ANSWERING ADS

The sources of ads for mid career jobs have diminished. Nevertheless, the best sources are still in use and are the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and your nearest major metropolitan newspaper. However, even these sources usually have considerably fewer ads today than a decade ago. Another useful source is the National Ad
Search Weekly, which compiles advertised jobs from newspapers and other sources across the country. Particularly promising, it’s in some libraries, particularly larger city and college libraries. Its Web site is
worth looking at: national ad search.com. It offers a free introductory offer, which you may find worth trying. Exec-U-Net is also a good source of advertised management jobs, for a fee. This company also conducts mini workshops in major cities. Attend one and see if you think using the service could be useful.

Analyze an ad’s requirements carefully. Emphasize your experience that matches these requirements. A letter in which the candidate refers to the job requirements is a welcome relief to a manual screener and is more likely to be selected for the next level of screening.This format is highly recommended because it facilitates the screener’s
job although it won’t help when screening is done by computer, which is happening much more frequently. Sending a resume along with this two-column letter is optional. If you choose to reply with just a conventional letter and resume, at least use a colored pencil to highlight your experience that matches the job’s requirements. It’s
not uncommon for an ad to get 200, 500, or even more replies. The screening process is basically the same as that described for executive recruiters.

Responses to ads are screened initially, when done manually, by a junior HR person whose task is to see how well the resume and letter match a list of requirements. This matching process is quite subject to error because it requires the screener to find and interpret the relevant experience. It’s also an assignment that’s hard for the
screener to concentrate on over the time normally required. The two column letter may be a welcome relief for the screener and may be more likely to be put in the “for-further-review” pile.

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