So far, I've applied for three jobs and have received one rejection. As any good job applicant will do, I followed-up with the recruitment agent who handled my application to see why I got that rejection.
I wanted to know: did I not get the job because (a) he didn't think I could do it or (b) there were other, more suitable candidates for that position?
So I e-mailed him a couple of quick questions and got a rather encouraging reply. He said I wasn't far off the mark with the skills requirements but that the client had wanted someone with significantly more experience in that specific area.
This is good news because it tells me that my job application targeting is generally accurate. However my lack of explicit communications experience might be an issue, especially when applying for more senior management roles.
Lessons for the Future
What I need to do in future applications, then, is be clearer about the fact that, while I don't have formal, job-title-based communications or relationship management experience, this is something I've actually been doing for years. After all, you can't be a good consultant, teacher, or trainer if you're not proficient at both relationship management and communications. I guess I need to explain and, preferably, demonstrate that a little better.
What I should also do is phone recruiters soon after I've submitted my application (a few days later, maybe). That might help me catch and correct any perceived shortcomings before they reach application-rejecting levels. It's also good to put a voice to the applicant who, till that time, has existed only as a chronological listing of skills and experiences on a piece of paper.
All in all, the follow-up was both encouraging and very valuable. Here's hoping I don't have to do too many more! :)