(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Whether you've been unemployed for six weeks, six months, or even longer, the impact on your mental health and well-being may have you at the end of your rope. You've bought the suit, polished your resume, and printed out business cards branding you as an expert in your field. You've applied to dozens of open positions, presenting your professional skills and achievements. You carry your cell phone with you wherever you go, eagerly anticipating the moment your dream employer will call you in for an interview.
But as the weeks go by, no one calls. You start to despair and feel hopeless. You wonder, why hasn't anyone responded? What am I doing wrong? How long do I have to go on being unemployed? You can blame the bad economy. You can blame the lousy job market. You can blame employers for being ignorant and overlooking your resume. You can blame yourself. Or you do something more constructive -- learn what you may be doing wrong from an expert job recruiter, change your tactics, and figure out what it takes to get hired.
To that end, I recently asked Tony Beshara, arguably America's top job recruiter and author of the new book "Unbeatable Resumes," what is the single biggest mistake people make in looking for a job. Here's what he said (You can listen to the full interview at my personal site, RicherLife.com.)
Tony Beshara: The biggest mistake people make is they keep hitting that send button, confusing activity with pro-activity. Employers are getting 120 resumes for every opportunity. A full 60 percent of the time, that resume isn't even read by the person who's going to do the hiring. It's read by somebody in HR or some third-party person who's hired to look through resumes for buzzwords and specific qualities or characteristics.
Sending a resume is not getting a job. It's one activity that might be involved in getting a job, but you've got to find a hiring authority who intends to hire somebody. You've got to call them up, explain who you are, why you are a good employee, and try to get an interview with them. Now, if you have to send a resume, then I guess you have to send a resume, but you call them before you send the resume. Then once you send the resume, call them again after you send it.
Now people come back and say, "Well. they don't even look at all of these. They've got these websites that I've got to send my resume to, and I never get any response to it." You're right! That's because you're using that silly website.
There are 7.5 million businesses in the U.S. You know what the average-size business is? Sixteen employees. Usually, people say, "Oh, it's 110." No, no, no. Sixteen people. You think those people are sitting there at the website waiting for somebody to send their resume in? No. They're doing whatever they do. They're working at an engineering firm, or design firm, or grafting firm, or manufacturing firm, or distribution firm, or whatever. They're not sitting there, waiting for you to send your resume. They just don't do that.
So you've got to pick up the phone, you've got to give them a call and say, "Robert, this is Tony. I'm a good employee. I'd like to come by and talk to you about it."