You've Been Applying to Jobs All Wrong, Here's What to do Instead
June 25, 2018
“I’ve applied for countless jobs, it’s been 6 months and I haven’t found anything” HELP
This was the question that was posed to me recently while I was speaking at a conference. Unfortunately it isn’t the first time I’ve been asked the exact same thing, so I decided to create a post to help those in need. (You're welcome)
Throughout my years of recruiting, I’ve always felt job seekers were operating with a disadvantage. Not only do they lack the skills needed in today's digital economy but they also lack the strategy and finesse it takes to find a job in a landscape that's more competitive than ever. I wish I could say you're more than just a name on a application, I wish I could say your education actually mattered, I wish I could say that even if you've been busting your ass for years in your field that you would stand a chance.
But I can not.
This is the trajectory of a most job applications:
A recruiter at (insert well known company) will receive roughly 1000 resumes...................
That is then dwindled down to 50..........
Those 50 turn into 10 phone screens....
The 10 phone screens turn into 4 candidates that are brought in for on-site interviews..
1 person gets offered the job.
What happens to the other 950 people that applied for the same role you may be wondering? Most will get a rejection email, some will wait for weeks to hear something, some months, and some never hear anything back at all.
If you've been one of the 950, let me assure you it's not because you aren't qualified, or someone found something suspicious on your FB page, or that your LinkedIn profile sucks. You've just been applying to jobs ALL WRONG.
With the odds against you, how do you land that job that you’ve been coveting?
Let me show you how.
Your New Schedule
Some people never receive responses because they’re applying for jobs at the wrong time! You don’t go to a bar to look for love at 10:00 a..m. (if you do you’re definitely a creeper), similarly you shouldn't apply to jobs when no one's around. Most folks I’ve encountered either apply for jobs at night or on the weekends- arguably that’s when YOU have the most free time. However that is when recruiters are checked TF out. Your new schedule should be comprised of applying for jobs when people will actually be looking at their inboxes, and finding a way to get in front of them before they wrap up their day. I suggest applying for jobs early a.m./afternoon Mon-Thurs, using Mon-Thurs nights to practice your skills and learn about the industry, and the weekends to reset. This timing will allow you to reap better results in terms of response rates.
Get Super Targeted
Applying for just “anything” is never a good approach when trying to find where you’ll spend 40+ hours every week. Obviously if you’re looking for a job, you could prob use cash in; but the philosophy of “I’ll take whatever I can get” will have you looking for another job in 6 months. I suggest not binge applying (applying to 30+ roles at one time) and also to target 3-5 positions tops to apply to a day. Once you cut the number of applications you’re putting out, it forces you to create a prospect list of quality roles and more importantly put the necessary effort into applying for each one. Should you write a cover letter for every position you apply to? Absolutely not- however this method ensures you’re only putting effort into the things you really want.
Find A Referral
I’ll always preach about referrals, for the simple fact that it can drastically cut down interviewing time and increase your chances of actually getting in the door. The 950/1000 people that I mentioned earlier didn’t have a referral and didn’t care to find one- thus why they sit at home jobless yet again. Remember that time you really wanted to get into a party but weren’t on “the list”, but had a friend that said “Hey, they’re with me”! That’s what referrals are like in the working world. I may look at your resume or application on my own and make a judgement that you’re not a “fit" but a stamp of approval from an existing employee is enough to change my mind.
Do yourself a favor, make some friends!
Show and Tell
The best way to prove you can do a job is by showcasing your skills (luckily for you, 2020Shift has a platform that’s about to launch that does just that). If you don’t have a portfolio- get one, if you don’t have a personal website- design one. It’s hard to debate your qualifications if you find a way to show an employer that you are very capable of providing what they need. Use the job description as your guide and submit a sample of work along with your application (this can also sub as your cover letter), explaining your thought process behind what you came up with and how you can bring value to the organization.
Follow these steps and you’ll go from wondering what went wrong to being happy you got it right!
Cheers to more call-backs, interviews, and job-offers!