Want to Resurrect Your Career (or Simply Find a New Job)? Stop Flinging Resumes.

by Kevin on February 23, 2012

The major media outlets love to pull on your heart strings and talk about all of the poor souls that either haven’t found work in months (or years…) and are sending out hundreds upon hundreds of resumes to job postings.

I have one question for these people: at what point do you stop and realize chucking another resume out to a random job posting isn’t working? Is it the 50th job you apply to? The 100th?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

-Albert Einstein

Newsflash: if you continue to fling resumes at random job postings or random human resources departments, you will enjoy the same success you saw with the other applications.

It won’t work.

And it shouldn’t! What are you bringing to the table that every other random Joe on the street who sends in a resume doesn’t bring? Absolutely nothing. Employers don’t want that, and if they did you probably wouldn’t want to work for them.

What Do Employers Want?

Employers want skilled individuals that can hit the ground running and make an immediate impact for their organization. They want hard workers that will be dedicated to the team. They’re not looking for someone who can “eventually learn what they need”. (This is a common misconception among junior level candidates: they want premium pay because career services tells them their expensive degree was worth it, but they have no experience in the field.)

It can be hard to break into an industry whether you are just graduating or looking to change fields. So how do you get noticed?

How to Stand Out to Employers

Standing out to employers doesn’t really require a huge change in behavior. You just have to be better than average. Here are a few tips.

Build a network

The easiest way to stand out to an employer is to let someone from within the company recommend you for an opening (or for an opening to be created for you). You skip the resume pile and online application. Your conversations are over lunch or drinks, face-to-face with either someone on the team or the hiring manager.

Get on LinkedIn

In line with building your network, there is literally no excuse for not being on LinkedIn. And not just on LinkedIn, but with a detailed profile that provides a lot of impact for a hiring manager that might find your information. This connects with the above point: the more people you know, the more likely it is you’ll be put in touch with a hiring manager. The more recommendations you have from other professionals, the more likely it is you get noticed. You’ve probably spent a lot of time on Facebook — spend more time on LinkedIn if you are serious about your job search.

Work with an agent

If you’re still having trouble finding that next job, consider working with an agent. Just like if you were having trouble finding a home you would work with a real estate agent to brings potential deals to you… the same is true of the job market. A well recommended recruiter with great connections can serve as a great extension to your professional network that you’re building. (And they’re probably connected well on LinkedIn, which extends your network there as well.)

Work freelance or contract

Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith or put in some extra hours. Doing side work within your industry while maintaining your current position can provide you invaluable experience that you can leverage into your next job. Working a contract job after hours can lead to a full-time offer from the company or at the very least a reference or referral for the next gig.

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