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Mailbag: Enlivening a job hunt

Jul 29, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Two readers take exception to job hunting advice offered in previous newsletter

A recent newsletter offered tips for kicking a job hunt up a notch when you aren’t finding success. I expected that some of you who have been searching for months in this lousy market might write to say that these are things you’ve already done, but what was surprising was that I only received two letters from folks who took exception to some of the advice. (Go to for “Enlivening a job hunt”)

Eric Wallace says that in his experience, casting a wider net hasn’t been useful. The IT pro quit his job a year ago to spend the summer in Africa, and since then has hopped between short-term contracts. “My concern -and frustration – is that even for a jack-of-all-trades such as myself, ‘casting my net wider’ in this economy just gets my resume thrown out faster,” he writes.

Wallace points out that even though he may be fully qualified to be a network administrator for a small law firm, HR weeds out his resume because none of his previous positions specifically had that title, or because skills with a certain product aren’t mentioned.

“In fact, I am a much more well-rounded employee than they’re looking for – and any of my past employers would agree that’s a critical skill – but because the competition is so tight, HR has been instructed to discard candidates that in any other economy would’ve made the list and maybe made up the difference in the interview,” he says.

John Reynolds is another who has found that advice just doesn’t work, nor does the idea of considering a career change. “It is the most frustrating thing when you know you can do the job, but the company won’t consider you because you have not done the exact job before (and for five or more years),” he says. 

“I can’t tell you how many related jobs I have applied for and have had no response,” continues the San Jose resident. “It does not matter that you, the job seeker, have considered a career change or tried to use your skills in different ways.”

Instead, Reynolds has some advice for recruiters and employers. “They need to stop telling job seekers to broaden their horizons. We understand this! It is the companies that hire that need to broaden their horizons.”

It may take awhile, but Reynolds can be sure that when the pendulum swings back around, that is exactly what some of these same employers will need to do to find talent.