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  • Inefficiency Hinders Your Job Search

    shutterstock_226385713Most if not all job seekers reach at some point a heightened level of frustration with their job search process. It’s easy to understand, and it might be justifiable to blame the complex and convoluted job search process. It’s difficult to improve efficient and speed up the process. Loosely explained, efficiency is output over input and is expressed in percentages. The question before job seekers is whether they’re getting the expected results based on the amount of time and effort they’re putting into their job searches. In most cases, the answer is disappointing. So, what to do to increase efficiency?

    In the world of investments, the most important factor for success is to know the right asset class allocation. Translated into the domain of job search, it means knowing how to determine the amounts of time and energy to devote to various job search activities.


    Networking with people is by far the most effective job search activity. Sixty to 80 percent of people land their jobs through networking, and therefore, that’s what job seekers should spend their time on. For many, Networking is difficult and uncomfortable. And for those who don’t know how to be effective at it, networking represents a frustrating task with little results. For others, networking is second nature, and getting leads and referrals is merely a continuation of what they’ve been practicing their entire life—and not only when they need a job.

    Applying for Jobs Online

    Online job application is also an important aspect of the job search. Certainly, one cannot expect to win the lottery without buying a ticket. In the same way, one needs to apply for a job in order to be considered for it. On one hand, online job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder sound appealing. On the other hand, sending off endless numbers of résumés into the black hole of applications can be a great way to boost your frustration level and waste your time. A better way is to search within SimplyHired or Indeed by using specific keywords you’re interested in and job locations you’re open to. The best tool is LinkedIn, where you can see exactly who posted a job and whom you might know at that company. Thus you can be much more strategic about your application.

    Additional Advice for Increasing Your Efficiency and Your Success Rate

    • Be specific in your résumé. Applicant tracking software is looking for specific keywords.
    • Customize your résumé to the specific job you’re applying for. Recast your résumé to specifically show how your subject matter expertise solves the hiring manager’s problems.
    • Use as much as possible the target company’s own language. In other words, your actual words must match a lot of the words in the employer’s job description. Cut and paste the employer’s language from the job description to use in your résumé.
    • Make your résumé Reviewers have no patience for less-than-perfect résumés because there are thousands of other applicants they can look at who submit perfect résumés. Grammar and spelling count. Fonts, formatting, and lined-up tabs and columns count. Regarding that formatting issue, better practice is to unformat the résumé, reset everything flush left, and use no special symbols or software-specific indentions (such as in the bulleted items you’re reading here!)—instead opting for simple hyphens and word spaces to set off your displayed lists of accomplishments in your job history.

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    2 comments on “Inefficiency Hinders Your Job Search
    1. avatar
      Ron says:

      I am formerly long-term unemployed. Carefully customizing my résumé to the specific job I’ve been applying for and trying too hard to get each customized resume perfect has dramatically reduced the number of resumes I was able to send out, lowering the frequency of interviews. I had spent anywhere from a week to several months for each position that looked like a good match to create a specially customized resume and cover letter and research the work done by the group I’m applying to. This is particularly easy when applying to programming positions working for research scientists at major universities, where one can usually find the name of the hiring professor (or someone closely related to the project who can forward my resume to the hiring professor) as well as published articles describing research they have done. I sometimes spent a few months studying these articles and the prerequisites to understanding them before being called for the interview. Most of the time the interviewing professor had other things to discuss and wasn’t interested in discussing the research that I had studied, so my preparation usually didn’t help much. The time I spent on preparation and seeking perfection greatly reduced the number of jobs I applied for, but by a miracle a job listing appeared out of nowhere on an email that’s routinely sent to many people with resumes on the web just in time to apply before the deadline. I only had a week to prepare before the interview, but this time my strategy worked. I was hired at an entry-level salary even though I have higher degrees and 26 years of experience as a software developer, but that’s what most of these grant-funded positions working for academic research scientists at major universities pay. I have found that this is the type of job where I’m the most successful and I seem to work best with research scientists. There was such a long learning process for this project that I can’t even consider leaving for twice my salary now because I agreed at the interview to stay at least a few years, hopefully longer. But it’s far better than long term unemployment or giving up my career to work as a janitor, school bus driver, or truck driver as many engineers and programmers I know have done.

    2. avatar
      Ron says:

      P.S. I am one of those for whom Networking is extremely difficult and uncomfortable. I tried it once in a while, but at the first sign that my contacts were anything less than enthusiastic or unable to help me, I decided that I must be asking for too much and gave up networking. Of course I know that people say networking is a two way street, I also get to help the people I network with, but it’s only too obvious to them that I’m the one who needs help and in most cases they aren’t interested in whatever “benefits” I can offer in return. I found it difficult to work with job search counselors because they all stress networking these days and don’t understand how hard it can be for shy people.

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