Drop That 'Cell-U-Light' to Travel Faster in the Marketplace

As I write this, I'm not too sure the editor is going to accept the title, but I assure you, this article has nothing to do with weight – except for the seven ounces of your cellular phone in your pocket. If you find yourself lamenting your difficulty in finding a job, you might be spending too much time under "cell-u-light."

I'll admit, this is a late discovery for me, but I want to share it with you as my self-imposed odyssey continues in the job market. I want to tell that young and positive group of millennials, as well as we market veterans who may be getting discouraged: Don't be. You just may have to drop some cell-u-light to get discovered.

In one of my past articles, I mentioned I had more than 80 of my job applications rejected. If you read my bio, you'll see that I started my own little company to pay the rent. I may be at the end of the Baby Boomer generation, but I am nowhere near done in the job market. I only share that because I want you to have some background in hopes that you younger ones who run your cellphones like high-tech computers won't figure this article is just another retro-lecture from an old man – it's not. It's about a secret I just discovered in the midst of my now 100+ rejections. Yep – I have broken 100 rejections. So what?

My little company was/is doing all right, but what could I do differently to reach the possibilities I've missed?

The Value of Person-to-Person Communication

It came to me that I needed to try something drastic. So I used my cellphone – as a telephone. Not as an app machine, a bridge, or a social media sharing tool, but as a telephone. I began to make calls. I learned more about the companies I wanted to work with from customer support. I even got brazen enough to ask for key recruiter and HR names.

From there, I introduced myself. I talked to a woman named June who was a recruiter for an insurance company that needed a writer. I didn't get the position, but June was honest with me, and I made a friend and a contact. Recruiters are harried, but they are people, too, and they will listen.

At an educational company, I talked to Ilene. I'm pretty sure she likes cats and dogs and life in general, and she got me past the gatekeepers of a difficult application process.

In all cases, we spoke on the phone. We spoke as people. We communicated in the few minutes that we had. We talked about everything from the job I was pursuing to the stresses of population programs and children at home.

What does this mean? Nothing, except that I'm happy to share that I had two interview offers and four requests to submit more information in various fields related to my skill set – all in just one week!

That's not bragging – honest! It may just mean that my rejection number will increase by four or six. That's okay. My little business is doing alright. I will carry on writing books and articles for great online journals like this one.

It also means that I "dropped the cell-u-light" and saw great results. I stopped looking at the phone and the computer as ways to get a job and started looking at people and what they need and what they dream about. I employed the ancient art of person-to-person communication. My telephone was a – well, a telephone. When I used it as such, the invitations came.

Regardless of how it turns out, I could not be happier. A cellphone is not an answer, but a tool. I dropped some of the weight of communicating through programs and went back to communicating as a person. Social media and digital connectivity are nice, but they can dampen the real human experience.

Social media platforms come and go. They only tell one side of any story: yours. I'm encouraging all of you to listen and learn. Get out there and meet real recruiters in real life. Use your phone to call Uber or Lyft or a cab to go from place to place on your odyssey – but use your spirit and skills to call on people who hire.

So, my "weight loss" advice? Put your smart face in the yellow sun instead of the blue-screen backwash. I can tell you that I certainly feel lighter for leaving the 'cell-u-light' behind.

And it's not even summer yet, and there is no pocket in my swimsuit for a cellphone ...

Dr. Thomas Eaton serves as a project coordinator and lead writing associate for Empathinc: A Public Writing Center.