Let The Receptionist Pick Your Career


Hey are you one of the many people who find job searching enormously frustrating and constantly moan that you don’t get interviews and can’t understand why because you are totally qualified for the jobs you apply to but never get a call and it’s so unfair?

You could be making an all too-common mistake in your applications and unknowingly leaving it up to the Receptionists out there to decide your fate. If you are making this mistake that’s resulting in no phone calls and interviews, I have to warn you ahead of time the fault is yours and yours alone for your lack of success. Oh I know it would be so much nicer to have me sympathize along with you over a soothing cup of hot tea about the injustice of the whole process. Sorry.

Okay so what error am I referring to you might be wondering. It’s an old one; one I’ve gone over time and time again but keeps being repeated time and time again. See if you can pick up the glaring mistake in this classic resume blunder to be found right at the top of the resume just under the name and contact information. It reads,

Objective: To get a full-time job where I can use my skills, grow with the company and learn new things.

Did you spot the mistake? What’s the big problem you might say? After all, the person wants to work full-time and that’s good, in a job where they can use their skills, stay with the company and learn new things. And the problem is?

I really hope you aren’t seriously wondering what the big deal is but unfortunately there will be many that can’t spot the glaring problem. Now remember they feel totally qualified for this job they have in mind when they sent off their resume. So let me ask you this question: What job is it exactly the person is applying for? You can’t tell from reading the statement anymore than I can.

Next consider who is first on the list to receive your paper application you dropped off personally. It has now landed in the hands of the Receptionist for the company. He or she opens it and is now deciding to whom your application should be passed along to. It might be for Max who is doing the hiring for the Maintenance position, Sandra who is interviewing people for the Accountant vacancy, and it might be Larry who is taking applications for both the part-time and full-time Clerk positions as well as the Dispatcher job.

And so your fate is now being decided by someone who doesn’t have the interest or the skills to read your resume, determine what it is you might be applying for and forward it along to the right person. You meanwhile are at home completely qualified and feeling pretty confident about getting called in for the job. But no call is coming. The Receptionist has already passed along the other resumes to the right people who were more specific in their opening statement. Your application? It’s buried under the Home and Garden magazine in the, “I’ll get around to it soon” pile.

Don’t blame your lack of success on the poor skills of the Receptionist, bad luck or anything other than yourself. For starters, you have to quickly identify what job you are actually applying for and your qualifications have to be clearly stated so you match up well with the stated needs of the employer. Had you said you were applying for the position of Full-time Clerk, you’d find your application in the pile of other applications picked up by Larry and walked back to his office – the ones he’s going through right now in fact.

People are busy these days. Many employers are hiring fewer people and as a consequence the people who are working are busier than ever and have much to do. What they don’t have time for is sitting down and reading your entire resume and then trying to guess what job you might be qualified for first and interested in second. Ironically, this is exactly what getting a generic resume with no clear employment objective in mind communicates. It’s as if you wrote this at the top of your resume:

“Please read my resume and figure out what I’m qualified for. I can totally do it.”

Think I’m exaggerating? Actually I’m not. Figuring out what you are qualified for, making it clear, and getting the resume into the hands of the right person is your job alone. This is 2015 not 1968. Jobs are harder to come by, more people are competing with you for work and employers expect applications that are targeted and meet their stated needs.

Now you could get lucky of course. It is possible that a generic resume with vague skills and qualifications does land you an interview. It is possible but not likely when other applicants are targeting their applications specifically to the qualifications and skills the employers need and properly indicating what job they are applying for.

Sure most jobs are now on-line, emailed or faxed. Ah you think, it will by-pass the Receptionist altogether! Even if it gets to the person doing the interviewing you are still unlikely to get called unless you spell things out clearly.

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