The tried and true method of finding a job has always been to send you resume to as many places as humanly possible while contacting as many people as possible, either directly, or through other contacts.
I like to call this approach the “let's throw as much bleep at the wall as possible and see if it sticks” approach. Tried and true? I’m not so sure about the true part.
In effect many people say “I’ll just let everyone else figure out what I am good at, how I might fit, and what I can do for an employer just by glancing at my résumé.” Then, if that’s not enough, they move on to plan B, which is “I’ll get my past employers or references to weigh in with their own descriptions of me and why they think I should be hired.”
I don't know about you but if I’m the employer doing the hiring, this approach doesn’t say to me that you’re taking responsibility for you own job search, or that you’re making sure that you’re being properly represented as a person, and an employee.
What that says to me is that you’re on a wing and a prayer. There must be a better way.
In fact, there is a better way, and the first step is to decide that you are going to be responsible for how the world sees you, how the world understands you, and where you’re going to look for a job.
You’re probably asking, “OK wise guy, how do I change how I do things?”
Well, first of all stop thinking about “looking for a job” and start thinking about finding the right match for you. Stop thinking about winning the job that happens to be in front of you, or figuring out how to answer the interview questions correctly.
Instead of relying on sending out résumés I recommend that you create your own “infomercial" -- an infomercial that really is about helping you find the right fit for you.
You see a résumé is really nothing more than a trip itinerary showing where you have been. It does a bad job of distinguishing you as a person and an employee.
As if that’s not enough of a problem, there’s the fact that there is no standardization with résumés. Each one looks and sounds unlike the next one, leaving the reader to try and interpret exactly what it tells them about the applicant -- other than where they have worked in the past.
Lastly, I have never known anyone to “under-fluff” their resume. Interviewers know this and they will usually take what's in there with a very large grain of salt.
Apart from all of these drawbacks the résumé is a pretty useful document!
So, back to the infomercial.
Your personal infomercial™ addresses the need to create a crystal-clear understanding of who you are. It summarises what you are good at, what types of people you work best with, and it makes it completely clear what you want to be doing everyday of your working life.
It’s so simple and so unambiguous that the interviewer is able to say whether or not you have the skills they need, and whether or not you are the type of person they want. There’s just no need to wade through all the other crap.
Clear and succinct. Easy to understand.
You’re thinking “OK, Jim, so how do I create my infomercial?”
Well, probably the best way (shameless plug here) is to pick up a copy of my book "How to Hire the Perfect Employer." Alternatively you can subscribe on the right hand side of the page to take advantage of the many free tips I’ll be giving you right here on my blog in the coming months.
Just promise me one thing -- that you’ll stop throwing stuff at the wall hoping for some of it to stick, and that you’ll start to think long and hard about the process of actually finding the right fit for you.