As a career coach, the majority of calls that I receive are from people who are out of work and needing to get a job. I can hear the desperation in their voices, especially when they say that they have tried “everything” to find employment. They’ve sent out hundreds of resumes, sometimes a day, and spend hours searching the internet looking for employment opportunities. It turns out that they have no real focused job search, feeling that the more resumes they send, the better the odds. Often times, they do not even know who they’ve sent their resume to; they think that as long as they are sending resumes out they are “managing” their career. While there is truth in numbers - the more you send, the better your odds of getting a call- this priniciple is not necessarily applying in today’s hiring practices.
In further exploration with these potential job-seekers, it becomes apparant that they are short-sighting themselves. They feel that if they have a resume and, perhaps a cover letter, it is all that is needed to land them a job. They do not pay attention, or put thought and focus, into the content of their resume which often read like a job description. They are cookie-cutter. Without a focused job search strategy or a benefits-laden resume, you are doing yourself quite a disservice - you are wasting your time. As Enstein said, “insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.”
If this sounds like you, all is not lost. Think of the Pareto Principle, or the 80-20 Rule, which says 80% of results come from 20% of effort. Plainly, you should focus on the 20%, as that is where the results matter. If you apply this to your job search, and develop a well-thought out job search plan with focused efforts, you will move further ahead. Some of those efforts can include revising your resume to quantify job tasks and experiences; employers want benefits and ways that you can help them solve their problems. Did you bring in more clients or sales, did you save money, did you rework a more efficient system; answering these questions and adding by how much (% or $) will get an employers attention. Being more focused on certain companies that are in your area of expertise will streamline your efforts, as you can find and network with decision-makers, or people they know. Add networking events or association meetings to your list; go where these decision makers meets. You can still send out resumes (the 80%) but keep your efforts on more focused and directed efforts and you should start to see more timely results.