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DIY Job Search – Part II

July 31st, 2006

Let me match the five things I listed on Friday to five things I should have done – each of these points coincide with the point below (in other words, “first” here matches “first” on Friday’s post, etc.):

First – my resume was bad. While I had some people check it out, these were not people trained in resume development. I didn’t want to get professional help because I knew how to navigate Microsoft Word and I am a smart guy – I could figure it out on my own – gosh, I’ve read enough articles on how to do it! What I didn’t realize was that a resume expert does more than cool formatting. If I had professional resume help early on I would have had a set of resumes and cover letters from the beginning that would have got me into more interviews. I was never getting to the interview stage because my resume sucked.

Second – my job board strategy was incomplete. There were certain criteria in my profiles that I may have not completed (for privacy reasons) – and hiring managers and recruiters were looking me over. I should have spent more time assessing those questions and answering them completely. I now realize that recruiters and HR search on candidates by what their profiles are, and then go look at the resume. I thought my resume would get me the interview, but no one was even getting that far.

Third – I put too much trust in the recruiters. One huge recruiting firm had me believing I’d have a job by the time I got back to my car – sign this paper, here are the benefits you’ll be getting, etc. When I called back the next week the recruiter didn’t even remember my name! As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite recruiter said “you’ll find a job for yourself before I find one for you.” It was then that I began to understand the nature of my relationship with recruiters. Even though I reached out to 29 recruiters I had not one looking for a job for me. My background was too general, while they were looking to fill very specific roles. It is critical to understand how valuable you are to a recruiter – if you are not valuable then don’t spend too much time chasing them!

Fourth – I relied completely on their internal systems and ignored the idea of networking into the back door. I’ve heard that you can’t get around their formal posting process. Cool – post your resume. But, find someone that works there and network your way in. Getting an internal endorsement to accompany your application will go a long ways! Even if it doesn’t work for a particular application, you will now have contacts in that company that may play out later.

Fifth – My metrics for success were flawed. I was measuring the wrong thing – number of jobs I applied to. According to the “what color is your parachute” book, I’d need to send out almost 1,500 resumes before I got a job. There is a better way!

So that’s what I did wrong. My advice in a nutshell:

1. learn to network and do it at least 60% of your job search time. If you want a quick 20 minute primer listen to this podcast interview: Never Eat Alone Author Keith Ferrazi
2. Get professional help. You can get it for free or you can pay for it – depending on your needs and urgency.

I hope this gives you an idea of how NOT to go about you job search – even if you do like to Do It Yourself.

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