I've applied for 100 jobs and .... crickets

Two things are probably happening in your search to move up market, get promoted, or land a job after being in transition for weeks or months.

  1. You aren't offered the opportunity to interview. You've applied for dozens of jobs and you hear nothing. Crickets.

  2. You are 'one and out'. After the first interview or phone screen you follow up with the 'thank you' note/email but you never hear back. Crickets.

In fairness, this is a tough process for both parties involved. The employer will spend $5,000 or more to hire the successful candidate (that's if there isn't a recruiter involved, then it goes up 3-4x). For every 100 applications they receive, they might find 1 or 2 candidates that are viable for the role. The process can take weeks, even months. As an illustration, I found myself in a changing culture that was becoming less and less a fit. I resigned from that role. The interview process for that position was 7 company visits, 13 interviews, and 6 months in duration. A LOT of time, energy and cost (although my accounting friends might be inclined to call it 'sunk cost') went into that recruitment process.

From the candidate perspective, think about the converse. For every 100 applications you make, you might be considered a viable candidate for 1 or 2 of those roles. That's a 98-99% failure rate. If you get that first interview, the odds actually improve significantly. If you are taking one step at a time you should be focused on getting that first interview or phone screen.

If the goal is to get that interview, and it should be, then we should be moving our focus there. When I'm coaching clients in career transition, our conversation has three themes:

Networking into opportunities. First, let me say that LinkedIn is a GREAT lead source for open jobs. That said, blind applications have almost zero chance of landing a job (not even getting a first interview). The odds are so bad that just yesterday I was joking with a client that I would fire them if they continued to apply blindly to web based job postings. We work on identifying hiring managers, talent acquisition professionals, and senior executives - CEO COO CFO or CMO's. We build a virtual mini-org chart with our targets. We then network into these influential individuals with an intro email, call, or personal introduction. If my clients are ambitiously networking into decision makers you can see why your blind applications don't have a chance.

Elevator Pitch. If you've figured out how to use your network to connect to an existing opportunity or you meet someone at church, in the grocery store, or at jury duty who can be influential in your search, then what? What's your introduction? Your pitch? A simple but effective elevator pitch has 3 parts. Who you are, What you've done, Where you're going. A quick tutorial can be found here: https://www.talentblvd.com/single-post/2017/11/14/Your-Elevator-Pitch-In-3-Simple-Steps

Relevance. So you've networked into an opportunity and you delivered the perfect elevator pitch. Now what? It's absolutely imperative that you are able to demonstrate why your skills, experience, and objectives are aligned with the opportunity. It's at this point that you need to be able to show your relevance. The most successful are great storytellers. They do so by relaying how their previous experience is relevant through the situation - action - results methodology. Simply called the SAR method, it's the only way to answer the question when you find yourself in a behavioral interview.

Listen, job descriptions are written for the Utopian candidate that in all likelihood doesn't exist in this solar system. I encourage clients to explore a role if they are ~ 70% - 80% match to the description. More importantly, they must be able to translate their experience to meet the important components of the responsibilities of the role. If you can't draw a line from your experience to the responsibilities of the role, don't waste the interviewer's time and the company's resources. If doors are closed in our face in this process, they need to be gently closed, not slammed.

In summary, if your new role is 98%-99% most likely to come out of your network, pushing that 'Easy Apply' needs to turn into a last resort measure and not your primary career search effort.

Be Bold. Be Great. Be Timeless.

About Mike McNamara:

Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.

Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services to the underprivileged and underserved. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile business and media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.

Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.

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