Job seekers need to use contacts

April 26, 2006|By MARIE G. MCINTYRE | MARIE G. MCINTYRE,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

I have applied for many jobs, but no one calls me for an interview.

For 10 years, I have worked in call centers for tech support and customer service. My resume has been professionally written, but I am not getting any bites at all. What am I to do?

Because many call-center jobs are being outsourced overseas, you have a lot of competition. To get an interview, you have to stand out from the crowd. And to stand out, you need personal contacts and a first-class resume.

After 10 years, you must know a lot people in your field. Use these networking contacts to find openings and connect with interviewers.

With many qualified applicants available, interviewers often give first priority to those referred by someone they know.

Despite being professionally prepared, your resume may not be as powerful as possible. A resume is a sales tool with one single purpose: to convince an employer to interview you instead of someone else. If your contacts include managers or human resources people, ask them for feedback on your resume. Here are some questions to consider:

Do you customize your resume for each job? For every position, you need to highlight the most relevant parts of your background. A generic resume will often get you a generic response: no interest.

Have you included everything that might attract an interviewer's attention? Training, certifications, projects, special assignments - even volunteer work - can help to get you noticed.

When you send your resume electronically, do you know how it looks on the receiving end? One applicant found that during transmission, all her fancy bullets had turned into tiny blips. No kidding.

Have you double-checked for mistakes or misspellings? Even one slip can make you appear careless and cost you an interview.

Looking for work is no fun. Job seekers face constant rejection and have no idea when it will end. So consider joining a job search group. The support will keep your spirits up and may provide some job leads.

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