Ironic, isn’t it?
The Great Recession has created one of the most challenging job markets in recent history, the modern job search has changed, and job seekers are frustrated, depressed and confused. They feel down, and sometimes they feel like giving up.
But it shouldn’t be that way.
It’s not you, it’s your job search.
If you’re like most of us, you’re not great at searching for a job. But why should you be? You’ve spent years getting good at doing your job, not looking for another one!
In my new book, "You're Better Than Your Job Search", I share much of what I’ve learned about the job hunt in my decade in this business, most notably that the only sure bet is when you take control of your destiny.
Make your own luck and take a good look at these four areas of your job search.
The best way for you to maximize the effectiveness of job applications is to minimize the number of applications you make.
So even though it's tempting and easy, don't waste your time and your attention on applying to hundreds of jobs. That's a fool's errand, and, unfortunately given this economy, what many of the unsophisticated job seekers are doing. Only apply for the jobs that truly make sense for you. That way you'll leave yourself the extra time to really do the important work: crafting an awesome resume, studying in advance for the interview and doing great follow up.
"If HP had invented "sushi" they would have named it "cold, raw dead fish on rice wrapped in seaweed."
A lot of people view the resume as a chance to list all the true facts about their work history. But that reminds me of the old joke about Hewlett-Packard's very straightforward engineering culture - if they had invented "sushi" they would have named it "cold, raw dead fish on rice wrapped in seaweed." Now, that's true, but it is hardly appetizing. Similarly, your resume is advertising copy. A great resume advertises your accomplishments in a way that makes it clear what you've contributed in the past, and by implication, what you are capable of doing in the future.
The interview is not a chance to go in and have a nice fireside chat with the interviewer. Realize it for what it is: a sales call. What you're selling is your ability to do the job better than anybody else. Try this approach. Your next interview, go in, make polite small talk, and then get right to the point: "What are the three key things you are hoping to have the person in this position achieve?" Then spend your time in the interview showing them that you are the right person to achieve those three key things. Stay focused, no matter what. If your interviewer keeps diverting off track keep bringing the conversation back to those three key things.
Be polite in your persistence. There's no need to push for deadlines or decision making. But just let them know you're still interested - believe it or not, this will really set you apart. Follow up weekly, by phone or by email. But just once per week, and if you don't get a response after five weeks, well, then, the opportunity probably isn't for you.
Marc Cenedella is the founder and chief executive officer of TheLadders.com and co-author of You're Better Than Your Job Search. He is a widely recognized thought leader on job search, career management, and recruiting. Marc is frequently sought out by national media outlets and organizations for his expert commentary on employment related issues. Prior to founding TheLadders, Marc was a senior vice president at HotJobs. Marc holds an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where he was named a Baker Scholar.