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High Tech/High Touch

High Tech/High Touch
Dave Gentes
Recruiting Manager, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, USA

Technology continues to change the process of job seeking. Submitting resumes used to be a detailed chore. Today it is fairly easy to upload a resume to any number of company web sites in a short time. An eager job seeker can apply to many places with minimal effort but often also with marginal results. Job seeking can be a very frustrating and confusing process. Rejection outpaces acceptance by a large margin. No one likes to be turned down, much less ignored. Ease of applying is offset by the fact that many current resume handling systems strip your resume of features like bolding, underlining, and carefully chosen fonts that might have gotten attention previously. Key word searches may or may not capture your resume. Truth be told, many resume reviewers don't have the depth of understanding to recognize your resume as a fit. Applying online can seem very much like throwing your resume into a black hole and hoping something happens.

Submitting a resume is but one aspect of job seeking. More important is to fall back and think about yourself as a product, and an employer as a consumer. Not all consumers need all products. It is necessary to do some market research to identify where you should focus your effort and how you present yourself. If you are interested in a role in research and development, narrow your contacts to employers that logically would seek that skill. Research those employers in enough depth that you know about their history, their missions and products, what types of factors influence their direction, and other factors. Having done this research, do you still believe that these employers are consistent with your objectives? When you read your own resume, do you see potential solutions to what they might need? Many posted job openings are outdated or very low priority, but they do give a picture of potential hiring need. Does your resume highlight how you can address those needs, either by experience or education? A tailored resume that addresses those items will be more effective than a blanket document meant to cover all possibilities. Have you thought about other factors in your job search beyond your skills? If you don't want to deal with snow, the Northeast should not on your target list. Some employers cannot hire those who are not US Citizens. You can reduce the number of rejections that you face, if you realistically reject employers first by being selective.

Having researched and identified target employers, don't be afraid to reach and out touch them. Linked-in, Naymz, and other social networking sites can be useful tools in identifying contacts in target employers. Professors and campus career offices can be excellent sources of leads. Request for informational interviews are a good way to get a face to face discussion going. As good a resume as you may have, job seeking is still a contact sport. Plan well, choose your targets, and stick to it. It is a game you can win.

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