Thursday, April 1, 2010

10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke

By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell

In celebration of April Fool’s Day, I was asked by my fellow bloggers with the Career Collective to address foolish job search tactics. However, it’s hard to write something funny when what you’re seeing is no joke. We’ve got 15 million job seeker right now. I’d argue more than 70% of them are conducting a weak job search. I guess the good news is, if you are reading this, you can avoid the lame job search efforts below and get an edge on your competition. Here are 10 job search tactics that get you nowhere…FAST. If you are guilty of any of these, let’s talk.

#1 – Spending an hour each day tweaking your resume. FACT: Resumes don’t get you hired – people do. Your resume needs to be formatted logically, using a clean-line font, and presents the facts (ie. quantifiable accomplishments) in an easy-to-read fashion. If you can’t do this yourself, stop wasting time tweaking it and making it worse. Get some help and start focusing on the high-payoff activities like meeting people you can actually give the resume to.

#2 – Applying to jobs on-line that don’t list the employer’s name or let you apply at their company website. Understand that without the company name, you have no idea what they are all about. You can’t tailor your cover letter to speak to their needs. In short, you can’t do anything to increase the chances you get a call. Most of these are jobs being posted by recruiters or headhunters. Thus, you are better off seeing which agency is posting the job, picking up the phone and trying to land an appointment to go visit them to share your credentials in-person. That way, they might choose to represent you. Recruiters sift through 1000s of applicants. If you want to stick in their mind, find a way to connect with them live. Submitting a generic application to one of their job postings is like being a needle in a haystack – unless you are super shiny, they won’t see you.

#3 – Playing the ‘numbers game’ by applying to as many jobs as you can in one sitting (even if you aren’t fully qualified for the position), and then further ensuring you’ll never get called by including a boring ‘all about me’ cover letter. Did you know? Hiring managers choose a candidate based on three primary qualities, in this order:

A) Would your personality fit in this organization and for this position?

B) Do you have the skills and ability to do the job?

C) Do you have the experience?

Notice that experience is 3rd on the hiring priority list. When you apply blindly to jobs, you get absolutely no shot at showcasing your professional personality or your transferable skills. All you get to do is present your experience – just like the other 100,000 people who applied online. Guess who gets the phone call? The person who got their resume walked in the door by someone who works at the company where the person said, “He/she is really nice (personality) and I know they can do the job (skills).” See why ’spray and pray’ job searching doesn’t work?

Moreover, if you are sending a generic cover letter that starts with, “I’m applying for your XYZ position and I think I’m a great candidate because,” then you are putting yourself in the ‘no’ pile. Companies don’t want to hear about you, they want to hear about themselves. (See the end of this post to get FREE video that explains the 3 things they want to hear.)

#4 – Submitting online your credentials to a recruiters and then sitting back and waiting for a call. See #2 above to reconfirm why a recruiter is not going to call you. You can also read this article on Why HR Just Isn’t That Into You.

#5 – Surfing the net and reading career advice articles but not bothering to apply what you read. Okay, so I’m glad you’ve come to our site because we do have over 40 proven, approved experts giving some of the best career advice available right now. But let’s be honest, what’s the point of reading it if you don’t step back and ask yourself, “How can I apply this right now?” I get e-mails daily from folks asking for advice and when I e-mail them some ideas, they write back, “Ya, I read that online somewhere. I guess I’ll try it.”

Read 6-10

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