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Continued: Your Biggest Job-Search Problem

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Last update: September 15, 2008 - 9:27 AM


If you actually wrote down your #1 problem, you are halfway to solving it already.

That’s because when you outline a problem in writing, you demystify it. Defined on paper, a problem loses most of its power to frighten. It’s like turning on the light after a nightmare -- there’s nothing scary under the bed when you get a clear look at things.

So, with most of the fear factor gone, you can now solve any job-search problem by restating it as a question, with the help of one word: How.

To illustrate, here are the problems from earlier, restated as questions:

  • How can I make sure employer get my resume?
  • How can I get past HR gatekeepers and meet with hiring managers?
  • How can I turn more interviews into job offers?

Now -- on paper, because that’s the only way to think clearly -- let’s brainstorm possible solutions ...

Problem: How can I make sure employer get my resume?

Possible solutions: Let’s define “send my resume.” For most people that means email. And email is about as reliable as the pony express.

So, you need to know if your email was received and opened.

The simplest way is to pick up the phone, call the employer, and say: “I’ve been having some trouble with spam filters. Could you verify that you got the resume I emailed you yesterday?” Here, spam is your friend -- I’ve met several job seekers who turned such a phone call into a long conversation that led to an interview. Try it.

Or, try a free email notification service like MSGTAG (, or search Google for “read receipt email” and “delivery receipt email” for other solutions.

But why limit yourself to email? Let’s brainstorm further …

Why not differentiate yourself by printing and sending your resume (with cover letter) to the decision maker by postal mail?

Find their name by calling the employer and asking for the correct spelling of the person in charge of your department -- that’s likely your future boss. You can also find names at and

Bonus: Make contact with people at your target company and ask them to walk your resume into a manager’s office the same day you submit it by email. This can start a conversation among executives that pushes your name to the top of the pile.

Problem: How can I get past HR gatekeepers and meet with hiring managers?

Possible solutions: Why not go around the gatekeepers?

Instead of going through HR and hoping to make it to the next security checkpoint, start at the top by contacting the person you want to work for -- they can then call down to HR and put you on the interviewing schedule.

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