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job hunting strategies

The other day, I found myself in a conversation with Erin, owner of the blog #Broke Millennial; we were discussing job hunting strategies. I was explaining my strategy of applying for every job you see, and she was explaining how she networked her way into employment. Our conversation caused me to think about how pathetic my own network was when I was looking for a job, and about how that didn’t really hold me back. The thing is, a lot of fuss is made about networking, but it really is only one piece of the puzzle when you are looking for a job. Would my job search have been easier with a better network? Sure. But guess what, I still got a job. Today, I’m going to tell you how I did it.

Treat the Disease

Dave Ramsey is fond of saying that debt is a symptom, not a disease. In Dave’s view, the disease which causes debt is overspending. Dave spends a lot of time teaching people how to budget their money. He teaches them how to treat the disease. Then, once the disease has been cured, he teaches them how to treat the symptoms. This method helps people not only get out of debt, but stay out of debt too.

Searching for a job is the same concept. If you can’t get a job, that is a symptom. If you only treat the symptom (i.e. you get a job without understanding why you struggled in the first place), chances are high that you will be right back in the same situation when you are searching for a job again. The key to sustained success in job hunting is to treat the disease: you need to figure out where you are failing in the job hunt process.

Who, What, Where, When, Why, How

What is the first thing a doctor does when trying to diagnose a problem with a patient? They ask a million questions of course! As it turns out, figuring out what disease is preventing you from getting a job follows the same process. Let me give you a few examples of what I am talking about:

  • How many job openings do I know about?
  • How many jobs have I applied for?
  • How many times have I received an initial interview?
  • How many times have I received a second interview?
  • How many times have I been offered a job?
  • Have I turned down jobs because they don’t meet my standards for a “good job”?

Asking these types of questions will provide a lot of insight about your disease. Take the examples above:

  • If you only know of a few job openings, you may not have a strong enough network, or you may not be doing enough research.
  • If you have only applied for a few jobs, you may not be casting a wide enough net to get a job.
  • If the rate between applications you fill out and interviews you get is low, you probably need to spend some time sprucing up your resume.
  • If you are getting a lot of initial interviews, but not many second interviews, it is time to improve your interviewing skills.
  • If you are getting first and second interviews, but no job offers, you probably need to keep working on your interview skills and/or work on your personal brand.
  • If you are getting job offers, but they aren’t the “right” job offers, you need to do more research about the companies prior to applying.

While these bullet points do not represent all of the possible diseases that may be preventing you from getting a job, hopefully they will help you to realize that you CAN diagnose your problems. I am a firm believer in this technique, as it is exactly what I did when I was getting ready to graduate. The bottom line is this: if you can’t get a job, it isn’t because of the economy or bad luck, it is because you are trying to to treat the symptom, not the disease. Do yourself a favor and start being logical about what may be holding you back. Ask the questions, diagnose the disease, and then treat the symptom!

Do you agree or disagree with this methodology? What kind of diseases have you identified in the past that have made it so you can’t get a job? Please join the conversation in the comments below.

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