If you’re one of the lucky ones (and have a holiday today), I hope you are enjoying your time off!
There’s no better time than the present to think about your next career move. So often, we’re held back from making a change because of excuses.
If Christopher Columbus had wanted to come up with excuses not to sail to the new world, I’m certain he could have thought of a few things. But, in the end, he was brave. He beat such odds that we’re still talking about it today.
I meet job seekers daily who have one hundred reasons why they can’t get a job. The short list of reasons is:
- The hiring manager doesn’t like me.
- The hiring manager is biased toward me because I don’t have the right degree.
- The hiring manager thinks I’ve been at the same company for too long.
- The hiring manager wonders why I haven’t been at the same company for longer.
- The hiring manager thinks I’m too old.
- The hiring manager thinks I’m too young.
- The hiring manager only wants to hire women.
- The hiring manager only wants to hire men.
- The hiring manager thinks my last job was irrelevant.
- The hiring manager thinks I’m underqualified.
- The hiring manager thinks I’m overqualified.
You get the idea.
What’s interesting is this. Because of our “apply online” culture, my guess is that if you gathered one hundred job seekers in a room and asked who exclusively applied online for the last job they applied to, one hundred hands would go up.
If you put a group of HR managers in another room and ask them how many of those one hundred online applications they had seen, I bet that very few would raise their hands.
I don’t claim to understand why applicant tracking systems don’t work, but the fact is, they aren’t great. And, most HR professionals will admit this. Applicant tracking systems are software, and like any other kind of software, they have downsides.
In reality, only about 15% of people land their jobs through the online channel. Yet, we’re all applying there (because that’s what we heard we’re supposed to do). And, when we don’t hear back, we rarely think the reason is because applied online. We think it’s because the company has a bias toward us. We develop a long list of reasons why the company didn’t pick us. When in reality, the reason is that they didn’t know we applied.
If you’re ready to find a new job this Columbus Day, it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Do apply online (so you can check the box and say you have). Then, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know anyone at the company?
- Can I find the hiring manager online?
- Can I e-mail the hiring manager directly?
- Do I know anyone in human resources for the company?
- Is there any place where I can network with people from the company?
Did I ever tell you – When I was a student at Pepperdine, I snuck onto the UCLA campus to land a job interview at The Gap? That’s a story for another day, but the point is this. Often times, applying effectively requires us to really get outside of our comfort zone.
Unless we’ve had a background in sales, cold calling on people isn’t a skill we have. It can be uncomfortable, unnerving, and can even feel rude at times. But, when it comes to looking for a job, you’re both the product and the salesperson.
There’s nobody who can find you the right job but you. And, there’s no one who knows what you have to offer better than you.
So, be brave. Be willing to set sail, even when you don’t have all the answers. Even when you feel you might fail. You just might like what you find on the other side.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.