We all know people who are frustrated in their job search because they’ve sent out hundreds of resumes, without getting one acknowledgment, let alone an interview. In fact, you may be enduring this type of job hunting bad luck yourself.
It’s important to step back from your job search and look at the situation candidly.
It’s not bad luck, it’s a bad job-hunting strategy. Or worse, no job-hunting strategy.
You’ll continue to suffer through your job search until you realize you must make a plan and focus on what is most impactful and “cost-effective” in order to get results. Sending out resumes in response to ads online, in the newspaper classifieds, or on job boards is usually not cost- or time-effective.
While you don’t want to overlook these techniques, you shouldn’t spend much time or rely on them as your only technique. Many times the ads are placed even though someone has already been informally chosen for the position, to fulfill equal work opportunity requirements.
You need to become that in-the-know person who’s chosen before the ad goes up.
So how should you begin your new job search?
Your new job-hunting strategy should be both more specific and more personal.
First, think about a company or sector you’re experienced in and enjoy.
Think first about things like, “who do I know that works there, or used to? Who do I know that knows someone who works there or used to? What do I know about the company?”
You’re tailoring your search to specific companies and you’ll have a slightly different approach to each. Once you learn more about the targeted companies, you’ll be able to align your resume and skills to match.
Yes, this will take more time per contact than just blanketing the market with copies of your generic resume. It’s also FAR more effective. Your ROI for time spent will be exponentially better than blanket resume-sending.
Why is a new job-hunting strategy necessary?
Unless you have very specialized, hard-to-replicate knowledge, education, or training, most employers would rather hire people they know. Failing that, they’d rather hire someone that their neighbor’s friend knows. Any connection is better than none.
It’s about trust. Put yourself in the place of the hiring manager or business owner. Wouldn’t you rather hire someone you know is responsible and can be counted on to get the work done? Wouldn’t you rather hire someone who gets along well with others?
These and other basic trust and dependability questions would go through your mind if you were on the other side of the job interview. Hiring someone you know (or someone that you are somehow connected with) is a shortcut to getting these basic yet important personal qualities and work characteristics.
You’d be surprised how many job-hunting interviewees (in general) do not have those basic essentials for success in any workplace. If the boss hires someone they don’t know at all, they may find out the person is undependable, or worse, find this out a couple of months after hiring them.
The employer would have to put up with the bad behavior, counsel the employee and hope they perform better– or fire them. Firing is time-consuming and expensive for a business, as is renewing the search for a new candidate and then training a new employee. Employers will go to any lengths to avoid this waste of time and money.
If you went to Harvard, you may deserve top consideration for a position, but your education/school may not even be noticed (your resume may never reach the hiring manager’s desk) if someone hasn’t vouched for you. Of course, part of an Ivy-League education is networking.
It’s all but impossible to come out of Harvard or another world-renowned school, without some important connections in your chosen field. The rest of us have to make our own high-level connections. What are the best ways to do this?