Your Computer is Killing Your Job-Search and Other Ugly Truths

KickButtWhen I was growing up and veered off-course a little bit I always got a much deserved kick in the backside from my parents, sisters, coaches, friends, etc and it really helped get me back on program.

In job-search it is easy to do the same (get sidetracked)so we wanted to offer you eight ugly job-search truths that will (hopefully) give you a kick in the pants if one is needed.

1. You are killing your chances by sitting in front of the computer all day. Ask any salesperson (you are in sales when looking for a job) how much time they spend in front of their computer as opposed to making phone calls, shaking hands, and kissing babies and I would guess it is probably 90-10 if not more.

If all you are doing is spending time online you are missing the boat – in fact you never made it to the dock. There is a time and a place to do your online job-search work – it’s when everyone else is in bed.

2. Your résumé probably needs work. Sending in your résumé in for positions you are a perfect match for and not hearing anything back? It probably means you need to go back to the drawing board – here are some thoughts for you:

  • Are you articulating what it is you do? If not you need to.
  • Are you maximizing your keywords? Most of recruiting is keyword driven and if you are not using the right phrases/words your résumé will never get seen.
  • Are you separating yourself out from the crowd? If not you are losing out to the competition.
  • Are you showing why you are the candidate of choice? No? Then don’t expect calls anytime soon.
  • Is your résumé a pretty document? If not people might overlook it.
  • Are you using a Microsoft (or other) template? Those things are awful and difficult to work with from a recruiting perspective.
  • Are you dating yourself? Don’t go back into your work history more than 10-15 years if you can help it and leave off the dates of your education.

3. Your chances of getting into pharmaceutical / medical device sales is slim to none. When I get calls from people (outside of my work as a recruiter) who are looking for opportunities here are how many of the conversations go:

Me: “Why don’t you take a second and tell me a little bit about what you have been doing and where you want to go?”
Job-seeker: “I have been doing XYZ (sub in accounting, IT, customer service, etc) for five years and now I want to get into pharmaceutical or medical device sales?”
Me: “Do you have any experience in that area?”
Job-seeker: “Well, no, but I think it would be a fun job and I’ve heard you make good money.”

If you don’t have the qualifications (ie have done pharmaceutical or medical device sales before) or look like a super-model (or both) you probably won’t stand a chance against everyone else who wants to get into that space.

I am not telling you to not go after these two positions (or other very popular ones), just have a plan B and plan C to go after as well.

4. If you are not networking you are probably not going to land anytime soon. In today’s market with so many people looking, your chances of really getting noticed without an inside connection is very slim.

It normally takes people a few months and several thousand unanswered résumé submissions before they finally get the message that the most important tool in their job-search arsenal is the phone.

5. If you need a survival job by Monday (and its Friday at 4:30) you are in trouble. Don’t wait until the last-minute to get a survival job, you should start your search for one as soon as your job-search starts. If you spend 30 minutes a day looking for a survival job and the rest of the time looking for a career opportunity you should be in good shape.

6. No one else is going to find you a job. Don’t expect anyone else to do your dirty work. Your job-search is a YOU project, not your spouse’s, not your career or life coach’s, not a recruiter’s. If you are not motivated enough to do the work yourself, your search for a new opportunity will be a long and bumpy road filled with hurt feelings, frayed relationships and disappointment from everyone involved.

7. Get over it. You have lost your job. It’s not fun, it’s a hard spot to be in, and I don’t wish it upon anyone BUT potential employers can smell an ounce of poison a mile off and if you don’t get over it you will never find a new job.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with hardships – some excercise, some talk about it, some beat the tar out of a punching bag, and others find a hobby. Find what works for you and do it.

8. You get out what you put in. If you are only answering five advertisements a week and not putting in a full weeks worth of networking calls, going to professional association meetings, or working your network on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc you will probably be reading posts on this blog for a very long time.

The list above is far from complete – I would like to hear other ‘ugly truths’ that you have found in the search process.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!



14 responses to “Your Computer is Killing Your Job-Search and Other Ugly Truths

  1. Pingback: Job Search – temporary job search | Know Marketing Blog

    • Hi Matt — Thanks for coming to my ‘Pity Party’ and giving me a kick in the pants. You have said many of the things/truths I have heard over and over on my own long and bumpy road, but your simplicity and plain speak were refreshing. Got to go now . . . get off the computer and take on the day. I am already a day late, and can’t afford to be a dollar short. Thanks again!

  2. Excellent. Network, Network, Network.

  3. Hello Matt,

    I’ve always believed that it is people who make things happen – whether it’s a project or talk about a new position. It is true in my case that it took months to tap into my local network, and to meet the people who would eventually lead me to a job. The earlier you start, the better!!! It’s not easy to find some networks, and in some specialized jobs, these groups may be very small and “closed”. Still, as your article conveys, it is the answer to finding where you best belong: talk to people. Good piece.

  4. Great advice. You only have to find that one right person to network with but finding that one may be very difficult.

  5. Matt,
    Great article with terrific advice. I will definitely pass it on to the students I work with. You do have one typo – #1, Your should be You’re or You are. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Nice post! I completely agree about networking. Honestly it seems at times, that the only way to get a job is to know somebody or go through a recruiter. 🙂 If you’re just out pounding the pavement, get yourself some help. I even have got jobs through a temp agency. Get yourself out there as many places as you can and use your LinkedIn!

  7. Hi Matt

    Very good article. I totally agree that being realistic about your choice of job, aware of what you can offer, and how you can add value to the employer’s business, networking, persevering, and staying positive and motivated are the key ingredients to successful job hunting. I will share your article with my students.

  8. Good article! I will share it.
    A corollary topic could be launched from your #3. “Your chances of getting into pharmaceutical / medical device sales is slim to none.” Brings up the ole “I’m nowhere near looking like a super model, so how can I get experience if you won’t give me a try.” It’s been written about before, I know. I’m curious about what YOU have to say about that?

  9. What I have been doing is a trade out for my services and expertise. If you find a business that needs your help and you need their service and it is a small business changes are they are willing to talk to you about it. It could lead to something down the road and you gain more experience along the way. I have done this to keep my sanity and creativity flowing while I am in the process of finding my next great career adventure.

  10. Excellent. I only disagree with one point:

    “Are you dating yourself? Don’t go back into your work history more than 10-15 years if you can help it and leave off the dates of your education.”

    Date yourself. You’re fooling no one with this trick. It’s very unlikely that I’ll believe your first job was Division Manager or Director of North American Sales, so include all the jobs with year. Of course, include just the employer, date and title of positions in the distant past, no detail needed.

    That is, unless you think you can continue to fake your age in front of the interviewer!!! Avoid the unpleasant surprise and sell your experience as an asset.

    I realize this excludes you from some positions, but realistically if you were Chief Marketing Officer with 22 years of experience do you expect an interview for the Copy Writer position?

    Believe it or not, some employers see experience as a plus because you have “been there, done that” and are unlikely to be flustered by the business events that only come along a few times per career.

  11. I agree with you Sam, leaving out information will only delay the inevitable decline email. Be positive, sell your experience, make the effort to compose your resume/profile around the job description – but only in a truthful way ie accentuate your relevant skills and experience – there is no such thing as a “catch-all” resume

  12. Perhaps it is “what you are doing on your compauter”
    which is yielding poor returns.

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  13. Excellent article is terrible advice. I am sure that they give to students. Thank you for sharing this with us.:)

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