25 Mar Your job search strategies need help… here’s why.
If a career change is part of your resolution for 2018, you’re far from alone. A new year brings an air of change and the job market is crowded with hopefuls. Navigating a competitive field of opportunities is not easy, especially for mid-career job seekers. You might be turning to job hunting strategies that worked for you before, but it’s time to realize that these strategies are no longer enough. To stand out head and shoulders from the crowd, you would need diverse and proactive strategies that let hiring managers know why you are the perfect candidate.
Here’s an interesting analogy to inspire an introspection: Are you a job farmer?
Ten to twenty years ago, strategies for job search were akin to a farmer’s harvest cycle on his field:
1. We have seeds – our certificates and work experiences,
2. we sow them on the ground diligently – sending resumes to companies,
3. we pray for merciful weather conditions – hoping someone will give us a call-back,
4. we get excited at the sight of perfect rain and sunshine – getting shortlisted,
5. and we finally harvest healthy crops – an official job offer!
Such was the past, but we must acknowledge the increasingly difficult conditions now and adjust to suit them.
Here’s a reality check on what job searching is truly like today:
1. We have seeds, but they are of questionable quality – irrelevant certifications and outdated work experiences,
2. we double, triple and quadruple our efforts to sow as many seeds as we can – sending more resumes to more companies,
3. again, we pray that the weather remains on our side – hoping someone will give us a call-back,
4. we face discouragement when a typhoon hits and the sun scorches too hot – why are there no call-backs yet?
5. Finally, confusion hits. Where did I go wrong? Is the soil infertile? – the result of low-quality call-backs or no job offers.
The “farmers” approach to job search is a very passive one. For a mid-career job seeker, this strategy is bad news for your career progression. Using tried and proven methods of the past are not going to work in your favor. Here’s why:
1. We have seeds, but they are of questionable quality
- Employers look for candidates with relevant skill sets and mindsets, those that are driven to conquer new challenges.
- Your certifications and work experiences stated could be irrelevant for the position at best. At worst, they might hinder the growth of a forward-thinking organization.
2. We double, triple and quadruple our efforts to sow as many seeds as we can
- Resumes come in by the hundreds and hiring personnel would have to deal with filtering mass applications.
- Even if you beat the ATS, what impressions would you give off as a mid-career applicant? Would you look like a “me too” candidate?
3. We pray that the weather remains on our side
- You can only hope to plan and put in the work – the faithful sowing and watering of seeds –but there are many external factors that are beyond our control.
- It’s time to ask yourselves, what are the areas that are within your control and you can improve on? What are the factors on your side that you can use to your advantage?
4. We face discouragement when a typhoon hits and the sun scorches too hot
- Time is unforgiving on your resume when all you’ve done is wait and hope for the best. Unless the “climate conditions” change, you need to explore smarter ways to find jobs.
- Adjust your expectations and move on! How much time do you waste blaming external factors when things don’t go your way?
5. Finally, confusion hits. Where did I go wrong?
- When results are not ideal, we need to take immediate action. Does that mean more resumes to more companies? Think again! You need to investigate your job search processes and areas where you can improve.
You may be content with your current efforts, but you can only hope to hit jackpot with a passive approach. A job might come around, but you lose out on a greater purpose of developing the instincts of a proactive job hunter that will transform your career and make you an invaluable employee. It is time to pivot and review your strategies for job searching.