Gambling At The Job Board

There are many people who go about job searching by standing in front of a job board and scanning the wall for employment. There are far more people pulling up job search websites on the computer and essentially doing the same thing; scrolling through screen after screen of various jobs. I find this perplexing and a huge waste of time, but surprisingly this is exactly the behaviour many people exhibit when they look for work. Stop doing this! It’s not a good way to find the right job!

When you stop and think about it, it’s like gambling or visiting a fortune teller isn’t it? In the few seconds immediately before you hit the job board, you had no idea what job you would find. After standing at a job board for 30 seconds or so, you really believe you’re suddenly going to have your eyes drawn to your dream job; that one job that is not only something you can do but will be with the perfect employer, paying a fair wage you’ll be comfortable with, and you’ll work in an atmosphere that matches your needs – all within a reasonable commute? Yeah, good luck with that one. It just doesn’t happen like this.

What really happens is people find jobs they could tolerate, and with no research into the company, the culture or the working conditions, they apply. Even if they get interviewed and get the job, it seldom lasts long; the reason being that once employed, the person says, “Okay I’ve gone from no job to a job that’s a poor fit for me personally, so now I start looking for a better job.” The other result I see time and time again is that the person is fired because they don’t perform well, or the person quits the second they feel they are being manipulated and asked to do things they didn’t expect. Then what do they do? They repeat the entire process and stand again in front of a job board having learned nothing. Sigh….

Don’t start your job search scanning a job board. That’s as blunt as I can make it.

One of your first steps in finding meaningful work that you’ll actually enjoy doing and which you’ll do well is to evaluate your skills, education and work preferences. It’s like taking an inventory of you. Don’t scoff and say, “I don’t need to waste time doing this – nobody knows me better than me.” Without even knowing you personally, I will suggest you actually don’t know yourself as much as you claim; you should of course, but I suspect you don’t. For example, what’s your problem-solving style? What are your key work values? What style of leadership do you best function under? Give me your three top transferable skills.

So, did the answers just roll off your tongue or did you just read the questions above without really stopping to think and answer them intelligently? Is this a defensive mechanism of yours you use when you get asked questions you don’t know the answers to but don’t want to admit you don’t?

Look, if you’re used to randomly picking a job off a website or job board and sending them your standard generic resume, let me ask you how successful this has been for you in the past in getting a job that you were good at, paid you well for your time, and which you stayed at for longer than a couple of years? If it’s working for you, then by all means you’re right to continue with this strategy. On the other hand, if this method isn’t working for you, if you’re frustrated just randomly hoping the clouds will part and a sunbeam will illuminate your dream job while the sound of angels reach your ears, do something different. If you keep doing the same thing, the results you get will likewise be the same.

Write down your skills. What are the things you enjoy doing? Write them down. On a map, draw a circle of the area you are willing to work in. Would you move to take a job? If so, how attractive would the job have to be to get you to pick up and relocate? What’s your education level? Would you consider going back to school to upgrade your education if it meant you’d be better qualified to compete for jobs you really want? What would your ideal supervisor be like; hands-on or hands-off? What’s the perfect environment for you; surrounded by creative types, techies, labourers or number crunchers?

These are just some of the many questions you could and should ask yourself long before you actually start looking at jobs on a board or website. If you don’t really know who you are; your strengths, weaknesses, interests and passions, you’re going to find yourself in the wrong jobs more often than not. You really are gambling; playing hit and miss and wasting much of your life in the process, making it all the harder to find the right job by taking the time to assess yourself first.

If you’re young, do a variety of things and find out what you like and don’t like; what you’re good at and what you need to work on. No experience is wasted if you learn from it. If you’re older, take stock of what you’ve done.

Need help? Ask for it.

Many Ways To Job Search

Looking for work? Not getting the kind of results you’d like? It could be that how you are going about job searching is part of the issue. One of the questions you might be asked by someone like myself when you first talk is how you are currently going about your job search.

Now many will of course use the computer. Sitting down and calling up job postings on a website is going to give you many jobs you can apply to. It’s important to realize however that the ease in which you have found all those jobs makes it equally easy for you competition to find the same jobs. So you’ve got lots of jobs and lots of competition for those jobs; the pros and the cons of conventional well-known websites.

Here’s something else you should know and remind yourself about; the more work required to dig and find job and career postings, the less people you have to compete with. Why? Simple really for three reasons; 1) not everyone knows how to go about unearthing those so-called, ‘hidden’ jobs, 2) some job seekers are too lazy to put in the effort required when there is no promise of return and 3) some job seekers who were once full of enthusiasm in their job search have become so frustrated they’ve eased up.

Now before you get too critical of number 2 above where I identify some job seekers as lazy, I want to tell you that the job seekers themselves are the ones who often tell me they’ve grown lazy; their words then, not mine. And hey, if they call themselves lazy, who am I to disagree with their own self-assessment?

Now employer research is often cited as an integral part of a job search strategy, but what does that really involve? Well, the easiest thing to do is once again sit at a computer and check out a company website. Look for the, “about us” tab or something similar. Take note of basic information like how they got started and when, what are their products and services, their values, mission statement, core beliefs, culture and size. Ask yourself if all that information jives with your own outlook.

Another way to go about job searching is connecting with people who either hold down the same kind of employment you are after or who work in the companies you have identified as ones you would ideally like to join. Doesn’t it stand to reason that if you could talk with these people, you’d get a good first-hand account of what it’s really like to work there? You could find out the good and the bad about jobs from people in those roles. And while one person isn’t enough to necessarily give you an accurate portrayal of what you would experience perhaps, the more people you speak to, the more you can sift through the feedback you get and land at an informed perspective.

This business of connecting is also potentially going to give you insights into job openings you’re never going to get any other way. Ever seen a job posting that gives you the skinny on the boss you’ll be reporting to or the dynamics of the team you might be part of? Of course not. However a current employee of an organization could reveal some key needs on a given team, and yes maybe something about the reputation of the person who supervises that group.

Two of the oldest ways about going about a job search are to walk in to businesses and hope to meet hiring personnel in person, and pick up the phone and engage people via a cold call. So let’s look at these briefly. In retail for example, many large companies have moved to on-line recruitment methods. So if you walk in resume in hand and ask to apply, they might turn you around and tell you to head for the nearest computer and apply on their website. However, even in these cases, if the person you spoke with is the Hiring Manager, they still saw you, how you dressed, watched your body language, and maybe what you had to say in those few precious moments. They might therefore write your name down when you leave and look for your application to have you in.

There is a good chance too that you might just land an on-the-spot interview because the person is impressed with your first impression and many employers are always on the lookout for people who understand service excellence.

The cold call goes in and out of favour. It’s more than just phoning up an employer and saying, “Are you hiring? No? Oh, okay then, well thanks anyway.” Cold calls could be to determine openings, but they could also be to set up a face-to-face meeting to introduce yourself in person and gather information.

You might also hook up with a temp. agency as many companies now use these organizations to pre-screen applicants and save them from being bombarded with phone calls, drop-ins, emails and faxes. Going through a temp. agency might not sit well with you, but it could be a short-term solution to getting in. Signing on with a Recruiter or Head-hunter is another strategy for many these days. They gather a pool of talent and link the talent to employers’ needs.

The best way to job search? Using many of the above ideas simultaneously.