Is your job search strategy working?

Picture of multiple darts missing a target boardBack in high school, there was one guy that every girl knew, and all of them talked about. I should stress, this was not in a good way – he was notorious for hitting on everyone.

No sooner had he tried his luck with you, but you’d watch as he worked his way through your friends… your acquaintances… basically, he’d try his luck with any woman with a pulse.

For some reason, he’d decided that if he threw his hat in the ring enough times, sooner or later, someone would bite. Unsurprisingly, this strategy did not play out well for him.

Dating is not a numbers game.

Hopefully, we’ve all got a slightly more nuanced approach to romance these days… but his strategy’s still alive and well.

This is exactly how most people approach job search.

The evidence? Two sentences I hear over and over again:

  • I don’t get it, I’ve been applying for every job out there…
  • I’m just having no luck. 

If you’re throwing out resume after resume in the hope that some recruiter will bite, you should know that it works about as well with jobs as it does with women.

Not only will you not get the bites, but you’ll likely start losing your faith. After applying for 20, 50, 100 jobs, most people – understandably – start to despair. They start losing confidence, wondering what’s wrong with them.

But the guy in my story? He was attractive, intelligent and widely liked; there was nothing wrong with him. The only problem was his strategy.

If you’re churning out resume after resume, then that’s your problem too.

You might be the perfect candidate, you might have the ideal mix of skills, strengths and experience – but if you’re firing out 50 applications, you’re not doing any one of those applications, or yourself, justice.

To write a really good application – one that tailors you exactly to the job, one that really stands out – takes real time and effort.

Firstly, you need to call the contact and discuss the role – or, if there’s no contact, to call and get the right name. It helps to do your research; get online, talk to insiders.. Then, you need to deconstruct the ad and position description, pull out the criteria and keywords, and rework your resume to highlight these – targeting only what’s directly relevant. And that’s before you even think about writing a personalized, individually tailored cover letter…

Honestly, have you been doing that?

It’s more likely you’ve been taking the easy route; sending off the same resume for every job, and pasting a new name on your cover letter… like most people do.  In other words, you’ve been hitting on every job out there, in the hope that one will come through – and recruiters can spot it a mile off.

When vacancies routinely attract 100s of applications, you need to stand out – and you won’t do that by churning out more volume.

If you’re tired of throwing resume after resume into a big black hole, then stop doing it. You need a new job search strategy.

Whether you’re dating or job hunting – take the time to do yourself justice.

Sometimes, less really is more.  

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