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Advice for Job Seekers - How to Reply to Job Posts

Updated on March 13, 2012

It is not a fun time looking for a job - part-time, full-time or any time. It can be frustrating when you submit your resume for multiple job ads and get no response. Sometimes you wonder if there is anyone on the receiving end of your email.

After posting several legitimate job ads on Craig's List to hire part-time Sales Reps I also experience the frustration of an employer. Fishing through multiple email responses it is easy to weed out the replies and focus on a few key prospects. Are you one of the ones being weeded out? If so - what is it that you might be doing wrong? I am writing this article to give you my advice on how to best to reply to job posts and get the interview.

What TO do

  • Make sure you READ the job post. Most employers spend a great deal of time thinking about the qualifications they are looking for and even make requests in the job ad for the applicant...specifically stating what they want with the responses.
  • Determine if you are really QUALIFIED for the job. You are wasting your time and the employers time when you post for jobs in which you do not have the required skills. There is very little chance you will get a job this way unless you personally know someone. In a competitive job market most employers are reluctant to spend their time and energy training someone who they deem unqualified at the very beginning.
  • Determine if you truly MATCH all of the requirements for the job. For example: Are you really okay with part-time work? Are you really organized and work well independently? Are you really willing and available to work some nights and weekends? If you just want a job but don't really have the skills they mention or would rather work a full time job during the week days - then be honest with yourself and the employer and do NOT post for the job.
  • DO what the Job Post requests of the applicant. Does the ad request a resume, a cover letter? Does it request that you address certain skills? Does it ask for your availability? When submitting your email make sure you respond to all of the requests. If you don't take the time to do this it shows that you are not good at following instructions. Many times this will get your email deleted.
  • Spend some time to research the company and determine if you really want to work for them. If you find something you like mention it in your cover letter.
  • Make your cover letter (can just be your email letter) PERSONAL. Do not send a generic email with no specifics about the job ad and your qualifications. The more personal the letter the more likely it will be read and your resume viewed.
  • Tailor your resume to the job. For example if you are applying for sales position - mention sales as your objective. If you are applying for a part-time position - make sure to say you are looking for a part time position in your objective.
  • Use the same "lingo" as the position you are applying for. If you are applying for a formal desk job make sure you use sophisticated language and terminology that would be used for that position. If it is a less formal sales position you do not want to sound too stuffy. You will want to be more personable and outgoing in your response. The employer can tell a lot by your writing and can determine if your personality would be a fit for the position and their company culture.

What NOT to do

  • Reply to the job ad in haste without reading it thoroughly or spending time tailoring your email (cover letter) and resume.
  • Miss-spell words. In the world of spell-check there is really no excuse for spelling words incorrectly. That shows a lack of attention to detail and inability to use simple computer tools (like spell-check).
  • Reply to the job ad with no letter - just a resume attached. By doing this you are saying to the employer... I am too lazy to figure out if I have the qualifications for this job - so you figure it out by reviewing my resume. Keep in mind that the resume is the LAST thing the employer looks at. The first thing is the cover letter. If there is no may just be deleted!
  • Not addressing the questions, instructions or the qualifications listed in the job ad. If you are not able to read and follow instructions - why would someone want to hire you?
  • Having the wrong Objective on your resume. If your objective conflicts with the job you are posting for - your application will be deleted. It gives the employer reason to doubt your interest in the job and he/she will not want to waste his/her time hiring or training you.
  • Replying to multiple job ads simultaneously. This is a sure sign of laziness and guarantees that your email will be deleted.
  • Seeming desperate in your response. Saying you will take anything is not attractive to an employer. It is a sign that you are not desirable by others and will make them question why they would want to hire you.
  • Reply asking for more information about the job. Not many employers will take the time to respond to you when all you need to know was in the job ad. A simple search on the company and you should be able to find out what you need to know.

How long have you been looking for a job?

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I Sent in My Resume and Cover Letter - Now What?

So you sent in your resume with an appropriate cover letter and still no response? You may wonder if you did something wrong. Please keep in mind that any number of things could have happened.

  • The employer could have gotten busy and hiring has taken a low priority.
  • Their hiring needs may have changed and they may not really want to fill this position as they had anticipated.
  • They received a referral from a reliable source and are in the interview process with that person.
  • They already hired someone and have not removed their ad.
  • They are backed up in reviewing the responses and are slow in replying.

Replying to job ads is the most difficult way to get hired. It is more risky for an employer to hire someone they know nothing about than it is to hire based on a referral from a reliable source. That is why it is essential that you make your very best impression.

Reliability and integrity are the most important attributes you can offer in the job market. If you don't have either you may find a job but won't be employed for very long. Best of luck to you in your job search!


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