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September 2012
The Job Search "Run Around"
by Susan Reynolds

In this feature, I'd like to give several tips on how to get past the "screeners" to actual decision-makers who can positively influence your job search success. This topic has been prompted by the recent stories of people who have been treated almost like "stalkers" by companies they were approaching for career opportunities. Conversely, I have recently been in conversation with absolutely excellent corporate talent-acquisition professionals. Why is it so hard to get in the door to many companies?

Many organizations have experienced professionals who are charged with attracting and identifying the absolute most talented employees for the needs of their companies. These experts may also work to target strong contractors for temporary assignments, sometimes with the charge of being able to procure very specialized talent. You'll want to be very precise in your ability to explain your ability to contribute in that these talent-acquisition professionals often have very clear methods in screening the workers they need. Other organizations do not have the services of such pros, which often leaves an interested job seeker struggling to get a productive conversation... possibly outright rejected.

It's different further when communicating with decision makers from specific functional departments. These professionals might be much less defined in their search criteria and much more receptive to flexible conversation about the technical needs of their department and the technologies they utilize. They are usually not as predictable in their interviewing techniques or hiring preferences. In other words, you might be in for a surprise (positive or negative) when visiting a functional manager for an interview, whereas the battery of questions from a seasoned human resources pro will often be quite similar company to company.

So when you're in the thick of a job search, do the homework ahead of time to know just "who's who" in each organization, and make a decision to target functional departmental professionals, as well as the traditional human resources route. Then you'll be able to optimize your search efforts!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at NewMarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search, career strategy, and resume-writing firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at or 661-755-3308.

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