Shortly after graduating from college I learned that unsolicited job applications usually yield in a courtesy letter explaining why the application was rejected.  Applying for a job requires a more methodical approach beyond simply sending one’s resume with a cover letter to hundreds of potential employers and eventually hoping that someone in the human capital department might take notice. Ironically the internet age did not help the process either.  While it might be easier to email that resume to the potential employer, chances are the email is even easier to ignore than that letter.

The reason that I am remembering this is due to the fact that over the past year I’ve received a significant amount of resumes and cover letters via email from individuals looking for employment.  Their tactics in many respects resemble my own attempts from long ago when I first entered the job market.  Perhaps my favorite unsolicited letter that I received a few days ago is one that states:

“To whom it may concern, kindly find my attached CV for any job opportunity, hopefully find that chance to be one of your team member.”

This impersonal email found its own way to my junk mail folder and had it not been for my checking this folder on a relatively infrequent basis it would have been deleted without me ever seeing it.  I have to admit that between the typos, grammatical errors, and improper introduction, not to mention the fact that it was an unsolicited application, I did not bother looking at that CV and deleted the email immediately.  I suspect that this job applicant has as much chance of landing a job using this method of spam email as the person who sends those email from the “Nigerian Prince” asking for our bank account number and user name/password.

I wonder if the issue is with colleges and universities that have not instituted programs to better educate graduates on the job market or if it is lazy graduates who don’t read/heed the advice of experts in the field.  The process of looking for a job is not an easy task but it does not have to be an impossible one.  Here is some advice that I would have found helpful at the beginning of my career:

  • Apply for genuine job listings. don’t waste your time by sending an unsolicited resume.
  • Do your research. Find out information about the company you’re interested in.  Learn about the job requirements of the listing you’re applying for.
  • Polish matters.  Grammatical errors and poor language hurts your chances when applying for a job.

The most important bit of information is that using one’s network offers the best chance for someone to find a potential job opening.  Whether it is family, friends, or former colleagues, each of these groups can help open doors to get you closer to that job you desire.  If you have additional bits of advice feel free to comment as well.