Not Getting Results? You’re Probably Using Outdated Job Search Tactics

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Those of us who are heavily involved in recruiting and hiring know that a lot of companies are extremely dissatisfied with the quality of their new hires. Those of us who are lucky enough to have insight into both sides of the coin — recruiter/employer and job seeker — also know that dissatisfaction is widespread. Job seekers, too, are unhappy with the current state of affairs in recruiting and hiring.

Looking at the situation, you may feel an intense desire to reach out and shake every party involved, hoping that recruiters, employers, and job seekers will wake up and stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

The simple truth is that change doesn’t come easily to most of us. We get stuck in our ways — especially if those ways used to work for us in the past. How often have you heard — or said yourself — “But I’ve always done it this way!”

My response: “Okay. You’ve always done it this way, and it probably worked at one point, but 95 percent of employers  report they have recruited the wrong people in the past. Are these results you want to continue?”

A little about me and how I’ve come to view this situation from both the recruiter’s side and the job seeker’s side: Before writing and publishing The Job Inner-View in 2013, I had spent years in a frustrated digital-age job search, exhausted by applicant tracking systems, the black hole of online submissions, and the overall disconnect between myself as a job seeker and the companies to which I applied.

During the process of writing and publishing my books, plus the years I spent creating a business and a job search app, I had the unique privilege of interviewing and collaborating with dozens of leaders in all areas of the recruiting and hiring process, as well as numerous successful (and unsuccessful) job seekers. More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to do some freelance recruiting for career coaching clients of mine. All of this adds up to a perspective on recruiting and hiring that gives me greater understanding of and compassion for what all involved parties are experiencing.

I’d like to take some time now to explore some of the characteristics of the old job search model that no longer work effectively, and then introduce some characteristics of the new job search model that are better suited to our time.  To keep it simple, I’ll focus here on how the model applies to job seekers.

That said, many principles of the old model I’ll discuss below apply to employers as well. You can check out a previous article of mine for more information on this.

The Old Job Search Model

The key aspects of the old model include:

  1. Relying way too heavily on both recruiters and resumes to get your foot in the door with an organization
  2. Using very dry and dense jargon to describe your career accomplishments and work experience
  3. Trying to establish a connection with an employer through your resume’s “Objective” section
  4. Finding a new job via the public posts on job boards and search engines
  5. The mindset that you will be at your current or next company for the remainder of your career instead of accepting the reality that you’ll likely only be there for a few years at best

The New Job Search Model

Key aspects of the new model include:

  1. Taking a more proactive approach to the job search, especially by optimizing your LinkedIn profile (94 percent of recruiters use the site to source talent)
  2. Using more direct language to describe your career accomplishments and work experience in order to engage the actual human being reading your resume or profile
  3. Using your LinkedIn profile’s “Summary” section to build immediate connections with readers through “I” statements, expressions of professional passion, appropriate keywords, quantitative data, and highlighted accomplishments
  4. Greater emphasis on social networking and online professional recommendations, in addition to other forms of networking, in order to attract opportunities to you

Overall, the new model is marked by an understanding and acceptance of the fact that times have changed, that job seekers must stay engaged with and educated on the new, contemporary strategies that are constantly emerging. Examples of such understanding in action would be keeping your LinkedIn profile updated and building a strong online professional brand to prepare for your next transition if and when that time comes. The point is to become the expert on your industry and career.

fieldWhat Recruiters Are Saying About the New Model

While writing this article, I had the chance to discuss my new model of job searching with Yaffa Penski, a recruiter and senior talent acquisition specialist at Peak Performers Inc. 

Penski confirms that LinkedIn is her primary job market source of new candidates. She spends an average of 10 seconds reviewing each potential candidate’s profile before making a decision — which is why she appreciates it when candidates use more direct and engaging language to present themselves.

“Given all the digital information we are now bombarded with in our modern day, coupled with the short time frame I have to sift through hundreds of candidates, I don’t have the ability to continuously digest the dense, verbose, and often complex language most job seekers use,” Penski says. “I find the best candidates can be brief, to the point, and quickly grab my attention. If they can use simple language and establish a better rapport through personalizing what they do [and] why they do it, and quickly follow with bullet points of relevant, quantifiable accomplishments separating them from the other candidates, I’m able to better understand what they are wanting and more likely to contact them if they’re a good fit.”

Penski also believes that many job seekers “don’t truly understand the impact and value of their LinkedIn profile.”

“In some ways, you can even say your LinkedIn profile is your first virtual interview,” Penski says. “If more candidates realized the power their profiles have on their job search, they would take the time to fill out or complete all the sections of their profile.”

One area where Penski sees a lot of mistakes: profile pictures.

“[A profile picture] is the very first thing I see or potential hiring managers see when searching for candidates, and it really can make an instant positive or negative first impression,” Penski says. “You don’t necessarily have to hire a professional photographer, but you can ditch the sunglasses or other props and take a simple professional photo. Nothing fancy.”

The moral of this story: If you’re still using the old model and not seeing results, you owe it to yourself to adopt the new model and start experimenting. You won’t get different results until you’re willing to do things differently.

Scott Engler is the author of The Job Inner-View  and Legends of the Recruiting and Career World.  Read his latest, The Problem and the Solution, on his website.

By Scott Engler