It feels like every day I speak to someone who says,
“Claire, my job search isn’t going well.” To which I say, “OK, what actions are you taking?”
“I’m applying to jobs online and I never get a response.”
Radio Silence – on the outside. On the inside, I’m going, “Argh!” (bang head against the table) “What am I doing wrong?” (bang again) “I say it over and over and they don’t listen.”
Hearing that the only thing someone is doing is responding to online job postings Drives. Me. Crazy.
A friend sent me this article on resume writing today It makes a few good points about how to get noticed by applicant tracking software. It also says that today people’s careers are much less linear. Problem #1: If your career is less linear, how are you going to create a resume with just the right words to get picked up by a machine? Even a slight “shift” puts you at a disadvantage.
But really the key stat the article ignores is that you are now applying along with an exponentially larger number of people. Here’s the thing about applying online. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. It gives you the sense of having crossed off a To Do. But you are spending precious time and energy on black hole work. This article is a perfect example of how the media’s love of hype distracts us. Hype is great for their click bait and advertising. But please don’t let it be your guide to managing one of your most precious assets — your talent and career.
Phew. I get emotional.
Here is a better way:
- Start with a target. Where do you want to work, and in what job role? Specific is better; don’t be open to anything at this stage.
- Make a list of companies in the industry. (Include your current company. Often the issue is that you are not selling yourself effectively for the promotion you want).
- Figure out who the people are who would be at the right level to hire you.
- Get a list of industry groups that have events where you could meet those people.
- Craft your message and start talking to people. First, your friends and family, then your alumni network, then people you meet at these events and continue outward from there.
- Ask for exploratory meetings – these are not informational; they are you asking to introduce yourself in case they have a job in the future.
If you are feeling a bit stuck in your work, here is a challenge. Pick a target that includes a job title and at least one company. Use the company website or LinkedIn to figure out who works there at a VP or above level. Then, find a few industry groups (hint: these are often in the interests section at the bottom of a LinkedIn profile). Then yes, the next step is having a good message. But just knowing the who’s who is a big step forward.
The internet can be an incredible tool, as long as you don’t let it run the show. If you want to chat about how you are focusing (or not focusing) on your target, please click here for a complimentary session with me.