As much as I can enjoy the connectivity of business social media, it can be heart wrenching to read the posts from connections who are currently seeking work. They generally all start the same way…”I have sent out hundreds of resumes…”
The concept of job seeking being a numbers game used to be a tried-and-true concept. If you fill out so many applications or send out so many resumes, then you increase your odds of landing the job you want. It is similar to the old sales concept of making contacts. More calls made will mean more sales. Successful salespeople, however, have found this concept to be less valid than ever.
The world of sales has evolved from that statistical concept to focus more on the value of the contact. Questions such as “do you know someone on the inside” or “did you previously collaborate with a person there” are more valid concepts when evaluating sales lead progress, than how many business cards you handed out.
Job seeking has evolved similarly for the person looking for new employment. Thinking back to those social media posts, if sending out hundreds of resumes was an effective methodology towards employment, then they would be announcing a new job rather than another month of being out of work. I know this can be a tough concept shift, because if you are mass submitting resumes, you are likely to be unemployed. When you are out of work, hitting the send button can provide you with comfort that you have been productive.
There is a difference, however, between activity and productivity. Sending out blind and usually generic resumes, based on a giant sweep on all the job boards, counts as activity. It makes you feel busy and perhaps even overwhelmed because all of this sending (and keeping track of what you sent) can be very time consuming and even exhausting. You could, however, repurpose some of this activity time towards productive work that will actually bring you closer to the position you are seeking. An example would be customized resumes that incorporate company research and a strategic match of your skill set to the requirements written in the job posting.
When I speak to job seekers who have taken the mass sending approach, I find that they have often dumped an important document in the process…the beneficial cover letter. A cover letter should be included with your resume submission, as this document provides you with an even better opportunity to show that you have spent the time researching the company and the role. Don’t cut corners with the cover letter.
Another area that often gets its time reduced (or not even started) when taking a mass approach is networking. Every position that you apply for should come with some attempt to network. You can do this the old-fashioned way via industry or professional associations, school alumni groups. job fairs, etc., or take the modern approach by using professional social media to reach out. Connecting with former employees of the targeted company can provide you with inside information on culture and overall work environment. Current employees can give you not only hard-to-find intelligence on the position and process but may even result in you having an advocate for your hiring within the company.
You can also draw positive attention by your activity on business social media. If you are a professional or management level individual, liking posts, making comments, following others (including companies you are seeking employment with), and creating your own content will get you noticed by others. These people may range from those in your industry to recruiters who are seeking talent for their open positions. You can get yourself started by following RochesterJobs.com on social media and then take it from there. All of this time spent is much more likely to lead to success than sending your documents to every position you see posted in which you are even remotely interested.
You can also repurpose some of the time you are spending on sending out resumes to reaching out to your current contacts. This can be former co-workers, classmates, etc. and let them know that you are seeking work and can use any leads that they can pass on. You will probably find that these people will only send you quality leads where they feel you will be very successful. This outreach can also be valuable as a source of support for you during this very trying and stressful time.
Maximizing the value of your job search time is much more important than the quantity of your physical activity. Place your focus on positions that are good fits, and you will likely draw interest based on your qualifications. Then, go network and market yourself in a way that will cause the prospective employer to be attracted to your candidacy.
As always, best of luck in your job search!
The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
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