Technology, Creative Group in Minneapolis, has seen her share of applicants with job search issues. “There are reasons why someone’s not getting a job,” she says “and it usually starts with their resume.”

A big management complaint is that many applicants don’t tailor their resumes to specific job descriptions. If you’re applying for a .NET Web development position, your resume has to reflect your .NET Web experience. Also, be sure to check spelling and grammar. You think those things are obvious? You’d be surprised how many people get kicked out of the process simply because they didn’t bother with these.

Not researching a company before interviewing will also cost you. “We get folks who just don’t do their homework and our company is pretty easy to find out about,” says John A., a recruiter at an international telecommunications company. “Knowing the company shows initiative.”

Don’t Go Negative

If you don’t get the interview, or if it doesn’t go well, avoid the urge to vent about bad experiences. “We use a lot of behavior-based questions,” says John A., “because the past is a pretty good indicator of the future. If you’re a complainer, you’re basically projecting what will happen if we hire you.” He also emphasizes a graceful response if you don’t get hired. “You’d be surprised how many people get nasty. I don’t keep their resumes on file.”

One thing that’s shocking is how many tech-savvy people aren’t more careful online. “Employers sometimes search for information prior to an interview” Northamer says. “Facebook profiles may be inappropriate, or an applicant may be posting or blogging about things that would be a red flag to management.” In other words, keep it clean and discreet online.

Are you networking?

Both Northamer and John A. suggest using both social networking sites and going to industry meetings. “We take employee referrals very seriously,” says John. “It’s all about networking. If you can get the inside scoop on a company, you can speak specifically to the organization’s needs during an interview.” Adds Northamer: “A lot of jobs aren’t advertised. Read local business journals, network and target companies you want to work for.”

Perhaps most important, remember the dynamic of today’s job market. “In today’s economy, there are a lot of qualified IT applicants looking for employment,” says John A. “We can afford to be choosey.”

Comments

  1. BY Fred Bosick says:

    The very last paragraph is the payoff! And the H-1B visas get snapped up every year. And companies keep complaining that we Americans are deficient in education, or don’t have the skills and knowledge of today’s language-of-the-week. DICE, you let the cat out of the bag! “John A” may has well have said, “What, and you computer guys expect career advancement and a Middle Class lifestyle? Don’t be ridiculous! Here, put this Rubbermaid sticker on your laptop, for that’s how we think of you.”

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  2. BY Celeste says:

    There is also the other side of the coin. I was interviewed by two managers at a law firm in Orlando. I was extremely polite throughout the entire interview even after I was rejected for the job. The rationale for the rejection made me a little uncomfortable, however. I was told point blank that they were a ‘young’ company and looking for ‘younger blood’. I was even courteous enough to send a polite and well-written thank you note to them. I heard absolutely nothing from them after that.

    • BY MH says:

      Companies like that law firm should be outed. Except if they got posted on a blacklist somewhere, being a law firm, they would probably sue. Kudos to you, Celeste, for showing some class. It was that firm’s loss, but your gain. They don’t deserve you, and you deserve much better.

    • BY Sheila says:

      Could be just as well, since this “young” firm is so green they don’t yet realize the importance of an experienced professional. And just what constitutes ‘young?” 20 something, 30 something?

      I really like the 20 somethings that take personal calls and text message during meetings and other on the clock time, basically treating their cubicle like an extension of their bedroom…

      And, how is being told that you are not ‘young’ enough for them not age descrimination? If you don’t want to ‘out’ them publically, then call the BBB, the Chamber of Commerce in your area and complain. And remember, if what you say or write about someone is true and can be proven, it is not slander or libel. The truth is understood in law to be the truth.
      Lies that are written are libel, lies that are spoken are slander.

  3. BY Mike says:

    None of this information is new. Assuming your resume is grammatically correct, and tailored, what is a possible reason for not being contacted for an interview?

    • BY Mark Feffer says:

      Mike, the reason would be if for some reason the company doesn’t think you’re right for the job. (Let’s not get into whether or not they should at least acknowledge the fact they got your resume. Of COURSE they should, but more often than not, they don’t.) Whether we like it or not, employers right now don’t feel the need to be bringing people in unless they’re a very close match with the job they want to fill.

  4. BY Brent says:

    I’ve been looking for employment in the IT field, after 15+ years of programming, design work, working with clients, and producing a lot of code, a very impressive resume to say the least. I respect the Companies that at least send a rejection letter as I hold them in high regard. Although I am worn to a frazzle after looking for work for years now… I’m always willing to try even though sometimes I feel like it is lost effort. What do these companies want? Experience, education, nepotism, church friends? I would love for someone to explain it to me?

    • BY Jer53012 says:

      I think the employers are looking to start someone with a lower than expected wage. So, even with all of the experience you do have, the employer believes you would want a starting wage much higher than they are willing to pay you.

      • BY MichèLe says:

        This is the key factor here – it all has to do with income – employers are looking to hire people who are willing to take less, they will even train them to be the employee they want, if they do not have the exact IT experience or training, just to save a few bucks.

        I have not only been to several interviews, most I do receive at least an email, if not a letter. At first I was upset, especially when I always ask an interviewer how well they thought I fit the postion after the interview is considered ‘over’. I’ve never received a bad critique – ever, but I’m still not getting job.

        I’ve been told lots of different reasons why from recruiters, your working temporary or contract this is a full-time regular employment position, or there is tioo much time between IT contracts, or I work too much freelance.

        Companies just don’t care how much experience you have, the want the least expensive employee that might work out for them.

        Heck, they may even use a temporary agency where they will pay the agency $20-$25, but the temp agency is only going to pay you $10-$12. And if your a girl, you’ll get the $10, if you are running against a guy.

  5. BY Ed Jones says:

    in addition to the age complaints others have raised, if you have anything the least bit wrong with you in terms of health, even if it absolutely will not affect your ability to your job, you’re automatically is considered less suitable than a younger candidate.

    with regard to online activity, always use a pseudonym and a disposable e-mail address. You can’t do anything about what’s trapped in the search engines but you can eliminate any future trail. Your employer has no need to know anything about your private life as long as it is legal, consensual, and sane.

  6. BY W.T.Carter says:

    Posting:
    30 year IT exec currently seeking meaningful employment,fore mentioned information viable and used,guess maybe world feels experince is unnessary with mission critical task oh maybe 50 does not fit corprate guildlines

  7. BY bigcub65 says:

    Most of us who have been working for many many years now. Look at this piece of writing on why people do not get the job or get called back as pretty USELESS!. Lets get real their are millions of people looking for jobs today. I have been in a hiring position for a very large computer firm. Listen folks if your looking for a job in TODAYS climate their are hundreds of people applying for the same job. Here’s a very real fact if your over 45 and you even get a call back for an interview you my friend won the lottery. Just how many people do that!. Here’s another little dirty secret. The real interview starts not with your resume because all HR departments already know people lie about their skills. The real interview starts as soon as you walk threw the door. Here’s an age old adage its not what you know its who you know.

  8. BY Pete Choppin says:

    I completely agree with W.T. Carter that these “suggestions” are old hat, and anyone that’s been looking for work in IT already knows and practices this. Brent, companies are looking to make money, and we (IT Professionals) cost money. We are not revenue generators for a business. IT is no different than keeping the lights on and when a company cuts back, the start turning out some of their lights. Bottom line, IT is overhead and we happen to be in the cyclical cut back phase right now. This may last months/years.

    • BY Sheila says:

      This problem started with the dot com bust. Now, a smart person would realize that IT may cost money, but your company is zip, boffo and out of business without a strong IT support system in this global econonomy.

      Part of the problem is that companies got a really bad taste in their mouth for contracters and IT people after the dot com bust when they assessed the $$ spent on contractors who commanded and demanded big money, and either took advantage by dragging the work out (for more $$) or commanded big money,and ultimately didn’t have the skills to produce.

      We are still feeling the backlash of that time, coupled with the outsourcing of lower-to-mid level tech support. Problem is: ALL non tech people, many of whom are management, now view tech people about as important to the smooth running of business ops as the office cleanup people (emptying trash cans…that kind of thing).

      Of course that is foollish and may likely come back to bite many companies in the butt once the economy works itself out ( it will, and may take a few more years) and then IT people may have some bargaining power.

      IT is a respectable field – you can teach an IT person customer service skills, but you can’t necessarily teach a customer service person IT (technical) skills,

      I believe emplyers are banking on the desperation of people and that is never a position to come from. If you are all that you say you are in your resume…then you deserve the compensation that your skills, education etc command.

      If that is not true, then the majority of C level management in America should leave their jobs right now because obviously they are worth what they demand. No?

  9. BY Chuck Bello says:

    I like to tell a little story. It may not fit exactly, but I think it’s fairly close. There was once a lake that had some pretty good fishing. Then one winter there was a huge die-off. Now it doesn’t matter how good the fishing used to be, right now there’s few fish left. And to make matters worse, there’s far more people trying to fish that lake than ever before. Now, you can use all the right lures, and fish all the hot spots (friends will have an endless supply of advice about what always worked for them and what you’re doing “wrong” – think the authors of this and many other “helpful” articles), but the bottom line is, there’s no fish in the lake!!! Maybe it’s time to get the shotgun of the wall and go hunt some rabbit or squirrel. At least it will put food on the table until the fish start to come back.

    So why aren’t people getting any responses. Because, basically, right now jobs are very scarce. You can have a great resume, extensive experience, and answer all their questions correctly, and it really won’t matter. There’s no fish in the lake, and until they start to come back, it’ll be tough going.

    • BY Lucky says:

      Absolutely correct. It’s mind blowing how people can tell you what you are doing wrong when you have already did the job. I guess it’s just job security because it’s just far to many people looking for far to little jobs.

    • BY Sheila says:

      True, true, true…but it doesn’t keep the bill collector away now does it?

  10. BY "Bob" says:

    Age discrimination is big, but so is “family man” discrimination. Woe betide the prospective employee with a wedding ring. Companies can’t encourage employees with families to work the same 60-hour weeks as newbs straight out of college. It’s hard to evade those kind of interview questions without obviously evading them–plus, I think those questions are illegal anyway. Not like there’s any recourse for the interviewee.

  11. BY Celeste says:

    I agree with the commenter who said that a primary reason for not being contacted is that jobs are very scarce. For one reason or another and due to market instability companies are just not sustaining active hiring because they can’t. If they were doing an awesome business they’d be hiring people left and right. Some of it is poor choices of management personnel and bad HR people, but most of it is still the lagging economy. Its not you. You may have an awesome resumé but often companies go for the people with the max skills and ask for the least money. Is it fair? Heck no… but its a reality.

  12. BY thimsmot says:

    Definitely a useless, bog standard article with absolutely no new information. I’m also a little resentful that the author is not from the IT industry. I’m not going to assign a great deal of trust to someone that was writing about flower arranging (or whatever) last week and is now telling me why I can’t find a job in the field I’m trained for.

  13. BY Lucky says:

    American jobs are the key to employers growth here in the USA. People in those third world countries can not afford to buy those products or services. It was alright when it start 10 years ago but just like with everything a good thing get over done. Now here we are with to many companies that have off shored their jobs with no growth here in the USA. No one spends money like the #1 consumers Americans so stop cutting off the hand that feeds you. It was a short term solutions and now we are seeing the long term problem because of it.

    • BY MichèLe says:

      By Lucky – I totally agree with you, the US has off-shored too many jobs, and this is why we are in th mess we are today.

      I had a contract position with the possible option for hire, but I the company decided to go with a design company in India. Their clothing is made in China and the design for the prints on their clothing is made in Australia. None of their design work is made by people in the US, even though that is where their warehouse is at and where their only office is.

      Truly is sad.

  14. BY FYTHELER says:

    Too synoptic a article, Reader’s Digest offers more! (Too much K.I.S.S. Principle)

    • BY Sheila says:

      right, but the author is still (amazingly?) employed. Go figure…

  15. BY Gil says:

    For the “experienced” job searcher, all of these ideas are still true but not very helpful. A significant problem is how to get feedback because it is hard to improve if you don’t know what you are doing wrong. I always ask for feedback but the way companies treat applicants is like a person after a regretful one night stand. They don’t want anything to do with you. Even retailers who you would think would be smart enough to send a turn-down letter after an interview don’t do so.

    So, Ms Kasson, how do people get feedback to improve?

    • BY Mark Feffer says:

      Well, I’m not Ms. Kasson, but I’ll reply. A while back we posted something about getting feedback, and I think it still applies. The main points are:

      ASK for the feedback (you’d be surprised at how many people don’t).

      Be ready to take the critique you’re going to get. In other words listen more than you talk and, I’d add, don’t get defensive.

      Address the interviewer’s concerns: Make sure you show that you understand what he’s saying, answer his objections if you can.

      If you want to see the full post, it’s here:
      http://news.dice.com/2009/03/04/the-value-of-post-interview-feedback/

  16. BY Bozo de Niro says:

    I don’t read HR-inspired articles about job hunting anymore, I just look at the pictures, so when I went to the interview this morning I brought some flowers, and guess what, I got the job.

  17. BY Gene says:

    1. This article demonstrates that there is a market for writing banal stuff on blogs. Hmmm, maybe that’s the messages here.

    2. I agree that the advent of the H-1B visa cut off a generation of IT people by making the profession largely disposable. Just send them back home and get a new one; no discrimination, no retirement, no development. I’ve read forward thinking books written before the H1-B visa and the predictions about “learning companies” and the importance of human resources are shockingly divergent from what actually happened.

    Now there’s a story!

  18. BY Pat says:

    I am not sure anyone cares about spelling when you are looking at resumes for IT jobs. The applicant better have IT skills. Beyond that everything else is secondary.

    H-1B is really not the problem. Outsourcing is. H-1B has been around for a long time and there were enough IT jobs for all. But with outsourcing, H-1B has become a problem as with every H-1B, 5 more get outsourced. And outsourcing is now on steroids. There is no turning back. Jobs lost to outsourcing is not coming back.

    Most bigger companies wish to outsource their IT departments entirely. The outsourcing companies mostly do a shoddy job. That really does not matter. Corporate America saves money and has to deal with lesser number of people. Smaller companies do hire locally, However they look for really smart people. Thanks to outsourcing their task is a lot easier.

    For people who are middle-of-the-road, finding an IT job is hard and will get harder with each passing year regardless of whether they can spell or not.

    As for the article, it is just like most articles on jobs search. Correct spelling and grammar, very little in terms of practical advice.

    • BY Sheila says:

      Could not agree more. If there is an over abundance and plethora of anything these days, it is the painful redundancy of articles from recruiters that tell us, ad-naseum, that we aren’t getting the time of day because of spelling, grammar and tailoring of our resumes.

      I know those are important topics, however, to dole them out, again and again as a ‘helpful’ article to those who have been unemployed/underemployed for some time (basically 2008), is patently ridiculous.

      A good, seasoned recruiter in a their field of specialty will source the closest matching candidate resumes they can find on the net, call them, and then know how to cull the needed information regarding skills and experience. Trust me, a pro will.

      If you are getting asked questions regarding skills and experience you don’t have listed on your resume, it is likely that you are speaking with a junior level recruiter, and worse yet, one who will tell you over and over “I am not technical, so you need to explain it to me.”

      I don’t need a non-technical recruiter wasting my time. Neither do you. Your best bet is to learn their side of the proposition, and know when you are working with someone who can get you to an interview, or not.
      After that, it is most definitly on you to get yourself the job offer.

  19. BY Gil says:

    Thanks Mike
    I went straight to the article and it was helpful. I always ask for feedback but not immediately after the interview. I have done so after I have been turned down and have not been able to receive any responses.
    I will try the approach offered in the article.

    Thanks Again
    Gil

  20. BY Ben Laydov says:

    The notion of doctoring the resume to match the job description is a trite one at best. Maybe– in junior roles, say someone in the first five years of their career looking to make a jump into a higher position in the same field– it may be a wise move. For any 15+ year veteran, if they are looking for that, it doesn’t really make sense to me. At that level, you should want a person that can interface with others effectively and has had deep understanding of whatever they did in their previous role. Sure when there are a lot of job seekers there is the temptation to merely match up skills because of the sheer number of applicants. That is not talent seeking, not by any stretch. That said, the recruiting scene is better than it was 10 years ago. I recall conversations that went: “So you worked with XYZ App 2.2, correct? Do you have any 2.3 experience? We need to fill a 2.3 position.” Of course, those minor release differences are generally internal fixes with a only few new features that any reasonably intelligent person can adapt to. It’s not like being out of the loop for 10 years.

    • BY Mark Feffer says:

      Ben, I’ve got to disagree with you. The idea of tailoring your resume to match the job is anything but trite. Not doing so is a big reason perfectly qualified people don’t get in the door.

      No matter what level you’re at, no matter how much experience you have, what interests a manager isn’t whether you can do a job, but whether you can do the job HE (or she) needs to fill. Each job is different, just like everybody’s skills and approach are different. I’m not sure what your area is, but are you really like everyone else who has your expertise? Aren’t some people better than others? Why would you WANT to send me a generic resume?

      Any number of, say, developers would do very well in a lot of the jobs that are posted nowadays. The manager knows that. But his hiring decision is based on more than just figuring out which skills you have that will help him out. If I’m the manager, how do I know you understand my company’s business, for example. Does your approach fit with how my company wants to accomplish things? Can I be sure you’ll get on with the other folks in the department? If I put you up in front of MY boss, will you embarrass me or do me proud? If you send me the same resume you send to a hundred other companies, there’s no way I’m going to be able to tell any of this.

      It’s true I won’t get it all from a resume – I’ll only get hints. Many of these questions are answered in the interview. But I need to figure out who’s worth bringing in. I don’t want someone who wants ANY job. I want someone who wants to work on my team. If I see from a resume and cover letter that someone’s taken the time to become familiar with my company and how it operates, or that someone has experience very close to what I need to get things done, that’s the person I’m going to have come in.

      I think there are a lot of people out there — actually, I’m sure there are a lot people out there — who don’t get past the resume stage simply because they keep sending the same one out over and over. When you do that, you’re basically assuming the manager’s going to connect the dots to see whether you fit or not. But connecting the dots is your job, not his. So, really — customize your approach. It takes more time, but it certainly ratchets up your chances of success.

      • BY Peter says:

        Mark let me get this correct its our job to connect the dots. That would be all well and good if all things were equal but you and I really know their NOT. Also your comment about I want someone who wants to work on my team is just smoke and mirror HR talk. One of your comments is a fact about a person’s skills they play a very small part in the hiring of a person. Here’s a real fact I know its all about a hiring managers connection with the person. Here’s my advice to everyone looking for a job don’t waste your time sending out hundreds of resume’s. Don’t waste your time like the millions of others. Trying to convince HR people like Mark to give you an interview. Instead and this may sound corny start going after the things you really LIKE TO DO. Get out of the mode of having no other choices for your work life but resumes and useless interviews. All of us have something we really want to do but we have bought into this package of working for someone how has that worked for the millions of us who are out of work

        Just put 50% of that time into going after what you really want to do in your life.
        Just think no more resume cleaning up no useless interviews. Here’s a little clue “Its is never to late to become what you might have been”.-George Eliot

        • BY Mark Feffer says:

          Hi Peter (and everyone) -

          Thanks for this. But can I just say a couple of things? First, I’m not an HR person. In Dice’s world I’m just a line manager. But I have been a hiring manager, and that’s where my perspective comes from. Seriously, I’m not trying to blow smoke, but Elisabeth and I ARE trying to give you the perspective of the people you’re trying to reach. I talk to lots of people who are looking for jobs, and I talk to lots of people who do the hiring. There’s a real disconnect between them, and that’s really what we’re talking about here.

          You’re right that people should go after things they like to do, but even then they’re going to have to send in a resume and try to get an interview. So, that doesn’t solve the issue of getting in the door. And, I hate to say it, but it IS your job to connect the dots. We can all hate the fact that taking the time to do that increases your chances, but that’s the reality. (Scot Herrick wrote about this. It’s worth looking at his post here.

          My question to you is this: How do you get a job without a resume and an interview? If you’re saying be more selective about what you go after, I agree. But if you’re saying people should abandon the channels that pretty much every business in the country relies on, well, I just don’t see it. I don’t think any of us like the process (again, I’m not talking about HR), but it’s the one we’ve got.

      • BY Ben Laydov says:

        Mark,

        The funny thing is… I really think you are saying the exact same things I am (as end results to find out about a candidate, just disagreed on how to get that information). I just came off blunt because the article here that we are commenting on *is* trite, “Captain Obvious,” style commentary. Almost an insult to anyone with over five years of experience. I stand by my comments in the context that the advice is only useful for someone very early in their career.

        The bottom line is that your resume should be a truthful account of what you did in at least the last 12 years, to keep it under 3 pages. Now to your point.. in my case I have 3 major but somewhat related skills in my career. In the past, I had kept three separate resumes that emphasized those skills. However, after hitting the 20 year experience mark, I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. I am trying to sell myself as an asset rather than a skill.

        Your paragraph (3) that contains: “If I’m the manager, how… ” all the way to (but not including) the last sentence is pretty much my point. But I say that stuff comes from the interview, not the resume.

        I believe (as you stated) a cover letter might be a good way to state how one can apply their skills to a particular company or to hint that you’re a good cultural fit. However, I’m seeing that cover letters are going out of fashion, but the email that is sent to attach the resume can be a good sub for the traditional cover letter if you are going right to a hiring manager.

        The reason I say cover letters are going out of fashion is because of the way resumes are mostly propagated these days… Let’s not forget what site we are on, and use this as an example. Dice. My resume is here on dice, and managers, HR people, and (mostly) recruiters are going to that site and getting my resume before I may even know their company or job opening even exists.

        After contact from them would be the time to learn about the company and their operations for any follow-ups. They already have my resume. It wouldn’t be practical to doctor a second resume at that point and might even appear sneaky if both copies hit the hiring managers desk.

        • BY Mark Feffer says:

          Hi Ben -

          Please, be blunt. I appreciate it, and I can take it, I swear!

          Anyway, I think the key to our debate may be here, from your comment: “Your paragraph (3) that contains: “If I’m the manager, how… ” all the way to (but not including) the last sentence is pretty much my point. But I say that stuff comes from the interview, not the resume.”

          I completely agree. But you have to GET to the interview. That’s really the resume’s whole point — to get you in the door. And to do that, you need to show managers how you can handle the specific needs they’re articulating in their posting. I’ve talked to a lot of managers about this. If they see a resume that’s tailored toward their needs, they’ll save it and give it real attention. If not, it gets a 10-second scan and probably is tossed. Another way to put it: You’re selling yourself as an asset, but the manager’s looking for a skill. Since it’s summer I’ll use this analogy: If I go to buy a sailboat, I don’t want the salesman to show me a power boat, even if it’s a better deal.

          In terms of cover letters, I pretty much agree with you in that the online component makes it more about e-mail than paper. One thing that amazes me though: How few people take advantage of that opportunity. Most resumes I get — and most hiring managers will bear me out on this — don’t say much besides, “Please find my resume attached.” On Dice, it’s stunning how many people don’t take the time to include a cover when they respond to a job posting. Just the fact a candidate takes the time to craft something to go along with their resume says something.

          Best,

          Mark

  21. BY workingMOM says:

    I’m a VERY hard worker, my references adore me, and I have plenty of experience. I agree that the pool is just huge, and people more desperate and less honest than I will promise the moon, lie, sucker up, etc. It’s just not in me to do that. I also will not work excessive hours (i.e over 50 a week). Been there, done that, and I value family and life more than to waste it chasing a dollar. That said, I’m pretty poor nowdays. I hope to scrape by until the economy changes; meanwhile I self-educate. America is becoming the new third-world for low wage white collar workers.

  22. BY MichèLe says:

    One of the things I do after I have an interview, I tell the company that if they ever need some freelance or work done on the side, to give me a call.

    If they send me a letter, I send a letter back in response with my business card. May not work, but it might. All companies have times where they are extremely busy and instead of interviewing potential candidates to fill a temporary seasonal IT or design position, they have my info, and they have already interviewed me.

  23. BY 99weeker says:

    One more instance of blaming the victim. When there are over a thousand people applying for each job employers are not looking at all the resumes. Stop publishing such stupidity.

    • BY escoterica says:

      That’s not a fair statement, or a valid one. As an agency recruiter, I see a tremendous number of smart, motivated people who have absolutely atrociously terrible resumes and haven’t been able to find a job because of it, sometimes for a year or more. They’re usually shocked when a complete resume revamp starts landing them interviews immediately.

      Here’s the deal – people who read resumes for a living want to spend as little time as possible doing it. Resumes are really, really boring and poorly written most of the time. So, companies use automated scanning tools, and if they don’t, they use people acting in the same capacity. Resumes need to be tailored ABSURDLY closely to the description – I want to be able to rewrite the job description by pulling elements out of the resume.

      Don’t underestimate attitude, either. I’ve got several candidates with great technical backgrounds that I will never be able to place until they learn that being a sourpuss or generally negative or unpleasant will never get them the job. At the risk of trolling, your comment is a perfect example of a tone that will always rule a candidate out for me – and my clients.

      • BY Shantal says:

        How long have you been recruiting just curious? Do you enjoy your work?

      • BY MH says:

        Thanks for the great info, Escoterica. Some of responses to this article have been more infomative than the article itself.

        Attitude can definitely make or break you. I had applied for an intern position to get my foot in the door and get my IT career started. The interviewer did not want people who were just looking for any job they could get; he wanted people who were *very* interested in computers, people who wanted it so bad they would be happy to do the grunt work first (think “tape ape” LOL), and stay in the field later. His approach was to tell me of the most boring tasks he could think of, and then ask if I was still interested. I eagerly said yes. I got the job, and started my career.

  24. BY Jack says:

    A long time ago, I interviewed for my first C programming position, at a factory. It was a mediocre session, and I was leaving the office on “we’ll let you know if…,” when I decided to ask the question that was nagging me throughout: “Why do you have an Opto-22 rack (equipment usually found on the factory floor) attached to the wall behind your desk?” Their jaws suddenly dropped and eyes widened. “You actually know what that is??” I got the job.

  25. BY K says:

    I graduated from a top university, have 15 years experience and an excellent resume. However, I have been unemployed for 2.5 years. What I’ve learned during these past 30 months is that the only experience that matters is the five most recent years. I can’t tell you how many times recruiters have told me their clients are looking for people with 1-5 years MAX experience. The lesson is that programming is not a real career.

  26. BY RoTimi Waddy says:

    Wow, the comments of this article provided me far more insight than the article itself!!!! The comments from other fellow job seekers provide me encouragement because they reconfirm exactly what I have been thinking regarding the reasons why I am struggling so hard to find a viable job to get my career off to a good start! I did everything right, got the Advanced IT degree (showing I’m trainable, full of initiative, etc), got a professional well-written resume, and am now doing the best I can to network myself into a position. All of this and yet I’ve still fought to keep a positive attitude and not allow bitterness or anger to take over my thinking as to why I haven’t gotten a job. Keep the faith everyone and good luck. It seems we just might need it in order to get through this climate.

  27. BY James Cole says:

    This is a load of crock! Tayloring resume is one thing but most job posting say entry level with 2-5 years of experience or 5-10 years of experience. If I had 2+ years of experience I wouldn’t be looking for a entry level position.

    Also, job postings list everything under the sun it seams and if you don’t specificlly say that you’ve use those technologies then they past you up. e.g. C# with SQL and Oracle, ASP.Net, Javascript, Perl, Ruby Rails with 10 years experience for an entry level job.

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