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Jewish World Review April 13, 2001 / 20 Nissan, 5761

Getting Hired By Marvin Walberg

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Consumer Reports

Job search do's and don'ts -- DEAR MR. WALBERG: I have a problem with my job search. I'm 44, have a degree in business and more than five years of industrial sales experience with a family-owned business. In two months, I applied for 50 jobs, and got only about five interviews. My resume and cover letters are professionally prepared, so that's not the problem. Is it that I work in a family business, or is it my age? -Frustrated in Ohio

Dear Frustrated: There are so many details in a job search that it's usually unfair to assign a problem to one or two facts.

The whole is equal to the sum of its parts, and each part must be strong, or you have problems. Let's look at some areas that could possibly be strengthened:

- At 44, you're in the prime of your working lifetime. Sure there's discrimination, but don't look for problems.

Your family-business background could block you if you let it. Just talk about your experience and accomplishments. Don't broadcast the family relationship.

- Professionally prepared resumes are not exempt from problems if your personality, strengths, accomplishments and desires are not properly sold.

Now, let me ask a few questions.

- Are you primarily following up on advertised job openings, or are you working at networking leads and doing individual company research?

If you limit your search to advertised openings, you're competing for each job with possibly hundreds of others.

- Are your resumes tailored for each employer, or do you use one form with a preprinted objective?

- Do you write individual cover letters, or are you using form letters?

- Are your letters addressed to specific people by name and title - or "To Whom It May Concern"?

- Are you contacting human-resource people or hiring authorities, like managers and owners, by name and title?

- After mailing a resume, do you follow up or just wait for a reply?

- Do you ask for interviews and suggest a couple of dates and times, or do you wait for invitations?

- Do you sell your accomplishments or just present your experience?

There are lots of details you need to consider and all are important.

Marvin Walberg is a job search consultant and the author of ''About Getting Hired: the Job Search.'' Comment by clicking here.


04/05/01: Revealing past crime depends on job-search situation
03/23/01: Job seekers can still find employment without degree
03/15/01: Sell your strengths, then talk work schedules
03/08/01: Know thy boss
02/22/01: Worried about job discrimination
02/15/01: Good vibes with employer, less with recruiter
02/08/01: Ten tips that deal with job loss
02/02/01: Include cover letter even if ad says 'resume only'
01/26/01: 'Greatest accomplishment' answer can be relevant; recover from stupid interviewers

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