Monday, July 7, 2014

Do Something for Yourself

Last week I suggested you are wasting a lot of time if you are predominantly applying for jobs online, playing the jobs lottery and hoping your number comes up -- this is not a winning strategy by any standard! Before the advent of the internet, snail-mailing lots of resumes was no more effective, but at least back then your envelope did land on the desk of real people and those to whom it was addressed. Currently, in our time, it may be easier and less labor intensive; you can send emails faster and more widely, but that’s a panacea to make yourself feel as if you’re doing something when you aren’t, really. You do realize that by usual methods, following other people’s rules, you are in reality reaching very few real people, so all your efforts amount to 90% smoke and only 10% horsepower. This means very little return for your investment or, to use a better known idiom, you’re not getting much bang for your buck -- for my international readers, not much value for your money.
As I stated in my last blog entry, reflexively responding and submitting your resume in direct response through whatever email address is posted is a mere funnel, it doesn’t mean the hiring manager is seeing or learning about you.  No, it means it’s likely been pulled into an automated system until such time as a low-level HR staffer will sift through and select who they think is appropriate for consideration by whatever guidelines they are given. I say it over and over again – human resources is less human than ever! Regardless, this process benefits them but does little for you. Do you need any more proof that it’s time to retake more control over a process that affects you in a very personal way? If you have even one proactive bone in your body, if you want to take more initiative, then you must adapt your efforts and do something different.   
Company websites rarely list all of the available jobs, this is a fact. So don’t automatically assume there is no opportunity; likely there is not but, even if there is no job matching your skills,  there is that chance they may be on the watch for someone good to add or bring on to replace a poor performer. Many of my placements occur this way so don’t say it isn’t so, I know otherwise. However, if you do seek to respond directly to a company I suggest you do it differently, learn who is the manager of the department and try to get that email address and contact them directly. Yes, there is a chance you may be redirected to HR but at least you can say you were referred by Mr. or Ms. __________, which means you are not just another resume in the stack. The small things matter.
I suggest the same thing if you see a job description on a job portal or job search engine. If it names the company, why send your resume through the third party and why not contact the company directly, as I’ve just described above.
If you see a job / position description on a job portal or search engine with no company identified and posted in a manner as to conceal the company seeking to hire, this is for the sole reason of preventing you from going around whoever listed the job, i.e. employment agencies or a recruiting organization. Here is a simple way to learn what the actual company is; cut and paste a portion of the job description and conduct a search online using not all, but the job description and the job requirements as they are displayed, either together or separately, and see what comes up. It doesn’t work every time but often you’ll find the same description, word for word, on a company website. How can this be, you may ask? Because the job-posting folks simply cut and paste what companies give them.
For those who worry that what I suggest is too audacious, that very view would only demonstrate the depths to which some people have sunk, with so many having been reduced to shivering little Chihuahuas, unable to any longer fend for themselves without first seeking approval - or am I being too harsh? I think it’s like a bit of the movies when there is someone freaking out during a time of trouble and it takes a good slap to get them to refocus. I prefer to think of it as strident but benevolent in nature.
I can offer one more item of proof. Although I am often conducting a search on behalf of a client company, there are times I might look for targets of opportunity, looking to see what’s posted out there. I do exactly what I have described to you to reach the hiring manager to propose they consider someone I represent. Don’t doubt me, these methods work. Consider for a moment that you are a hunter and you eat only what you can kill. During good times of plenty, you eat well with relatively little effort. But when things change and become more difficult and there is less available you have a choice, adapt and adjust your efforts to meet the new circumstance – or starve.
You may have forgotten or never learned how to find a job without the crutch that is the internet; we’ve all succumbed to varying degrees, being dumbed down and atrophied, hypnotized by the screens and monitors into which we stare every day to the point at which we think that thing will get us a job. In reality it has only replaced the library and the postman. Finding a job is still about people – real people, so make an effort to meet some. 

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