Dear Job Seeker: is your process flawed?

When it comes to process, how you’re applying matters

Have you ever considered, that maybe the problem isn’t that there are so many people applying for jobs?  Maybe the problem is actually how we’re applying for those jobs? Could it be you’re working with a flawed process?

I don’t know about you, but if I see one more email that goes along the lines of:

I WILL SCREAM!!!

How’s your hit-rate?

Job Hunt To-do list.  1 - wish upon a shooting star.  2 - throw pennies into a fountain.  3 - break a wishbone.  4 - find a four-leaf clover.  5 - befriend a leprechaun.

Are you using the scattergun approach? How many emails do you send, and applications do you make before you get a positive opportunity to ‘have a chat’? Do you get a 1% hit rate? Maybe 5%? My guess is its pretty low.

Maybe you’ve applied for hundreds of jobs? Maybe thousands? And you haven’t even gotten one interview yet.

You put it down to rising unemployment. There’s a pandemic going on. They say there’s a recession. Not many jobs going, right??? 

Dare I suggest that your process is flawed? That when it comes to your approach – you’re doing it wrong? HOW you’re applying matters! And guess what, it’s not even your fault. 

Let me explain.

The method is madness

Career advisers tell you the above method is what you must do. 

Hell, most of what’s on Google tells you the same thing. 

Send your CV and a covering email/letter about why they should look at you (or hire you if possible). Highlight your skills, your experience and your hobbies to show what a great rounded person you’d be.

My question to you is … why would you put up with this method? Why accept such a high rejection rate for that optimistic “yes please” that may or may never come?

If you ran a business the same way you’re approaching getting a possible job, you’d be one of the 33% of businesses who never make it to two years. 

As business owners we take risks all the time – but generally, they’re calculated risks that are more likely to result in a positive rather than a negative outcome. And if the result is unfavourable, we generally change what we did (their method) to improve the outcome. This is pretty much business in a nutshell – continual trial and error and improvements.

And yet, as a job seeker, you want us as business owners to choose your application from among the hundreds of others that begin EXACTLY the same way? Sorry but that would make me a crazy businessman! 

What you’re sending me tells me two things: 

  1. You’re using a flawed process. It implies to me, that you’re not learning from failure (or you’re okay with continual failure) so why would I take the risk of employing you if you’re using this flawed approach to get a job? If this is what you accept for yourself (on repeat), then this is likely how you’d do your job for me.
  2. You’re not making any increased effort to help employers employ you. If you can’t adapt your efforts to help employers employ you, then you won’t make any effort to help that potential employer’s customer buy from your potential employer too.

What those outcomes are really telling you

If you’re using something like the above method to try and get a job interview, and you’re either not getting a callback, or getting a rejection … then that’s telling you something (other than the obvious no thanks). And if you’re aware of what you’re being told, you can learn and change what you’re doing to hopefully get a better outcome next time.

Here’s what you’re being told every time you get a rejection or are ghosted:

  • It’s not the number of applications you send out that dictates whether you end up getting a job. Sending more applications won’t improve your strike rate. It’s about quality, not quantity.
e - "I pruned a tree once, so technically I'm allowed to put 'branch manager' on my resume"
  • It’s not the economy that decides how many jobs are available either. Recession or not. Pandemic or not – there are always jobs for the right people.
  • It’s not relevant whether there is or isn’t a job position currently available.  Businesses are never not looking for good employees (even if the website says they’re not looking). A good employer will always find a way to ‘get you’ onboard if you’re a great looking potential employee. 

Meme - "According to your LinkedIn profile you're a focused, disciplined achiever.  According to your Facebook photos you love Jack Daniels and are pretty comfortable with your body"
  • A business owners’ time is precious. We receive cold call applications frequently – yours isn’t the only one! We have to deal with every email we receive and if your email looks like everyone else’s… AND … even worse, you haven’t shown ANY effort to personalise your application for the business you applied to, we’re not interested and you’ve wasted some of our precious time.

So if you get ghosted or a polite rejection response, its because ultimately we feel you’re not good enough to make the effort to make a position for you.

Think about this for a second. I mean really think about this for a solid minute!!  Being ghosted or rejected means:

Why should we make an effort to offer you a position if you can’t make an effort to help us employ you?? We won’t!!

Brydon davidson – infinite possibilities

Do yourself and potential employers a favour and change your approach, PLEASE!! 

Here’s how!

Make an effort to help potential employers employ you

Any potential employer runs a business. That business offers something to its customers. Everyone that works in that business – employee or contractor or owner – should be helping the customer to buy from that business. 

That means: 

  • knowing what’s important to the customer
  • showing that customer how that business’s services/products help them with whatever problem they want to be solved
  • the more a business can help its customers to buy from it, the better the business will be

If you want to work for such a business, then show that business owner how you can help them!

Sending out email after email to business after business saying pick me, without helping that business owner to understand why they should pick you, is NOT showing any business owner how you can help them. 

We’re not that interested in your experience and qualifications and hobbies UNTIL you show you’re interested in how those amazing attributes and skills will make our business and our customers experience with us, even more awesome!

If you want to get a potential employer’s attention … if you want to stand out … do your research!

Email us with some evidence that you GET US.

Try saying something like this instead: 

Showing an interest in us is much more likely to get you in our door.

Try it and see how you go. What have you got to lose? If you make the effort to help potential employers employ you, I know potential employers will be more likely to give you a shot. 

One last thought

For those rare occasions your standard approach does get you in the front door (i.e. you didn’t do your research and you didn’t provide evidence you ‘get them’), I would seriously question if you want a job with that employer! I’d suggest it’s highly likely it’s just a job where they need a bum on a seat and anyone will do. That may be fine if that’s what you want … but why work for someone who doesn’t care who you are, just to pay the bills? 

Be brave! Hold out to work for someone you really like, someone you can learn from, somewhere that’s interesting and useful for your future career goals. 

Good luck!

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