Responding to Ads
Q: I understand that the
self-initiated job search is the most effective means of finding
employment. However, how much time and effort should be devoted to
responding to classified advertising? What's the best way to respond
to ads? Is it better to omit a resume even though it's requested?
What's the best way to discuss salary history?
A: You're correct in assuming that a
self-initiated job search (finding a job through contacts) is the
best way to look for a new position. In fact, its overall success
rate usually is very high. Want ads, on the other hand, yield jobs
for a much smaller percentage of the people using them. Keep that in
mind when trying to decide how much time to give them.
Consider, too, that want ads
represent 10% to 15% of all available jobs and tend to cluster in
areas such as sales, secretarial, accounting, engineering, nursing
and programming, where applicant supply is less than demand. If you
are looking for some thing a little different or want to change
careers, you probably won't find what you're looking for in an ad.
But don't avoid them entirely. They obviously work for some people.
Respond to an ad by supplying what it
requests. If you're asked to send a resume with salary history, do
it or risk being round-filed. Other approaches such as cleverly
written broadcast letters probably won't get you far. If you choose
to play the want-ad game, you must follow the rules set by
Be sure to put together a resume and
cover letter tailored as much as possible to the listed job. If the
ad mentions specific qualifications and duties, try to show how your
background and experience pertain to them. Sending the same resume
to everyone is unlikely to get you many replies. People who receive
a stack of resumes choose only the most pertinent. They aren't
interested in reading between the lines to spot potential talent.
You can try omitting salary history
by stating that compensation is negotiable, if you are willing to
risk it. However, you may be eliminated for not giving the