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Liz Ryan Contributor

I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. full bio →

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com

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The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Leadership 3,826 views

Am I Doing Something Wrong In My Job Search?

Liz, I’m having a terrible time finding a new job. The economy is a little better, but I can’t get to first base. Am I doing something wrong?

What are you doing?

I’m sending out resumes.

To whom?

I apply online, like the job ads tell me to.

That’s your first problem.

How so?

Have you ever heard anything back from one of those Black Hole recruiting sites?

I sometimes get an auto-responder message back. One time I got a phone screen, but after that I didn’t hear anything.

So what does that tell you?

That there are too many other qualified applicants?

Maybe, but more likely the people behind that apparatus aren’t looking at the resumes they’re receiving. They’re letting a keyword searching algorithm do their job for them. They’re screening using technology instead of actually looking at resumes or applications to see where a person has been and where he or she is going.

Yeah, but the job ad says that I have to apply for the job on the company’s Careers Site. It’s not my decision.

The great thing is that it is your decision. You can bypass the Black Hole recruiting portal completely and write to your hiring manager directly, at his or her desk.

How do I do that?

You can find that person using this technique. Then you can write a Pain Letter and attach it with one staple to your Human-Voiced Resume.

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  • Mark Skalla Mark Skalla 19 hours ago

    Superb article – not only was it well written but this is some quite insightful content from someone with some answers! Aside from my overwhelming praise – I can tell you know what you’re talking about and have clearly sat on both sides of the interviewing desk! Readers take note, this approach would have certainly caught my attention when I was the one looking to hire someone.

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