I was captivated by a CNN interview with an unemployed father named Eric Bell. Mr. Bell was laid off last spring and immediately took the shotgun approach to job hunting that I passionately argue against. As a mid-level manager with a solid employment history, Eric figured he’d simply post his resume online, send out a few hard copies, and wait for the job offers to come rolling in. They never did (and I’m here to tell you that they rarely do).
What Eric Bell found out the hard way is what Nick Corcodilos (AsktheHeadhunter.com) has been telling us for years: only about 3-4% of jobs are filled by the big online engines like Monster, The Ladders, Career Builder, and others. True, posting your resume online is an essential tool in your job search toolbox; unfortunately, most of us believe that job searching begins and ends in cyberspace.
Oh, if it were only that simple. Many of my clients wait weeks and months for that job offer to materialize, and then they come to me. I’m usually the first person to point out to them the realities of job searching in today’s complex and extremely competitive job market and that a comprehensive job search strategy is the fastest and most effective route to job search success.
In Eric Bell’s case, I was impressed that he recognized the need to change his job search strategy and hit upon the optimal approach on his own; as Eric put it in his CNN interview, he stopped taking the shotgun approach and began an active (or targeted) job search campaign.
The Active Job Search
Posting your resume online is today’s equivalent of pulling out the phone book and mailing your resume to every company in town. It’s like shooting a shotgun into the air and hoping that one of the pellets lands on your target. It is far more effective to target and research companies, understand their needs and challenges, recognize the value you offer those companies, and target your sales pitch to their exact needs.
Sure, starting up a targeted job search is more time consuming than uploading your resume, clicking a button, and instantly distributing your resume to 1000 companies. But factor in the fact that less than 5 in 100 jobs will be filled this way, and that those 5 jobs will have hundreds -if not thousands- of applicants vying for the same position, and it’s obvious which approach renders better results.
By targeting your sales pitch to select companies (preferably, companies whose views and culture you share), you will distinguish yourself among the thousands of other qualified candidates, you’ll offer value that is directly aligned with your target company’s needs, and you’ll be able to express the immediate impact that you and only can deliver. In the end, your targeted job search will net you better and faster results and land you the right job with the right company.
And isn’t that better than sitting by the phone or constantly checking your email to see what Tom, Dick, or Harry corporation might be interested in talking to you?