Stop Applying for Jobs

When I ask people in job search what they did over the past week towards their career goal, I typically hear, ‘I applied for {pick a number} of jobs.’ When I ask how many real opportunities did they get, the answer is almost always, ‘None.’

I first wrote about this topic back in 2012 – Stop looking for a Job, however, with unemployment dropping so much and jobs becoming even more scarce, I though I better speak to this topic again.

Without hesitation I coach all of my career transition clients to;

Stop Looking for a job, Stop Asking for a job and Stop Applying for jobs.

Here are 7 reasons why I say this:

Nearly 80% of all jobs are not listed on any job board. Regardless of the accuracy of this number, there are still far more great jobs that are not listed online. Ask yourself this question, ‘when did you last see a job listed online that was so unique and phenomenal you wondered if could truly be real?’ Likely once in a blue moon.  My point is most jobs listed online are the same old thing, over and over. Respect yourself more, focus on the great jobs, which are generally not listed online.

Hiring managers and business owners ask their trusted network for referrals. I can testify to this daily. I get asked at least a few times a month if I know someone who can do {pick a skill}. Trusting business partners know the best way to find great talent is to ask their peers who they know.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will kick out nearly every resume sent in. Try as much as you want, you can’t beat the ever changing algorithms of ATS. The moment you finish rewriting your resume for the 50th time, you’ll discover you need to rewrite it again for a slightly different job you want to apply for. And all you are able to do with this never ending task is get a position or two ahead of every other person applying for the same job.

You look like very other candidate if you stand in the same line with them. I make this statement because typically when people apply for jobs online, there is no real way to differentiate yourself. Yes, you can write a compelling T-Square Cover Letter and a keyword rich resume filled with PAR Statements that wow the resume reviewer, however, typically this will only move you a few notches ahead of everyone else applying for the same job.

The application process presents you for a job, not as a business solution. This is an important differentiation. Everyone else is looking for a job. They want a salary, stable work, 401K, insurance, vacation, holidays and maybe even a great title. They want a job and this is what job boards have to offer everyone spending time searching and applying to them. When you adjust your perspective towards finding a company that has a business need you can fill, you are no longer in the same job search line. You are positioning yourself as a business resource, a solution to a critical business need, a valued business team member, a business person, not a job seeker.

The best possible job for you is waiting for you to create it. I’ve talked to lots of people in career transition who shared with me they created the job they have today. These business people got into an open conversation with a business owner who through the conversation discovered an idea, a solution, a new role for someone who could help grow, improve or save the business. I recently helped a guy named Marc by getting him introduced to a business owner who through the conversation created a new department in his business. It can happen, but only through an open conversation about the business with the owner or leader.

I want you to enjoy your career transition journey, it is a part of life. Applying for jobs and then hoping and praying you get that phone call for an interview is stressful and can become depressing.

Focus your energy and time to finding the companies you’re interested in, find the people in those companies you’d like to talk with, ask for and get introduced for open conversations. This is far more enjoyable and rewarding than standing in line and applying to the same old jobs everyone else is applying for.

Yes, networking to find these conversations takes time and you must be willing to get into open conversations with strangers. However, this is the best way to find your hidden next great job.

I wish you lots of success having open conversations that lead towards success.

Read these 5 books, I promise they’ll help you on this journey:


Author: tlburriss

I am a Networking Strategist and LinkedIn coach and Trainer. I live by my personal edict, "Networking is finding, developing and nurturing relationships that mutually move people forward thru life." I want to help people become better Networkers and better LinkedIn users focused on their business and career goals.