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January 18, 2018
Faster Job Search? Substance Beats Process

Most job hunters use standard methods learned from friends, books, networking groups etc. They write resumes and cover letters, contact a few recruiters, call friends to ask if they know of any suitable openings, search job posting sites and maybe some company websites.  Next, maybe send a resume to some recruiters, fill out some job applications and send a resume and cover letter via email to the companies where you filled out an application on their website.  Then, cross your fingers and keep a phone close by.


In anticipation of responses to your efforts, you might well try to formulate good answers to some of the questions you think they might ask you - such as why are you leaving your present job/why did you leave etc.  You might try to learn something about the companies where you applied and how much compensation you want should they be so lucky to have the opportunity to hire you.


This common formula or process approach to job hunting used to work fairly well, especially for people who were seeking a lateral move inside the same industry.  Today, employers are usually inundated with responses for open positions and it can almost seem as though an HR person stands at the top of a staircase clutching a fist full of resumes, drops them down the staircase and grabs five or ten out of the pile to screen and possibly contact.  This is the big Resume Lottery that requires you to have a very lucky resume to remain in the game.


To dramatically increase your chances of getting invited to interview, you should use a more modern strategically substantive approach that starts with approaching job hunting as a solvable marketing problem.  This way, you see the first challenge as how to get interviews with someone that can hire you.  You know that the hiring process is more about elimination than selection, so you ask yourself how best to avoid being eliminated while also moving forward.  


You know that your target is the hiring authority.  HR can screen you out but they can’t hire you, so you focus on the hiring authority.  You know that if you send the hiring authority a resume, it will just get funneled down to HR for screening.  You can be confident that HR will find something in your resume that will almost certainly result in it being remanded to Resume jail - there to languish along with who knows how many other unlucky souls.  So, even though you may have very good experience, a fine education, and laudable accomplishments, if you get screened out for being too old, too young, wrong degree, not enough experience at one of their biggest competitors etc. you won’t likely even get a phone call, much less an interview with the hiring authority.


Here’s what you need to do:  change your base.  IOW, find a way to get yourself evaluated on the basis of your capabilities to help the hiring authority reach her or his business financial goals faster.  Let the others try to compete on the “me too, only more and better “ experience etc.   They’ll all assume that anyone who sees their resume will take the time and effort to figure out how their background is relevant to the circumstances currently facing the hiring authority.


Of course, before that could even happen, their resume must get past the gatekeepers in HR.  Unfortunately, HR’s job is screening resumes, not evaluating how you might be able to help the hiring authority solve some of the problems they’re facing.


Now, you know what you need to do.  You just need to know the most likely- to- be effective way to accomplish that.


The best solution is to just write a letter directly to the hiring authority and tell her or him about how you could help them.  Just don’t include a resume!


Save your resume and only send it after the hiring authority requests it.


There you have it.  Leave the formula-based process to processors.  They all rely on an outdated formula of hoping to win the Resume Lottery.  You rely on making an offer to be of service to help the hiring authority reach their business financial goals faster.


Which applicant would you be most  likely to want to know more about?

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Tom Kellum is a job hunting consultant, helping people's dreams come true since 1987. He specializes in providing a personal job-landing service based on proven marketing strategies and methods. For more information, email him at careerkeysman@gmail.com.
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