Please Don’t “Apply Anyway”

This week I had to stop a friend from applying to a federal government job where she did not meet the mandatories. I wasn’t very popular for a day, earning the standard frustrated job seeker’s threat “I guess I’ll have to apply for a retail job”. (As if.)

If you’re over 40, you remember at least two boom times in your work life, and at least one was a time where companies hired anyone who looked like they could learn the job and wouldn’t frighten the horses in the street. And your high school teacher taught you to write a resumé suitable for that climate.

But climate change is a reality. Job hunters today need to keep keep two principles in mind:
1. Do target companies that need your particular skills (all the better if they *know* they need them)
2. Don’t apply to jobs where you have no knowledge and no experience in the skills that are key to performing that job.

Avoid Rejection Scenarios
In his recent post I Smell Blood, career expert Jason Alba spoke to the importance of not letting anyone we talk with during our job search “smell blood.” Without discounting the wound of unemployment, Alba advises “Do what you can or need to do to not be hurt…”An important way to avoid re-opening the wound is to avoid scenarios where you *will* be rejected. That is why I suggest you not apply to be second violin in the National Arts Center orchestra (unless, of course, you are an experienced violinist).

“Applying anyway” is an invitation to be rejected or ignored. Human nature being what it is, rejection stamps a “loser tag” on you. Collect enough “loser tags” and you start to believe the lie.

Create Success Scenarios
(1) Choose the organization(s) you apply to based on fit.
(2) Target your resumé to respond to the job you want.
(3) If the organization is not advertising, research their needs and approach an insider with the power to understand (and hire or recommend you) with a marketing letter (not a resumé)
(4) When you have targeted based on fit, don’t accept failure. Try again in three months.
(5) Don’t wait for one ship to come in. Apply to as many organizations as you think you fit and would make you happy.

Be focused, but avoid the resumé canon (buckshot approach), and your job search will succeed, faster.

If you need help learning how to read and respond to job requirements, please join me for one of The Portable You workshops.

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