Confessions of a Stalker

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

Before we started dating, I used to stalk my husband. Believe me; not all stalkers go on to marry their quarry. Most stalkers just end up with a restraining order. Luckily, my husband must have thought his stalker was cute, and things worked out in my favor.

Mind you; this was in the days pre-Facebook. I couldn’t just Google him and see what he was up to. Heck, it was even before MySpace (which dates me quite a bit!) No, I had to do things the old-fashioned way and get in my car and drive by his house to see if he was home or pick up dinner at the pizzeria where he used to work so that I could “bump into him.” I had to get on the phone and ask my girlfriends to ask his guyfriends what he was up to. I had to call his dorm room during the school year and hang up if his roommate answered. Yep, I had it bad for this guy.

Since we’ve now been happily married for over 23 years, you can conclude that I eventually wore him down. We started properly dating, then got engaged, then we were married. We have a great life together, and it only took 2-3 years of light stalking before he finally saw it my way.

I don’t recommend doing things this way, though, especially for a job search.

Yes, liking companies on social media that you’ve applied to is pretty standard. Following them in the news is actually advisable to find out what you can about them: Are they ethical? Are they doing well? Do they have new products or services you should mention if you get an interview? Sure.

But from an employer’s perspective, here’s where it starts to get creepy:

  • Calling and leaving voicemail messages multiple times a day on every member of HR’s phone line
  • Trying to connect on LinkedIn with every executive and member of the board
  • Showing up in the lobby with no appointment or interview scheduled
  • Submitting multiple resumes for the same job position
  • Hounding the President’s Executive Assistant to find out if you’ll be getting an interview
  • Posting to the organization’s social media accounts letting them know how desperate you are for a job

 These tactics do NOT work. You brand yourself a looney by employing these methods, and you can even get blocked in the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), meaning the organization will not hire you for this or any future job.

So what is the eager applicant to do? I would recommend the following for the best chance at the job of your dreams:

  • Before you apply, personalize your resume and cover letter (Yes, you do need a cover letter!) to the job description and organization. Do not lie (or even stretch the truth) but make sure your resume shows a close match to the job requirements. Your cover letter is where you can gush about your enthusiasm for the job — in a professional way.
  • If you already have contacts in your network (LinkedIn or in-person) who work at the company, reach out to find out what they think about the company and ask if they would mind referring you for the position. Even if you’re not a 100% match for the job description, internal referrals can carry a great deal of weight and can keep you in the running. In some organizations, internal referrals can even automatically advance you to the interview phase.
  • If the job posting has an expiration date, you could call the recruiter for the position once after the expiration to find out if they could let you know if you are being considered for the position. Don’t be surprised if you don’t receive a return call, though; some job postings have thousands of applicants.
  • Be patient and apply elsewhere, too. Don’t focus on one position so much that you miss other great opportunities. Do track all of the jobs for which you apply, though, so that you don’t accidentally apply for the same one twice.

 Don’t be a stalker; fixating on one role can leave you disappointed. I’m married to the love of my life despite my stalking, not because of it, and stalking has no place in the professional world at all.