Most job hunters who seek out my assistance receive no response from employers. They believe their resume is the source of their problem. While it is true that most military resumes need to be rewritten, I have found that resumes aren’t necessarily the primary job search problem.
I was working with a Navy vet who had sent out his resume for nine months getting no response. He blamed his resume. I reviewed his resume and saw there was nothing wrong with it. So, I told him to stop sending it out and begin attending industry trade shows to meet other professionals. He found a job within a couple of months after applying a new job search technique.
There are plenty of reasons why your resume may not be your problem. Unlike the military service where recruiting is predictable, private industry’s hiring is variable and depends on need, contract awards, economics and other things.
Applicant availability is another reason why you could be having problems. Successful job hunting is a numbers game. You may be confronting a lot of competition.
Geography may be working against you. All industry sectors have geographic hubs where most of its jobs reside. For instance, most security clearance jobs are on the coasts. If you MUST live in Wisconsin and are seeking a clearance job, don’t blame your resume. The numbers rule here and you should expect a long job hunt.
How long you expect your job hunt to last plays a role in how you perceive your resume is working for you. If you expect a 1-month job hunt and 2 months go by, your resume can become the convenient scapegoat.
I have found that you should budget at least three months for a job hunt. The longest job hunts are for Federal Government jobs. Since your application package has to work its way through a bureaucracy, this should be expected.
Another informal rule is the higher the pay, the longer the job hunt. I know a job hunter who has a great resume and receives job interviews regularly. But her compensation package is typically around $100,000. She has been on the hunt for at least 5 months. This is not abnormal.
What can you do (besides fussing with your resume) to get your job hunt performing? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Get to Know Your Industry. If you understand the big picture of your target industry, you will run a more efficient job hunt. (To help my customers, I read daily The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.)
2. Get Out of The House and Meet People. In nearly all cases of long-term job hunts, the job hunters were glued to their computer and never left home. Yes, the Internet is a powerful job search tool. But it is one of many tools.
Job hunting at its most basic level is about relationship-building. You must experiment with different ways of making contact with employers. Job fairs are one way. Another is joining a Job Club. These are loose confederations of job hunters who meet regularly to discuss their job searches. They often share their employer contacts with one another.
3. Ask For Help. Military life generally requires service members learn self-reliance. However, in civilian life, cooperative relationships are the rule. You have to learn to trust the knowledge “bank” of others. By the way, it’s okay to ask for help.
I recall a job hunter who contacted me for help. She had 5 years of military analyst experience, a Top Secret clearance and spoke Farsi. She was getting no employer response. Her resume was okay. So I started calling around because it seemed to me she had marketable skills.
My contacts affirmed my initial thoughts. I then told her to register on ClearanceJobs.com and, if she did not receive a call from an employer in one week, to contact me and we would then begin one of my job hunt assistance programs. I never heard back from her. I’m sure she is happily employed.
You must have an effective resume to play the job search game just as a baseball player needs a good bat and glove. But once you have them, you must move beyond the equipment and get into the strategy of the game to succeed.
About the author: Randall Scasny (firstname.lastname@example.org). Mr. Scasny is the Founder and Director of MilitaryJobHunts.com, which offers personalized career counseling programs for the transitioning military veteran. Mr. Scasny transitioned from the U.S. Navy 18 years ago and has worked in a variety of industries including the Internet, Publishing, Electrical Power, Motion Control, Electronics, HVAC, Appliance and Industrial Automation. Mr. Scasny was a First Class Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy when he was discharged in 1987, after 10 years of service. During that period of time, he was a Technical Instructor at the Advanced Electronics “C” School of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, a Work Center Supervisor aboard the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST 1180) and U.S.S. Inflict (MSO-456) and a Repair Technician on the U.S.S. Yosemite (AD-19).
All opinions, advice, statements or other information expressed in this article are solely the author’s and do not necessarily express the opinions of ClearanceJobs.com.