2020 proved to be a challenging time for those looking for a job.
So here is a reminder of the three truths about the job search and six tips so you can organise your efforts accordingly and gear towards landing a great job, faster.
Truth #1 – Organisations hire people to solve problems
Truth #2 – Job searching has changed a lot (but deep down, it’s still the same)
Truth #3 – Searching for a great job is pretty much like going on a blind date
So, if you want a simple roadmap to help you land a great job faster in 2021, here it is:
- Be super clear and specific on the problem(s) you solve, for whom, how you do so, and what concrete results you can bring to the organisation you want to work for. The more you talk to the people that have those problems, the more resonance you’ll create.
- Make sure to join the dots for hiring managers. Be open, transparent, and proud of how your past connects with your present and future goals.
- Make sure your marketing materials are lean, clean, solid, engaging and inviting. Create a solid resume, an engaging cover letter and an inviting Linkedin profile that generate curiosity and engagement.
- Engage with real people, not machines. It’s way better to connect with 100 people rather than sending 100 applications.
- Learn to get comfortable with rejection. It’s part of the process. Rejection equals redirection.
- Set up a system to organise your efforts. Get to do the right things in the correct order at the right time.
With that said, let’s get into the nitty gritty when it comes to those three truths and some tips that will help you navigate job searching. Of course, for more help and bespoke one-on-one coaching sessions, you can always contact me and we can get started together on landing you a great job, faster..
Job searching truth #1 – Organisations hire people to solve problems.
Imagine your sink leaks, your toilet doesn’t flush, and you need to unblock a shower drain. If you are like me, you will probably call a plumber. Right?
Imagine you put a job opening saying that you are looking for a plumber and two people apply. The first one applies directly online, the second one comes highly recommended to you by individuals you know and trust.
Who would you choose to get the job done?
Plumber 1 via LinkedIn Easy Apply “My previous work experience allowed me to perform in under-pressure environments. I can easily adapt to any situation, and in all my jobs, I’m always looking for opportunities to learn and rapidly develop myself. I can handle responsibility, and besides my technical skills, I can also perform very well as part of a team and am also very capable of working on my own. I’m committed to my job and always look for ways to improve things and to be a part of the solution.”
Plumber 2 referred by a really good friend: “A leak in your home is a real headache. It would be best if you weren’t worrying about that or wasting time trying to fix it and getting the job only half done. I’ll make sure you can make use of the toilet in an hour, enable you to take a hot shower by the afternoon, and you’ll be able to wash tonight’s dirty dishes without worrying about ruining your new kitchen floor ever again. By tomorrow morning, you’ll be wondering if all that chaos wasn’t just a bad dream.”
Pretty obvious who you’ll choose, right?
So instead of making it challenging for the hiring manager to understand your value, try doing these two things instead:
Clarify the main problem(s) you want to solve in the future and explicitly help people visualise the results they can get if they hire you
Whether you are actively looking for a job or considering starting to look for a new one, the easiest and best strategy begins with first knowing what it is that you want to do, and secondly clearly articulating why you want to do that.
Whether you are starting to look for a new job or already sending job applications, one of the things that I often see people do is that they focus mainly on the past. “I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I worked here, I studied there”, making it difficult for one to actually join the dots or see the connection. Hiring managers are thinking: “But what does it have to do with ME? How will you help ME?”
So be super clear about the problem(s) you solve, for whom, how you do so, and what results you can bring to the organisation you want to work for. The more you talk to the people that have those problems, the more resonance you’ll create. Instead of casting a big wide-open net trying to be everything for everyone, choose one or two issues you want to solve and commit to being clear on how you can add value and focus on connecting to an organisation who has those same issues.
- I’m a digital & CRM professional with 5+ years of experience who has worked in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Russia for multinational companies and startups.
- I help multinational scaleups and startups improve the way they engage with key audiences and create recurring revenue. I do this by creating marketing campaigns that create brand awareness and convert leads, and by setting up and managing simple and solid Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) that keep your pipeline healthy and predictable.
Clarify how your past connects with your present and how these two connect with your future goals (and be proud of it!)
Most of the time, people present themselves with a spotlight shining only on their past experiences. “I’ve studied here, I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I achieved this or that”. Yet, that puts quite some pressure on hiring managers, as many times it’s not clear what the intrinsic motivation you have is. The onus is on them to try and weed out what you’re trying to say, to see if you’re a good match.
It doesn’t matter in which stage of your career you are. It doesn’t matter if your career path hasn’t developed as straight and narrow as you would have liked. Life can get messy. Right as you are, you already have plenty of life experiences, achievements, and stories to tell that others would be interested in hearing about. My job as Mr. Cover Letter is to help you tell those in ways that excite potential employers to the point they want to meet you. A much better approach is to connect the three things and explain them in simple ways that others can understand.
|Professional experience||Core Abilities||Problems|
|Achievements and responsibilities||Strengths||Results|
Job searching truth #2 – Job searching has changed a lot (but deep down, it’s still the same)
Job searching has always been determined by the technology available at the time. And things have changed a lot in the last 20 years when it comes to job searching and even with the way in which many jobs are done. I particularly have, for the majority of my professional life, always worked at jobs which most likely would have been impossible to do without the support of computers and the internet. Since the internet disrupted our lives, job hunting has moved online more and more, with a considerable increase in job boards, job opportunities, online search channels, etiquette, competition volume and so many things you need to have in order to be able to pursue a job application. Think computers, internet, smartphones, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, online profiles etc. One can get overwhelmed and easily get lost in the process. If you add globalisation and the increase in remote working due to the pandemic, you can already see the big picture where offer and demand get totally disrupted making the search and finding of talent both a challenging task for employers and job searchers alike. One thing is interesting: we still seem to like resumes, cover letters and applications, which haven’t seemed to change that much in the past two decades. Still, all of these factors put together can today mean that if 250 people applied to a job and they invite only four to six people for an interview, it means you have around a 1 to 2% chance of being invited.
However, beneath the surface of what seems to be a very complex and chaotic process, at the core, things are still the same: people hire people who they trust and who they believe will bring the best return of their investment. It is quite often the case that the person hired is not “the best” one for the job (according to their resume track record and objective achievements), but the one who is perceived as the one who can add the most value, and is more trusted.
So instead of making it challenging for the hiring manager to understand your value, try doing these two things instead:
Create simple but engaging marketing materials
The only purpose for your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile is to clearly explain your value, and pique enough curiosity so you can get invited to an interview, where you’ll be able, in person, to showcase all the multiple dimensions of your personality and expertise. These free guides can help you to drastically improve them:
- Five big mistakes you are probably making on your resume
- Five big mistakes you are probably making on your cover letter
- Five big mistakes you are probably making on your LinkedIn profile
Engage with real people, not machines
Getting a job should be easy. Right? You see an opportunity which you clearly have the requirements for, you send the job applications, you get invited, they see how competent you are and that’s it, isn’t it?
You think you can do the job, you meet all the qualifications and requirements, You put a lot of effort in conveying your intentions, and yet you get rejected. It takes a huge effort to craft a cover letter, tailor a resume for each specific job application, and lots of energy and emotional investment to put your soul out there only to, later on, be rejected.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
When people reach out to me, it hurts me to learn they’ve applied to over 200 or sometimes 400 jobs only to receive a handful of interview invitations. Many of those being even a mere 30 minute screening call from someone in HR who gives the impression that everything looks fantastic when it’s in fact not. It shouldn’t be like that.
So instead of sending job applications left and right, and waiting to see if you get picked,do this: go and connect with your future boss or colleagues.
By that, I mean: avoid recruiters and HR employees that function as Gatekeepers and instead reach out directly to hiring managers or future colleagues.
Get them to know and like you, invest in building genuine relationships and add value to them by sharing your expertise, generate trust, find out what their needs are, have them want you to help them.
A mantra that I firmly stand behind is: it will ALWAYS be more productive to connect with 100 people than to send 100 applications.
Job searching truth #3 Searching for a great job is pretty much like (blind) dating
Imagine you are on a first date with someone and after 15 minutes this person asks you to marry them because they’ve fallen deeply in love with you. How would you react? You would probably run away really, really fast, right?
That’s because there are three stages in the process of evolving relationships (Read more about that here)
If you get them wrong or you try to accelerate the steps, or even skip them, things might not turn out well. The first stage is to generate curiosity, the second stage is to generate engagement the third stage is to generate commitment. So, in the case of the first date wanting to commit without generating curiosity or engagement, it will probably lead to a failure.
Job searching is no different. First you go out and you generate curiosity. You check each other out and if you like what you see, you go out on a second date. You go to the movies, out for dinner, visit a museum or festival and you continue getting to know each other, generating excitement and over time, if you like each other more and more, you will commit to spending more time together. Looking for a job is no different
When it comes to the job market and getting shortlisted, your first impression is usually the last. For those that get off on the right foot, they might even get two chances if you get invited to a job interview, pass the screening call and move forward in the hiring process. But if you think about it, that’s still a “first impression” just with different people at different stages.
As happens many times with dating, there are quite some underlying questions that both people are asking each other, while engaging in conversation and getting to know each other:
- Does this person correspond to what they wrote on their resume and cover letter?
- Will they fit our organisational culture, team dynamics, and align with our core values?
- Do they have what it takes to solve the problems we need to solve?
- Do we like you? Do you like us?
- Can we trust each other?
- Can we do good work together?
- Can we move the needle together?
You are not powerless during a job search. So instead of making it challenging for yourself and giving up all your power to the hiring manager to understand your value, try doing these two things instead:
Get comfortable with rejection
My grandmother used to say: “He who never washes the dishes, never runs the risk of breaking them.”
It’s the same with job searching. From the moment you start looking for a job and you start applying, you run the risk of being rejected. It’s part of the process. There’s not one without the other. So what you can do is make sure you “wash the dishes” carefully and with focused intention. If you organise your efforts accordingly, most likely you will succeed faster than you think. The rule to remember is to do as few applications as possible but ones that generate the most resonance as possible.
For the times you get rejected, the invitation is to think of it with gratitude and allow yourself to continue moving forward. Your time will come and something else better will come your way. Remember that when they reject you, they are not rejecting YOU but your candidacy. They are rejecting a piece of paper. They don’t know you. They cannot know you after simply one or two hours of conversation. Hiring managers’ incapability to see your true value doesn’t reduce what and who you are. So just remember that rejection equals redirection and continue exploring until you find a great fit for you.
Do the right things, in the correct order at the right time.
- Define what you want and why you want it. Think of clear job target titles people hire for.
- Clarify your message in your marketing materials. (Resume, Cover Letter and LinkedIn profile)
- Reach out to people letting them know why you would like to connect with them
- Apply for those jobs where you have a high probability of getting shortlisted.
To your success!
Mr. Cover Letter
Looking for a job is time consuming and frustrating. Mr. Cover Letter has everything you need to clarify your story and value, engage with hiring managers and get shortlisted and land a great job, faster.
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