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Is your shotgun approach to job seeking destroying your chances of landing your dream job? Many job seekers I work with are taking what I call the shotgun approach to their job search. A shotgun approach is where you are applying for anything and everything. Sometimes it is literally everything; even jobs that you have absolutely no skills, qualifications or experience for and sometimes I see people applying for everything that they think they could do but they don’t really stop to think about is it actually what they want to do; is it going to fit with their career goals and lifestyle. In my experience the shotgun approach rarely works. I understand and am told from time to time “yeah but I just need a job, any job, I don’t care what job it is.” That’s ok if that is the situation you are in, however taking a more structured approach to your job seeking is guaranteed to get you a better outcome in the long run. You need to put yourself in the employers seat. While you might just want any job, an employer wants someone who genuinely wants to work for their business and wants to do that particular job. That desire and motivation, or lack thereof comes through loud and clear if you are a shotgun job seeker.
Here’s why taking a shotgun approach isn’t helping you land a job or your dream job:
It’s about Quality NOT Quantity
A mature and highly experienced man was doing a career coaching program with me late last year and when I asked him what had motivated him to start a career coaching program he told me he had applied for over 100 jobs. From those 100+ applications he had only had a couple of interviews and had not been able to land a job. What he was doing was shooting off applications here there and everywhere to any job he saw. He put no thought in to what he was applying for, nor did he tailor his application or explain his motivation for applying for any of the jobs. He had actually applied for two jobs that I was recruiting for; one as a low level accounts assistant and one as an executive level project manager. The twos jobs were being advertised at the same time and this job seeker applied for both jobs within a few minutes of each other. The two jobs were completely different to each other as far as skills, experience, qualifications and salary went. He had not been shortlisted for either position, first and foremost because his application did not demonstrate any relevant skills to either position. My other immediate thought was this man doesn’t appear to know what he wants and is applying for anything and everything, he’s not actually serious about either of these jobs.
Had this man taken the time to tailor his application and demonstrate his transferrable skills, particularly for the project manager role, he may well have been shortlisted for the role. When I asked him about his motivations for applying for the lower level role he said he was just so frustrated with not being able to get a job that he was now hitting the apply now button on pretty much every job that he saw come up on seek.com that he thought he could do. This is a perfect example of a shotgun approach. I see a lot of jobseekers end up going down this path out of sheer frustration. What he didn’t realise was that by doing this, he was actually making the problem worse for himself.
Applying for jobs can be a full time job in itself if you are really going to do it properly. Tailoring your resume every time you apply for a job takes time and effort. To be really able to tailor your application to the job you need to know what the company is looking for and to get that information you need to be investing the time to call and enquire (where ever contact details are included). Armed with information on what the company is really looking for in their next recruit, the direction of the role and a bit about what the company stands for will help you not only tailor your resume but to also stand out from the crowd; ensuring your application gets noticed and shortlisted to an interview.
Getting unsuccessful letter after unsuccessful letter is demotivating. Don’t put yourself through that by having a shotgun approach to your job search. Apply for the jobs that really excite you and that you have the skills and abilities to do. Share with us your motivations for applying, we want to understand why you want this particular job.
Investing a little more time in tailoring your application will help you stand out from the crowd and while you might end up only applying for half as many jobs, you’ll improve your chances of getting to interview and being offered the job you want. If you’re submitting lots of applications and not getting to interview stage, something about your application is holding you back. If you don’t know what that something is, I’d encourage you to seek advice and help from a mentor or career coach. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you needed legal advice you’d talk to a lawyer or if you needed advice about your finances you’d get advice from a Financial Planner or Accountant. Take the same approach with your career, if you’re not landing the jobs you want its worth getting advice on why, as a shotgun approach is going to get you nowhere.
Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.