As a professional resume writer in Vancouver, I was helping a university student with her resume and she lamented the fact that out of the dozens of recent online job applications she made she did not receive one single reply.
I explained to my client that employers receive hundreds, if not thousands, of online job applications everyday. She was obviously competing against thousands of other fellow job searchers. We don’t even know how employers deal with the thousands of online job applications they get everyday. Do HR personnel review each of the applications? Does the HR department employ filtering software to screen the resumes? My client told me it’s almost as if her resume landed in “black box”, never to be heard from again.
Landing a summer job
My client wasn’t looking for a high-paying permanent position, just a summer job in the retail or service sector. Here’s what I told her: if there’s a store or place of business you wanted to work at, why not just approach them with your resume in hand?
Just approach them with your resume in hand
I advised to her dress professionally, keep her resume stored in a business folder, and walk into the business establishment. Ask to speak to the store manager. I even scripted it out for her:
“Hi, my name is [ ], I wonder if I can speak to the manager on duty. I’d like to drop off my resume.”
(If the manager is away or not available, come back another day. If an employee offers to take your resume, give it to her, and then follow up by telephone to see if the store manager has received your resume.)
If the store manager is on shift, and you do get a chance to speak to her, here’s what you say:
“Hello, my name is [ ] and I’d like to drop off my resume with you. I’m looking to apply for a position as [ ].”
An opportunity to impress the manager
Quite often, the manager will take your resume. If you’re lucky, the manager might have a spare moment, and ask you a few questions about yourself. This is your opportunity to impress the manager. The manager may ask you questions such as:
- Have you ever worked in a business such as this one (e.g. clothing store, liquor sales, restaurant, etc.)
- Why are you interested in working here?
- Can you work shifts? Will you be able to work in the fall and winter seasons?
Make sure you are prepared to answer these questions, plus others they may throw your way.
The low-tech method of job searching
Here’s why I think the low-tech method of job searching works:
- You’re not competing against thousands of other applicants looking for summer work.
- If you’re luck enough to speak to the store manager, and she has time to ask you a few questions, you’ve just landed an impromptu job interview. If the store happens to be looking for someone, and you make a good impression, then you’ve just boosted your chances of landing a summer job.
- You learn to grow a thick skin, and learn something about sales. In life, many things are about selling, and in this case, you are selling your services.
Every time you encounter a store or business where you’d like to work, make a mental note of it. Remember to return, professionally-dressed with a professional resume in hand. And remember: always smile.
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