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What is the Standard Job Search Process?

The easiest way to do something isn’t always the right way to do it. Many applicants avoid the time-consuming and momentarily unpleasant activities that yield the best results. The standard (and least productive) job search looks something like this:

  1. Dust off the previous resume and add a few bullet points for the new position.
  2. Print about 500 copies of the resume and mail it to everybody possible or use an electronic resume posting service. (This option allows the applicant to apply to as many positions as possible without creating a specific resume, tailored to the specific needs of each position/company.)
  3. Wait, hope and/or pray.
  4. When that doesn’t work… Read Want Ads or look for positions online and apply to everything possible with the same resume and cover letter.
  5. Finally get an interview and muddle through the interview (because you practiced a few questions the day before the interview).
  6. Repeat the previous two steps until an employer makes an offer.
  7. Accept the offer without first researching standard salaries for the position considering the geographical location, the industry, and your experience—and thank your lucky stars you finally got something.

This old job search process is a good way to find a certain type of work. It’s basically a sure-fire technique to find a position that is at least one of the following: low-paying, entry-level, and a dead-end.

It’s not that this old job search process doesn’t work for finding a good position—it occasionally (rarely) does. Like all urban legends that feed on the desire to reap big rewards with little to no work (like the lottery), they exaggerate, spread like wildfire, and refuse to die. Have you ever noticed it’s always the “friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend” who gets great success with minimal effort? Such cases—if true—are the exception, not the rule.

Lack of introspection & research:

The introspection necessary for good resume writing requires more of the applicant than simply dusting off the old resume and adding the most recent position. Your recent work has given you new skills and experiences which should provide new insights to the importance of your previous work.

Targeting a new position requires research into many aspects; the most important of which are the skills and experience required for the position and how well you match that description. Know the demand for the position as well. Even if you’re trying to find a position just like your most recent position, you should find out if the expectations have changed and that your level of knowledge is still valuable to an employer.

Each year, a new crop of graduates armed with the most up-to-date knowledge enter the job market. Desirable candidates from other companies have similar or superior skills and experience—and now they’re all your direct competitors.

Salary research is often overlooked entirely. Recessions and changes in the global market have shifted the wages for many positions and the shift has often been toward lower pay. Recent graduates—whose new knowledge makes up for a lack of experience—are often willing to accept lower pay. This further skews the amount an employer is willing to pay. Those who have not researched the demand and salary and are unaware of the competition lose in negotiations when requesting an unrealistic salary.

Relying too heavily on the resume:

A resume can help you get your “foot in the door” for a position, but when there are too many applicants, you will be lost in the crowd. Many job seekers feel their resume is being sent to a “black hole” in the application process. So many applicants use the right keywords that they pass through the initial selection phase, but the HR worker/recruiter doesn’t have time to read them all. Frequently, your resume is not seen by a person due to these factors.

Many resumes that are read don’t make the next cut. Failing to tailor a resume and cover letter specifically to the position’s/company’s needs will fail to convince the HR worker/recruiter of your value. This is a common reason applicants are not contacted for an interview.

And the most overlooked problem of relying too heavily on a resume:

The best resume is not a substitute for meeting someone face-to-face. Even HR workers admit that the best tactic is to bypass the HR department entirely. Networking produces more than 80% of the best jobs. Instead of expecting the resume to bring opportunities, create your own opportunities by meeting decision makers. Our technique makes it easy!

Just remember…

The mass-volume, non-specific approach is a model that worked (but it still wasn’t the best process) when good positions were plentiful and qualified applicants were scarce. Those ideal conditions are now reversed; good positions are scarce and qualified applicants are plentiful. If your job search techniques are similar to the standard process, your job search is likely taking too long and yielding poor results.

An effective job search requires a new perspective. CrossRoads has created a job search technique that yields the highest possible results. For help, contact us at 317-842-8881 to schedule a consultation.