The Job Search: You Can't Just Send Your Résumé

If you've been hunting for work for a while, it may be time to change your strategy.

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The unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent last month from 4.7 percent a year ago. It's a statistic, but it's real people losing their livelihood, income, and stability. In a recent Chicago Tribune poll, a quarter of respondents said either they'd lost their jobs or a relative had lost a job within the last 12 months. The newspaper yesterday told the story of Jeff Santucci:

Jeff Santucci was laid off in May 2007 as an auto mechanic, a job he had held for nearly 30 years.

He never dreamed he wouldn't find another. Now, at a time when Santucci, 48, should be planning for retirement, he's watching his life savings dwindle at an alarming rate.

"There's no money in the budget for any extravagances whatsoever," said Santucci, a father of two from Frankfort. "We don't go out for dinner, no vacations. We're getting ready to cancel the cable."...

Santucci, who has sent out 143 résumés so far without any luck, says he never expected to spend his middle age pinching pennies and crunching numbers. Now he's worried how golden his retirement will be.

"I'll probably be working until I die now," he said, pausing before adding: "If I can get a job."

For anyone in a similar situation to Santucci—out of work and banging your head against a wall as you send out résumés for any promising opening—I'd direct you to some of the best ways to find a job, as listed in What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles.

  • Call up your friends, family, associates, and counselors at your former college career center and ask about job openings where they work, or if they know of openings elsewhere.
  • Step away from your computer and go knock on doors at businesses that you find interesting and relevant to your skills.
  • Pick an industry in the phone book that interests you and visit or call each company in that field.
  • Go through the phone book again—but do it with a group of job seekers.
  • Do an in-depth interrogation of your skills, your interests, your ideal working environment and then find the best strategy for a relevant job. (You might need the book for this one.)

The key is to realize that blindly sending out résumés is unlikely to yield success.

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