Job Hunt Woes and Wins

It continually surprises me how haphazardly most job hunters approach the job hunt!

Let me share an analogy. If you were buying a car, you'd research which manufacturer you prefer, narrow down the type of car, and then go find a suitable new or used actual car. Or, if you wanted to take on a craft as a hobby, you'd narrow down your choices and the ones you'd dabble in would likely have some commonality - perhaps requiring a sewing machine (or not requiring one!), perhaps requiring only a small investment in materials and do-dads, and then you'd select one to give a try.

And yet, when facing a job search, too many people launch a wily-nily job hunt with nary a thought of narrowing down options. It puzzles me.

I've had accomplished Operations Managers, for example, who, desperate to get out of their current positions, thought they'd apply to an Administrative Assistant job, or a Sales Rep job. Really? First of all the salary of the Admin Assist is nowhere near their current one, and secondly, without any real sales results to share (as in bringing in the bacon), their sales resume would reap them no benefits, i.e., no interviews, no offers.

It is critical to have a target. A goal. A focus. An end in mind.

Without knowing what you want - and keeping an eye on realistic expectations - your search will be long and quite likely unsuccessful. I suggest that the only way you can make an unusual change is through networking and even that's iffy.

Today's formula to a short job search is "who you know" and "what you know." To support the fact that you have the necessary credentials, you must add a context and key-word rich resume, a well-composed cover letter, and a LinkedIn profile and headline that support your other documents and continue building your "brand"; now you're on your way.

Yes, it's a lot of work, but taking the time to establish the above foundational steps will reap rewards in a shorter and more successful job search. And for those with no network to "work," a strong foundation ensures landing interviews with the resume/cover letter alone.

Besides landing interviews, going through the above process can help in yet another critical way: you can land much better initial offers. A higher starting salary and negotiation power (three or four weeks holiday to start perhaps?) is well worth the effort, don't you think?