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People Skills

(September 29, 2006) I've been applying to jobs recently.

By far, the two sources I use the most are Craigslist and idealist.org. If you don't know about idealist, check it out. Lots of young people are using it. These sites are easy to navigate and provide a lot of background information about the organizations and companies that post with them.

I wish I could say my job search has been a piece of cake. Or even enjoyable. As a individual who holds the value of human communication highly, it is disheartening to send your resume, cover letter and references into the black whole of the internet. There isn't the satisfaction of handing a person your crisp resume. No eye contact. No thank you.

I can't even tell you what a difference it makes to get the quick, automatic response from the company recruiter saying they have received my information and resume and will get back to me. What a concept. Responding to the audience who is interested in working for you.

The opposite experience, no noise on the other end, is frustrating. And to be honest, its more than frustrating. Its rude. In a day and age when automated responses take five minutes to set up, it seems fairly unprofessional to not use them. An automated response is way better than nothing. And at least gives the appearance that you care about the people applying to you.

Yes, with the internet there is a certain amount of understanding that everything you do, or apply for, will not receive a response. However, if the industry is going to continue to use the internet as a major tool in placing people in jobs, we've got to work on our people skills.

When you don't reply, you isolate a potential future employee. It may be five years from now when you want them. It may be six months. Every candidate that does not receive any information from you is a lost contact. You are making your network smaller.

Of the places I have recently applied to, you better believe that I would be more inclined to try again with folks who called me back. I understand some of you get thousands of responses per job listing. Automatic responses are a beautiful thing. Attempt to keep communication open, even if it is superficial at first.

Don't close the door on potential candidates. You want their network. You want their loyalty and interest in the future. For Generation Why, we are used to getting answers. We are used to getting responses at home, almost instantly, from teachers, friends, family and co-workers. Why wouldn't our potential employer do the same?

Happy Birthday Dad.

Bridget Sumser (bridget at linkitup.org) . - .  Permalink . - . Today's Bugler

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