/ Asked by Arina
I earned an MBA and a Master's in Management: Procurement and Contract Management. I have 1-3 years experience in contract management. For the past six months, I have applied to many contract management positions but with no success. My resume is professional written, and I utilize LinkedIn aggressively. Most of the time when I check the status of my application it states "Sent to recruiter for review" but nothing further than that status. I have reached out to recruiters to introduce myself and express interest in the position however, no one has responded. What options can I explore to start getting interviews? Any advice is greatly appreciated.-Thank you!
Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Depending on your location, it may be that there are relatively few contract management roles open compared to the number of qualified individuals, and that definitely makes for a tough race. With 1-3 years of experience, it could be that there are other candidates who are much more tenured within your local market, and you just aren’t making it past preliminary application reviews simply because of who else is in the talent pool along with you.

Some hiring managers may also prefer those with people-leadership experience. If you don’t yet have this, you may want to consider participating with a local non-profit, leading a team or committee, or volunteering to head up an initiative or event. Examine your background for areas where there may be gaps in experience that are holding you back, and try as best you can to remedy this, even if it means doing unpaid work for the practice (and the chance to add those skills to your resume).

Are you open to relocation? Moving to another city may be worth considering. If you still reside in the same place where you secured your degrees, I would imagine there are other grads living in the area who are also competing against you. Working elsewhere is worth exploring thoroughly, and I would search the job boards for postings in other parts of the U.S. which offer relocation assistance.

How are you utilizing LinkedIn? That can also make a difference. I would encourage you to join groups related to your intended career path, and then connect to members in locations and/or organizations where you may want to work. Let them know that you’re reaching out in order to strengthen your professional network in this industry, and once they accept, perhaps send along a brief message thanking them in advance for any advice or referrals they can provide. For job seekers, LinkedIn can be a bit tricky, because you want to maximize your circles of professional acquaintances, while also making sure that the people you are connecting to are indeed relevant to your field.

Lastly, it helps to understand where your application is going “post-submittal.” Oftentimes, applications are first reviewed by more junior recruiters, HR assistants, and the like, who are merely combing through the group for a strict combination of traits, as described by more senior members of the hiring team. This usually occurs prior to candidates being contacted by telephone.

If you aren’t making it past this step, and receiving calls from recruiters or HR professionals, two things may be going on. One is that they already have someone in mind for the role, and aren’t very seriously considering any outside contenders. The other situation is that there are areas of your background that don’t quite align with the employer’s core requirements. That means gaining experience to fill those gaps, and/or re-working your resume and LinkedIn page to more accurately reflect how your skillset and employment/educational history meet the needs of their position.

One last thing: Take a look at other Contract Managers on LinkedIn around the country, and evaluate how they describe themselves and their achievements. It might give you some new verbiage to try!
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, May 30, 2014
It sounds like you are doing all of the right things.  I would recommend reaching out to any contacts that you have at your targeted companies and request informational interviews with them.  This is a good way to get feedback on what you bring to the table and how it may or may not apply to the culture at that company.  These interviews also help to establish you as something more than a resume in a system.  If they can put a face with your name and learn a little more about your character, this could help to push you over the top.

You may also want to consider being flexible in your preferred location.  It may simply be a matter of economics not allowing companies near you to hire externally.  The more flexible you are with your preferred location, the more options with present themself to you. 
Answered by Dustin, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., on Monday, June 2, 2014
It sounds like you are doing just about everything you need to be doing so keep the head up and hang in there.

The other activity I'd encourage is focus less on reaching out to the recruiters and more on hiring managers in your particular field. While recruiters are never a bad touchpoint, hiring managers will always have more impact as they are typically the final decision maker when it comes to hiring.

Continue to aggressively use LinkedIn to build honest relationships with procurement professionals that may be able to help you. Just proceed with caution and ensure your tone in outreach inmails is honest and not too demanding. In most cases you are likely reaching out to strangers so you need to think about how you can provide value to them when building a relationship as it's a two way street.    
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