In these tough economic times, companies are getting a large number of applications from both internal and external candidates. This makes the likelihood of getting an interview extremely slim.

Recruiters and hiring managers often scan resumes looking for key words that fit their needs. Applicants whose resumes do not include those key words are often filtered out.

Solution: Be proactive to find a match
Start by researching the company. This can help determine if an employer will value your skill sets. Employers are more responsive to candidates with skills that can help them meet corporate objectives.

Solution: Network to open doors
Once you find a good match, it’s time to start networking. Find a peer who works for the target employer, then meet with that person for an exploratory conversation. Talking with an insider can help you determine whether a company’s culture will fit your personality and career ambitions. This also can help you establish an advocate within the target company, someone who can get your resume in front of a hiring manager.

My Example
I applied for multiple jobs at a mid-sized company. My background matched the requirements listed on the job posting. For jobs where I was overqualified, I expected to at least get a callback. But after two months and no calls, I tried a different approach. I found a peer who directly or indirectly knew someone who worked for the target company. I met with these individuals to review my skill sets. At the close of the meeting, I shared the job posting information and my resume with a request for an employee referral.

In many cases, the person I met with actually looked up the hiring manager and told him or her about my resume submission. As a result, I received calls from the same company that did not respond to my previous submissions. These calls turned into interviews, then job offers.

Final thoughts:
This strategy can be time-consuming and difficult when submitting large numbers of applications in a scurry to land a job. But if you are proactive and network, you also can minimize the risk that you will let the perfect job opportunity slip away.

William Uter is author of “The Career Value Book: An Effective Self-Marketing Approach And Tool For Job Seekers And College Applicants.” For more information, go to

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