Many people tell me they can't seem to get traction in their job search. They just can't seem to win interviews. When I ask them to describe how they search, most tell me they spend a lot of time searching job boards. When they ask me for help, I always start by reviewing their resume so I can get an understanding of their background and see if the resume itself may be causing problems. Then we talk about search tactics, mostly about the "who you know" principle and a lot about how to meet the right "who you don't know" people.
The most successful job seekers today realize that getting a new job today is far different than years ago. There are many people seeking fewer openings. The web makes it simple to apply online so everyone is doing it, sometimes without considering the requirements for the positions they are applying for. That floods the job market causing the supply of applicants to be far more than the demand for them. If you fit this behavior model perhaps it's time to try a new approach.
* Applying Online is Rarely Effective – For most professionals, I find that applying for jobs online is only slightly more effective than applying for jobs advertised in newspapers! Far less than 2% of jobs are found on job boards. The most successful job seekers I know practice a more productive search method.
They speak to hiring managers for jobs they are interested in, before they apply, to determine what problem needs to be resolved and to find out what critical skills the successful candidate must have.
In the conversation they are able to generate the hiring manager's interest by describing how they have resolved similar problems. Once they understand the hiring manager's pain they are able to edit their resume and cover letter to focus on needs that may not be adequately described in the job description.
The most successful people reach out and expand their network by seeking every opportunity to schmooze with anyone who may know hiring managers. For instance, they find that connecting with employees in their target companies is a very effective way of getting an interview. Companies often have an employee referral program that can earn the employee a cash award if the candidate is hired.
There are other reasons why applying online is not effective:
* Applying online doesn’t Differentiate a person from their competition. Differentiation is essential for successful marketing and is impossible if job seekers cast their resumes in concrete by posting it online job boards.
To differentiate, use Job Boards and Company Websites for identifying opportunities and vetting companies, not for applying online.
Differentiation is achieved by doing things others are not doing. Those who feel like they are making forward progress by camping on job boards are not marketing themselves well. They are simply becoming just another "one of the herd".
* Posting a resume online doesn’t allow you edit it for the requirements of specific jobs.
People who may be looking for you have specific needs and requirements. Resumes that attempt to be "one size fits all" don't work in today's job market.
Editing a resume for the needs of each opportunity is essential for success.
There are many more useful ways to spend your time than posting a resume on job boards. People become good at job seeking by practicing their interviewing skills, learning effective salary negotiation skills, and getting their base resume and cover letter into shape so that it is easy to edit them once they learn about a specific manager's 'pain'.
The takeaway is this: Use job boards judiciously. Avoid 'camping out'. Don't immediately apply to jobs you see. Learn about alternatives. Plan and budget your time on all activities you decide to employ in your search.
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