The Cold Hard Truth about Job Hunting

Jobseekers have so many amazing tools today. Just think back a single generation, to about 35 years ago. If you were looking for a job then you would be typing your resume, maybe even on an actual typewriter. Even if it was on a computer the word processing of the early 1990’s was nothing like it is today. After that you would be combing through the your local newspaper’s want ads. Then you’d go buy some nice resume paper and professional envelopes and start mailing your resume out in answer to those ads.

And then you’d wait by the phone. Or constantly check your answering machine.

Now compare that to how we job search today. There are a variety of templates and software packages that will help you craft a beautiful and functional resume. Because everything is digital you can easily tweak it for each individual opening you apply to. Then, because of advanced search algorithms you can go online and find job openings from all around the globe in a matter of minutes. You can quickly find out additional details about the companies and sometimes even find out who the person reading your resume will be. If this is the case you can reach out on social media and connect with them in some fashion before they have even read your resume.

And then you just make sure your cell has notifications turned on and you wait.

But just because the tools have become more sophisticated doesn’t mean looking for a new job has really become any easier. The technology we use everyday has trained us to expect instant gratification; or if not instant, then still pretty darn quick. But job hunting has never been that way, and just because our tools have changed, the overall process hasn’t. In fact, in a cruel twist of irony the process is actually a bit slower now, and it is likely because of all our fancy tools.

Because of the ease of applying nowadays on average 250 resumes are received for each corporate job opening. Now granted a lot of those applicants are not good fits for the position. But someone still has to sort through all of those resumes to determine that, right? Well, actually no. Technology has an answer for this too. Enter ATS, or automated tracking software, that can combing through documents looking for key terms that are directly related to the position. So now, in order to make it through this first part of the screening process you have to be able to write for the machine.

Let’s assume you made it through the fist stage, now you’ve made it to the smaller stack of resumes that will be looked at by the recruiter. But this is still a pretty large stack, which means she is not going to be able to spend a lot of time digesting each one. In fact, multiple studies have shown that the average amount of time spent reading a resume at this stage is anywhere from 4 – 6 seconds! Clearly no one is reading a resume i that time. They are skimming and looking for a few key elements that are dependent on the position. Maybe it is education, or length of time on the most recent job, or a specific skill set.

But you made it through the second stage and now it is on to the third item of the job search gauntlet. the social media check. Again, multiple studies have shown that up to 75% of recruiters will check a candidate’s LinkedIn profile at this stage. So while all of the social media we have access to certainly makes networking easier, it also means that is one more place where you need to make sure you are putting your best professional foot forward.

And remember all of this is just to land the interview.

But I haven’t written all this to discourage you. After all, people are still hired every day. What I want to emphasize is that it is not easy. Job hunting is work. Hard work. Don’t be passive about. Attack it just as you would any other difficult task. Invest time, effort, and if you can resources to get professional help. You can and will find your next job if you’re willing to work for it.