Recently a friend of mine applied for a job at a Washington, D.C. political advocacy group. She knew she would face stiff competition because the position was widely advertised. But she had several ins. Her husband knew a highly placed staffer there and told him my friend was pursuing the job. Also she was acquainted with a board member through a previous job; she sent him an email asking him to put in a good word. Then she sent her résumé with a peppy, detailed cover letter to the person who was listed as the contact on the job posting. She followed up with the board member and left repeated phone messages for the job posting contact. But after six weeks she’d heard nothing, not even a response saying they had gotten her materials. She finally gave up.Does this story sound familiar? It can be the most frustrating, confounding part of a job search: Getting past the company gatekeeper. You do your best to make personal contacts inside an organization, you make calls and send emails, but nevertheless, you hit a brick wall.Kathleen Brady, a New York City career coach and author of three books, including GET A JOB: 10 Steps to Career Success, says it’s one of the top two biggest challenges job seekers face.
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