[07.07.11] Personalization Matters in a Job Search [Featured]

Bad Marketing Gone Wrong – Personalization Matters in a Job Search


Excited Job SeekerI’ll admit it. There’s a war going on…right here on my desk. Specifically, it’s taking place in my in-box.

Day after day, I spent probably 30 minutes going through e-newsletters I have been “added” to without my permission, and taking the time to unsubscribe.

Then I am greeted with a message, “Please don’t go! Tell us why you are leaving.”

Really? Do you ACTUALLY have to ask???

Some person in some marketing department somewhere probably purchased a “list” and gleefully added a whole passel of e-mail addresses, thinking that they hit paydirt.

But what is really happening?

The lack of targeted focus and ultimately, refining the prospects that they are adding to their database is really going to end up being quantity, not quality.

What kind of database does the company really have when 90% of the contacts have never bought from that company, and if asked, would never do so in the future???

Okay, now that I have gotten this rant off my chest, this same lesson can be applied to your job search. Let’s take LinkedIn connections…do you see where I am going here?

What use is a giant network of people that you have “added” to put another notch in your belt and feel “loved” by countless connections, when in fact, they have no idea who you are and wouldn’t be too motivated to act on your behalf during your job search? People help others they KNOW and have a meaningful rapport with…not complete strangers who really just want to use you.


What use is a list of recruiters you blast your resume out to when they have never interacted with you before…and don’t know you from boo?

My point being is that the tide has turned. Mass marketing in any context without any attempt to qualify and understand your target audience is entering the realm of dinosaurs. We are all getting over-dosed on information coming our way, and as a result, are getting more sophisticated about how we want to be communicated to either via phone, e-mail, web or via print.

Clicking “send” without doing the proper legwork and qualification really is one thing, and one thing only: LAZY.

And you know what my attitude is? FINE. If you don’t take the time to find out about me and what I want and how we might build a meaningful relationship together, then what you are really telling me is you don’t care about me. You just want the opportunity to market to me. Or worse…use me.

In order to earn that opportunity, you have to build my trust and buy-in first…and the only way you can do that is by taking the time to know me first.

So don’t be lazy in your job search or any other marketing campaign…take the time to build those relationships…that’s where the real paydirt is!

[This article was originally posted on an earlier date]

Dawn Rasmussen is the chief resume designer and president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services.

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Dawn Rasmussen

Dawn Rasmussen is president of Portland, Oregon-based Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, which provides resume, cover letter, and job searching assistance.


  1. Very true—a resume may come off cold without an inkling as to who the person really is beyond the thought out document. Many employers are resorting to Google to find out more about potential employees, since the Web has lent itself to countless information. Make sure your Google search displays your correct identity and information. Sites like Vizibility can help you keep your image up to par, allowing users to take control of their image by creating a customized SearchMe link filled with their top five verified search results. This SearchMe link can be placed on resumes, business cards, etc

  2. While I do agree with this article… it sort of irritates me from another angle. I spend a long time figuring out exactly how to ask people what I would like and when I do, they seem to feel comfortable enough to add me but do not respond to me in any way. Even when I e-mail these people… it just frustrates me… especially when I invite a connection only to have them accept the request months later! Why do this? I may not be the best candidate but you can’t even take a few minutes to tell me why or even share your thoughts on something you do everyday? When I have already asked the questions?

    And I get that some people are busy and some guy they don’t know isn’t exactly top priority here… but that’s kinda the point isn’t it. So I get the point… but noone is exactly clamoring to talk to me… which is a bit of a big deal seeing as I graduated 2 years ago with my B.A. and can’t even get a job in fast food!

    We’re all hurting and we’re all getting mixed messages about work and what we SHOULD and SHOULDN’T do… so I guess the real best thing to do instead of getting mad is ask why. At least you can say you tried.

    P.S. I agree with the whole unsubscribe tirade! I hate when they ask your reason for leaving… especially when you didn’t actually sign up… but I’ll save that for another day.

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