What You Need to do When Contacting People

One of the challenges everyone in an active job search has is how to effectively communicate with people they want to reach – whether it is recruiters or leaders within targeted organizations.  Today’s access to data provides power (because knowledge is power) but it also creates a burden of being “too much.”  Recruiters receive 100’s of unsolicited resumes each day.  Leaders within organizations are strained just responding to the communications required to keep the organization moving forward.  Introductory email is overload!  If you want to be noticed, it is imperative that you stand out from the clutter.

Communications today are primarily in three forms – email, telephone or snail mail.  Text messaging could be added for some, but for senior leadership it is still not an effective way to review something new – and if you are a candidate that wants to meet someone, you are definitely “new.”  How do you make yourself stand out?

First, consider what is important to the person you are reaching out to.  Your introduction should be to the point.  Your resume should be easy to read.  It should concisely communicate to the reader what you want them to know – in terms that are meaningful to them.  Do your homework; have some basic knowledge about the organization.  Be prepared to show how you can contribute.   Remember, resumes are an advertisement – with a goal of getting a face to face meeting.

Email is the accepted communications tool when conducting a job search today.  Remember rule number 1 – deal in the other person’s 90% – to use it effectively.    One of the best ways to preclude someone hitting the “delete” key is to have a subject that is interesting to the recipient.  Then deliver your easy to read resume that will continue creating interest.

Although in many instances it is possible go get the phone number of the person you want to talk with, an email asking for a specific time to have a conversation is more effective than just calling.  It indicates your respect of their personal time.

I believe there is a slight increase in the number of snail mail resumes today.  However, there does not appear to be a benefit to this method of communications, at least not sufficient to offset the cost.  This is not true when the position is at the highest levels – CEO, COO, Board Member.  Snail mail is the preferred communications mode at the most senior levels.

Candidates who invest time learning about an organization before sending a resume, then use to-the-point email to as their introduction, should have a higher success rate in getting through to their target.  As with most things in life and business, there are no magic answers, but a well thought out process, and strong, consistent follow through has a much higher probability of success.

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