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Monday, October 23, 2017
Why You Think You're Prepared to Job Hunt -- But You're Really Not
I recently was interviewed on a podcast, "Find Your Dream Job." You can find the full transcript here, but I'm including some of it now....
Now our topic this week is about the importance of preparation in a job search. When you and I chatted before the program, you were saying this was the one thing people have to do in a job search. What do you mean by preparation, Anita? Why is it so important?
Well, I think there’s a couple of scenarios. Sometimes, people are unexpectedly looking for a job. They get laid off or there’s a merger, or there’s something that happens. So in a panic, they just start sending out resumes right and left. Just whoever is online that they can find the address for. They send out resumes. The other thing is, they’re kind of wishy washy about their job search, and they’re not quite sure. Maybe they just want to see what’s out there, they’re not real enthusiastic about it. So those kind of things really set people up to fail because they’re job searching without giving it a lot of thought.
So, what kind of difference can preparation make? Because let’s go back to that second scenario, someone who, they just want to test the water. Why is that a bad thing, Anita?
Yeah. Well, I’ll give you an example. I sit on the board of a nonprofit and we were recently advertising for a position. This is not a nonprofit that’s run by Microsoft, it doesn’t have a lot of money. It was advertising for a position and we had resumes come in, and we had resumes from people three thousand miles away who didn’t really even have the qualifications. If you looked at the job, you could tell this was not a nonprofit with a lot of money to pay. I’m not really sure what these people thought they were doing. It wasn’t like we were going to be able to fly them in to interview them. We would not be able to pay any moving costs. They really didn’t have the qualifications to apply.
So that’s kind of what I’m saying. I’ve even talked to law firms where people have applied for the position of lawyer and they do not have a law degree. So that’s why I think a lot of times people just get into this mindset where they’re just going to cast this really wide net and just see what happens. That’s probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Because you’re going into it totally unprepared. If I called you from the law firm and said, “Alright, where did you get your law degree from?”, and you have no law degree, what are you going to say?
It’s a ridiculous waste of time and effort.
What would you say to people, and I’m making a guess here, but I imagine people who send that resume from three thousand miles away and think, “Who knows? Maybe lightning will strike. I could do that job or I could learn how to do it. Why shouldn’t I apply?” What would you say to somebody like that, Anita?
Because I think that job searches are draining. There’s a reason they say that a job search is a job in itself. It requires a lot of focus, it requires a lot of energy. If you’re going to do it, why not put a hundred percent of your effort into something that you really want, or that really interests you, or that you’re qualified for, instead of casting this wide net and just hoping lightning strikes, and you might get something. I think that you’ll get defeated really quickly.
So one reason or another, you start losing your enthusiasm, and you don’t put a lot of effort into your job search. Let me give you another example.
The other day I was talking to an executive with a healthcare company. He said he just got a cover letter, now keep in mind he’s with a healthcare company, but the person says, “I would really like to work for the port of New Orleans. I really like New Orleans.” Number one, the job was not in New Orleans. It was not with the port of New Orleans. But this person was obviously unfocused, not making a real effort in this job search.
Why do that to yourself and an employer? If you’re not enthusiastic about the job when you’re applying for it, you’re certainly not going to be enthusiastic when they call you for an interview, if you even get that far. So I think it’s a real waste of the energy that you’re going to need to conduct a successful job search.
Well let’s talk about the preparation that people should do before...