Mistakes That Kill
Before we go on to talk
about The New Interview™, let's blow away three of the bugaboos
that really hurt job hunters: the job market, want ads, and
resumes. These can kill you.
Analyzing the job market
Here's the news --
downsizing is up. 7,000 laid off at a transportation company. A
bank cans 2,000. An airline boots 4,000. A communications company
drops 8,500. Jobless claims are on a seesaw ride. The state of the
job market makes people worry, and that makes them terrible job
care less what the job market is doing. Their power stems from
their ability to solve a company's problem. They look for
employers that need help. When downsizings result in masses of
people changing jobs, companies rely on headhunters even more,
because it's harder to weed through all those desperate,
inappropriate candidates when you're trying to fill a few
important positions that will help the company survive and thrive
when the economy turns back up. In many cases, the same companies that are
firing people out one door are hiring people through another and
paying fees for help to do so.
Don't waste time
fretting over the news. If headhunters did that, they'd go out of
business. Spend your time finding managers who have work that
needs to be done. Don't make assumptions about what jobs are not
Which brings us to the
single largest directory of jobs that are not available...
Poring over the want ads
Job hunters look at the
online job boards (or the classifieds) and see opportunities
beckoning. Headhunters see a big sump, where the troublesome
masses collect and spiral away down the drain. And that's where headhunters like
to see their competition: out of the way, getting processed by
When I lived near San
Francisco, I had to explain to my frequent east coast guests that
the one place they hoped to visit was the one place we would
avoid: Fisherman's Wharf. Like the job boards, Fisherman's Wharf
is a sump. It's the place San Francisco has set aside to corral
loud, unruly, bothersome tourists. It keeps them off the streets.
And the city goes to lengths to convince outsiders that this is
the best place to go when you visit. No self-respecting San
Franciscan would waste his or her time at Fisherman's Wharf. It's
So are the jobs data
bases. When 5,000 people apply for a job, the job is hardly
"available." Simple statistics will tell you that even
an outstanding candidate can slip through the cracks while
unsophisticated personnel jockeys are screening thousands of
applicants. (And that's before they get around to actually
interviewing a handful.)
Like that little post
card says, "Thank you for submitting your resume. We are
currently evaluating your qualifications. Due to the large number
of responses, we will not be able to get back to you any time
soon. If ever." Do you really consider that job available? Go
buy a lottery ticket.
The other reason these
jobs are not really available is because while Personnel is
reading resumes, some headhunter has met with the hiring manager,
submitted three candidates, and is helping one of them evaluate an
offer. Personnel doesn't even know this is happening. Bzzzt!
Time's up. On to the next resume database.
Over-emphasizing your resume
When you want a
promotion, do you give your boss a resume? Of course not. You walk
into his office and convince him you can do the work.
Then, why would you
do any less to win a new job with your future boss?
Your resume is not your
ambassador. Ever try to get a date by mailing out a resume? It's
tough enough competing with the hordes of job hunters. Why put
such a weak foot forward? It's a piece of paper! Among thousands!
Are you willing to trust your future to it?
Ever hear that a company
you sent your resume to got 8,000 resumes for that one job? Do you
really think anyone read your resume? As carefully as you
Then there's that firm
in Kansas that mass-mails thousands of people's resumes to
thousands of companies. That's who you're competing with. Pity the
poor manager who has to read resumes from people who don't even
know they sent him their resume. Maybe not today, but soon, that
manager will tell his personnel department to screw off and he
will bring in a headhunter to fill the position.
Headhunters avoid giving
clients resumes because they know the resume can only hurt a
candidate about whom an employer already has all the information
he needs. Print up about 25 copies of your resume. Give it only to
managers who request it after you have talked or met with them.
And make sure your resume commits Resume
Okay. Let's get on to
what you can do to make your job hunt wildly successful.
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