Modern Job Search

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Focused job searches get better results

by Kurt Schmidt

Everyday Career Advice That’s Not Everyday: Target Your Search – Don’t Apply to Everything!

By In Blog, Everyday Career Advice On July 16, 2019


This is a partial email conversation with a candidate I’m working with and marketing.  He sends me job leads to explore on his behalf via my network, which is something I do a lot of and I’m good at. He’s definitely qualified for this job but statistically it’s a reach since there’s an industry mismatch and relocation involved.  Here are my (unfiltered) thoughts:

“Of the 193 applicants that applied in the last 6 days, how many will be from automotive companies, either OEM’s or suppliers? Do automotive manufacturers prefer to hire from within the automotive industry? (Yes.) Probably at least 10% right, so that’s almost 20, which, from a hiring – processing standpoint is already a pain; and that’s eliminating 90%. You have to consider the odds!”

“It is always important to be brutally honest with yourself about the viability of your experience and any given position in the context of the number of applicants within a certain time frame. This is not meant to be critical, rather to ensure that you/we always use our resources (time) in the best way possible. You should focus all of your efforts into only looking at jobs to which your experience very specifically applies or is beneficial and then personalizing your approach to each of them. For example, we should look at all of the companies that compete with any of your previous employers and all of their suppliers, customers, and competitors. We also might look at smaller companies where your broader experience can be really applicable – we just have to find a) a better one than where you are now and b) to be honest, one that will use pay a recruiter!!!”

“Things are just so competitive that the only way to cut through is to spend your time doing research. Look for more than just more jobs but also people to talk to at these companies – even before there are jobs. Instead of blindly applying, spend your time figuring out who’s who and crafting messages. It’s tough. Nobody wants to read anything or do anything and everyone is always too busy, until maybe one day, somebody isn’t too busy and we find something. This is how I make a living… it’s frustrating though.”

There.  That’s real world advice.  No bullshit.

Kurt Schmidt is the author of “Modern Job Search” and the President and Owner of Capto Systems, an executive search firm focused on supply chain and strategic sourcing jobs in manufacturing and energy. 

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