Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

How Not to Look for a Job

This has been a terrible job market for new college grads and many are still unemployed after having graduated in…2009! Now that fall’s here, many parents with kids who have moved from college back home are asking: “What’s going wrong?”

The number one mistake job seekers make is spending too much time online, answering ads. I have written about this before, but it bears repeating: This is the most ineffective way to look for a job, but it gives you the false impression that you ARE looking for a job. And this is a mistake made by people at all levels, by the way, not just new grads.

What is the problem with responding to ads online? Here is a list:

1. Many of the ads are blind, meaning you may not even know what company it is, let alone who the contact person is. Often recruiters use this technique to collect resumes for many positions, and the position you think you’re responding to may not even exist.

2. You will not know what happened to your resume unless you get a response. And a response is rare. Why? You have a lot of competition. Employers don’t have the time to sift through all the resumes they receive, and if you don’t fit the criteria exactly, you will be filed under “G”.

3. It is likely you will feel bad about your self-worth after this is replicated many times over, because you have no idea what no response means. There is no feedback loop.

What is the right way to look for a job? Well, it’s the old-fashioned way, with some help from the Internet on the social networking end. You need to do the hard work of figuring out what your aptitudes and interests are, what roles would be appropriate for you and which organizations might be a good fit. And then you need to network your way to a person at the organization (s) of your choice.

There are many ways to do this, as I have mentioned in these pages before. One question: Are you on LinkedIn? Many recent grads are not, which is a mistake. Recruiters and employers use it all the time to find and screen candidates. There are many ways to use LinkedIn you may not have thought of.

Most importantly, get out and network in person. Join your industry’s professional association, attend a MeetUp in your area, get out from behind your computer and meet people. Being isolated and virtual will not help your career or your confidence.