Happy Saturday Reader. It is a strange time in the economy. And if you are in job search mode, it can feel uncertain and scary. A senior client recently expressed discouragement from seeing 200+ applicants for a role he thought was a good fit. And you may see career advice that says to ignore job postings entirely.
First, do not be put off by a large number of applicants
The number of applicants should not be the factor that determines whether you apply for a posting.
For more experienced, senior, and specialized roles, the 80/20 rule applies. Even 95/5. Only a small percentage of the applicants are truly going to be interesting to the hiring company.
Most of the applicants aren’t a match. Most are over-relying on a spray-and-pray approach to their “search.”
I don’t want that to be you. I don’t want you to waste your time and energy. We want results.
Second, job postings ARE a legitimate channel for career opportunities
Blanket advice on this topic is wrong. The trick is that applying to job postings will work better for some than others.
There are industries, roles and titles where people who are already in those fields can do very well indeed with job postings.
There are pockets of demand where there's enough supply, and postings work great.
Candidates with matching job titles, strong brands attached to their experience and a great trajectory have an advantage.
And the selective, targeted approach to postings with strong materials and a polished and compelling LinkedIn profile works.
If, when you begin your job search, you see an abundance of fresh and interesting postings that you know you are a strong candidate for, then that’s a signal to start there. If the opposite is true, that’s a signal to double down on networks and targeted approaches.
So, what should you do to best optimize your job application activity?
1/ Be selective - is this a compelling opportunity, and are you a good match? You do NOT need to match all of the requirements (companies are often looking for a unicorn). There should, however, be experience and expertise that you bring that’s central to the role's priorities. Use the 70% rule.
2/ Apply strongly - in some cases, a tailored resume. And I advocate for a “why you” message that hits the key target outcomes of the role. If you are going to apply, do it really well. Additionally, make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished and compelling and on-target. And add the tactic below …
3/ Send a follow LinkedIn message or email to the hiring manager or recruiter - express your keen interest and highlight one or two areas of fit. Respect their process while using the message to bring your profile to their attention. (Tip: when a recruiter has hundreds of applicants to wade through and receives a polite and helpful message from someone who appears to be a fit, that person will likely get more attention.)
Go beyond job postings with a proactive, multi-channel approach
Postings, in most cases, SHOULD NOT be the only channel to opportunities. This is a passive approach with greater risk, fewer opportunities, and the most competition. The risk is greater for those people making significant pivots, with non-standard backgrounds, or in job/industry areas with fewer opportunities. So, be sure to …
4/ Leverage other channels - cultivate the relevant recruitment firms. Develop and reach out to your network. Research and target specific organizations.
Job postings only represent a fraction of the opportunities available in the market. For optimum results, be proactive, strategic, and intentional in your efforts. Even better, create in advance the career capital, profile, and network power that generates a stream of ongoing opportunities for you.
I will write more about these in a future article.
Until next week,
CEO & Chief Career Strategist - Bold Career