Don’t Apply For That Job! Prepare First and Fill Your Pipeline

Don’t Apply For That Job! Prepare First and Fill Your Pipeline

Fire, Aim, Ready. I have been a hiring manager for more than 30 years and I have received way more applications from unqualified candidates than I have for qualified candidates.  This happens regularly with internal candidates (within a company) as well as external candidates. 

Are you aware that RAA – Random Acts of Application – could be tracked by an automated corporate recruiting system and, as a result, you could be black-listed from applying further?

Job applicants practicing those RAA often apply for numerous opportunities but don’t keep track of each one, fail to follow up and never learn what works and what doesn’t.

My solution? Spend the time to do your research and identify the right job opportunities, then apply for those jobs. Let’s get the order right: Ready, Aim, Fire!

Two Big Tricks:

1. Learn How to Use Job Search Engine Functionality.

Before you get started, make a list of the job search engines that track the kind of jobs you are looking for (check out the list I’ve put together here). Take the time to go to each search engine’s “How To” section and learn how to do great advanced job searches. It will save you time and help you find the right jobs for you.

Many job-related websites offer “personal job agents” – automated search tools, NOT real people – that can help automate your job search. Tell these agents what type of job you’re looking for and then the agent will send you an email whenever something opens up in your field.

The quality of these so-called agents varies widely, with some sites offering little more than per-category RSS feeds.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, an XML-based standard and format used to distribute recent news and other frequently updated content.  Other sites charge a bit of money and may even claim to have an actual human doing the work for you.

2. Capture the Opportunity.

Don’t just fire off an application when you see something that interests you. Copy the opportunity into your CTC Job Tracker and keep hunting for more opportunities. Searching for opportunities and applying are two different activities, and job seekers often make mistakes when they try to multitask.

When you go to each source, identify the best jobs for you. By “best,” you need to consider three things:

    • Are you qualified? Do you have most of the skills that the job description asks for? Remember, nobody has all of the skills, so don’t worry if you have some skill gaps. Your next job will be a great opportunity to learn something new, too.
    • What do you want? What day-to-day functions do you want to do going forward? How do you want to spend 8 hours a day? What kind of work do you want to avoid?
    • Does it meet your goals and personal criteria? Geographically, can you get to and from work, or can you afford to move on your own, if needed? Rule: don’t apply for something that you would need to decline if you get an offer.  

I know you are eager to send your résumé for the next job posting you find.  But don’t. Think, Prepare, Act. Best of luck!