Would you please just stop whining?

Humans see themselves as rational beings when eventually they are rationalizing beings: once they have done something, they are able to find rational reasons a posteriori to justify what they did. In my opinion, this is not to mistake with excuses, which are poor reasons given by people who didn’t do or succeed in something…

Among these numerous excuses, there is one related to my occupation which is very popular, especially on LinkedIn: recruiters are too demanding, they ask for too much qualification, they want years of experience for entry level jobs, don’t give a chance… And that is the reason why the unlucky victims, the candidates, don’t get jobs. This might be a comforting story to make children sleep. Isn’t it, by the way a beautiful yet sad fairy tale, that will make you feel good and not accountable for your failure?! Indeed!

The ugly truth is that the main reason why you don’t get a job is not because recruiters are evil and do everything they can for you not to have one (but maybe am I wrong and they are actually conspiring secretly against you!), but because you are searching in a wrong way.

Instead of blaming you (like you do with recruiters: shame on you!), I will give a hand. There are three things you should be doing if you want to find a job and that I suspect you to not do:

  1. Doing spontaneous applications. I understand that it is easy to just scroll pages of job ads. At least, it is easier than torturing our brain with real work. Nowadays job boards made it even easier with the opportunity to “easy apply”: 2 or 3 clicks, and you applied to a job. Isn’t it fabulous?
    My answer: no, it is not! Recruitment ads have a very bad Return On Investment unless you match 100% of the requirements (when was the last time you matched that much?). If it is not the case, your chances are near zero, because you will face 50, 100 or 500 competitors. Maybe you will be as worthy of the job as the others, but an average human recruiter will keep 10, 20 or maybe 30 resumes (in this last case, the person is a stakhanovist!) meaning that if you answered too late and are the 31st, you will be rejected like 100, 200 or 300 others. Let’s not talk about robots that might screen your application through irrelevant criteria, job ads which are in fact just ads with no jobs, or a way to fill the files, and so many reasons why job ads are a useless tool for 90% of the job seekers.

  2. Targeting the companies to which you will apply. Sending spontaneous applications is must-do, yet you need to send them to the right companies. It is absolutely necessary to understand what your value proposition is and what kind of company might be interested in it. The companies that could be interested by you might not be the most famous or popular ones (it means that targeting companies does not mean copying/pasting the Fortune 500 companies on your target list). Find the match between your skills, interests, qualities, values and those of the companies you are studying. You don’t need to find hundreds: if you did an excellent research, 10 companies will be enough to find your next employer. On a looser search, your next company  will be on a list of 50 companies (and if you do a completely crap search… Forget finding a job: go fishing). Try to understand as well as possible what are the trends, the issues, the projects of the companies you are studying and considering to join. Then, ask yourself how you fit in this organization. Nobody asks you to revolutionize the organization, just to understand where your place could be in this organization, and to show a real interest.

  3. Following up. This is the ultimate tear trigger topic: “recruiters don’t answer to my application!” But why don’t you follow-up by yourself? You sent an application email, YOU need to contact the company within 3 days (max) to check that your email didn’t simply end up in spams. That will enable you to know the status of your application, the recruitment process, the name(s) of people in charge. It will also show that you feel involved ad don’t just spam the “apply” button. Believe me, it is quite rare candidates to do so and if you want to stand out, that is a good start to set up a reputation. If you are rejected, ask feedback instead of running on social medias to dramatize: you will learn what is weak in your application and again your reputation will improve. Don’t forget that not getting a job in a company now doesn’t mean you will never get a job in it.

Looking for a position requires you to do some efforts. No company owes you a job, you need to take it. Work on your application process, professionally.

Find the company that will need your profile, don’t expect every company to need it. 

Sébastien De Stoop (!)

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