10 Bits of Job Search Advice You’ll Never Hear from People Who Actually Got Hired
Exposing the lies and revealing the truth.
Exposing the lies and revealing the truth.
Correction, we live in the platinum age of misinformation, in the diamond age of shameless self-promotion.
So when our cousin Jenny boasts on Instagram about how she landed her dream job “with a slick diploma and a smile”… while we’re melting in the ashes of hundreds of rejected applications, three things are going to happen:
1) We’re going to feel like crap
2) We’re going to wonder what we’re doing wrong
3) We’re going to wonder how cousin Jenny, the same cousin Jenny who mistook a potato for a rock last Thanksgiving, landed a job before us.
And since our social media nightmare isn’t ending anytime soon, I’m here to help cut through the noise by clearing up some pressing falsehoods about job hunting.
Why should you trust me? Because I’m the best chance you’ve got.
Heh. I’ve always wanted to say that. (Nothing’s blowing up behind me, is it?)
The truth is, I’m writing this with insider info from psychologists and career counselors who’ve dedicated their lives to helping people apply with success, earn interviews, and nail them under pressure.
So here are 10 things the experts say you’ll never hear from people who actually landed a job:
Online resume-blasting is for the birds. Statistics reveal only 2 percent of candidates who apply for jobs online are called in for interviews — and 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking!
Which means our best shot at a successful application is to find relevant people for our desired position or company, and see if you can buy them a coffee for a casual conversation (real or virtual) about how they got where they are.
After the conversation’s over, we can ask if they know anyone else we can talk to. Plant those seeds… we never know how they could blossom!
No. Just… no. LinkedIn can be our best resource for finding and making those aforementioned connections.
That doesn’t mean cold-emailing everyone on it. It means reaching out strategically, either to people with a sharp profile, or who we know or will be responsive contacts for one reason or another.
Likewise, we have to be willing to give them our time and attention, and try to add value to their lives. That’s how we expand our connections in the early stages of our job search.
This is a one-way ticket to burn-out town. Job searching for ten hours a day, seven days a week won’t improve our odds, only depress our mood. Search for a couple hours a day, with focus and concentration, and make sure to schedule breaks where you can totally separate yourself from the hustle.
Finding a job is a goal, sure. But it’s not a very good goal, mostly because it’s not in our control whether or not someone decides to hire us. That’s up to them.
The best goals are ones we can control, measure, and attain — broken down into smaller goals. In fact, the best of the best goals often don’t even mention the ultimate goal.
My advice? Set measurable goals you’re 70 percent sure you can hit. Like making a list of the top 10 businesses in our area we’d be interested in working for, and connecting with the recruiter of each on LinkedIn.
Set a goal every week. Then set three to four each day to help you hit that weekly goal. That incremental progress will motivate us toward the finish line, without psyching us out.
This isn’t a question of intelligence. The simple fact is, there’s probably a boat load of skills we don’t have…
Skills we could learn through online courses, videos, and books, all while we’re continuing to apply for jobs. Developing during the wait will make us a better candidate, and showcase our ambition during interviews.
Modesty is admirable. But during a job interview, it can sink us. Interviewers want to hear what we have to say. It’s literally why they asked us to come.
So if you want to boast your accomplishments without coming across as a narcissist, here’s something you can try:
Frame your accomplishments with “PAR” statements. That’s “Problem, Action, and Result.” Here’s how it works —
1) PROBLEM: explain a problem or challenge we’ve experienced
2) ACTION: describe an action we took to address the problem
3) RESULT: explain the result and ultimate effect of our efforts
Everyone gets nervous for moments that matter to them. Everyone. It’s our body’s way of telling us we’re serious and dedicated. But in the moments leading up to an interview, those nerves can get us all kinds of flustered. What we need then is a strategy for priming our energy and focus before our big moment. (read on)
If you have this ability, congrats! But if you’re like the rest of us 99.99 percent, don’t worry. There’s something you can do…
Science calls it a “Pre-Performance Routine,” which, to be very brief, is a process by which we prepare our energy before a big performance with physical and mental actions. Like how basketball players take a deep breath and spin the ball in their hands before shooting a free throw.
We can do in the minutes leading up to an interview by striking a “power pose” (hands on hips, standing up tall), taking some deep breaths in through our nose, and repeating a motivational phrase like “I got this.” Oh, and speaking of that motivational part…
Don’t do this! I get the temptation to cram information — believe me, I do.
But research finds this actually hurts our performances by making it impossible to find a clear headspace where confidence thrives. Prepare ahead of time, yes, but in the minutes before your interview, just focus on your emotional state. Maybe pop in your headphones for some pump-up or calm-down music to self-regulate, depending on how you’re feeling.
Rejection sucks. But it doesn’t mean we’re a bad candidate. Just that we aren’t the best fit right now.
So, in our thank-you email (which we should send the same day as our interview), let’s ask if our new contact would be okay with staying in touch. If so, reach out once every four to six weeks with interesting articles or even simple hope-your-well emails.
Keep the conversation alive. You never know where it could lead down the road.
There you have it! Ten things you’ll never hear from someone who actually got hired. Now quit worrying about what everyone else is doing! Get out there, and do your thing. Happy hunting!