Stop Being a Lazy Job Seeker

Last Updated Jul 19, 2011 2:11 AM EDT

People who are laid off, often complain that it's that evil outsourcing that caused their job to go away. So, then, what do they turn to while searching for a job? Outsource the process, of course. Apparently, it's the American way.

The Wall Street Journal reports on several people who used such services to blast their resume to every possible job opportunity. Sometimes with some pretty laughable results. For instance,

When JobSerf six years ago first tested its service with a few U.S. executive clients, its Indian workers applied on their behalf to a number of adult-entertainment companies.
"They were porn magnets," says Mr. Martin. "They'd apply to CEO and CFO jobs at every porn outfit out there," says Mr. Martin. The company quickly taught the workers to avoid listings with "XXX" or "adult entertainment" in their descriptions, he adds

Of course, there are some successes, but by and large, this lazy way of job hunting shows that you are, well lazy. If and when you do get a call from a recruiter and you have no idea that you've applied to this job, you're going to look foolish. Your resume is going to get sent to jobs that you aren't truly qualified for or that you would never, in a million years, want to work for.

But, this isn't the only lazy way of job hunting. I got the following email yesterday (identifying information redacted to protect the stupid):

Subject: Pre-Sales Recuriter Request to Network
Recruiter,
I am currently seeking a Pre/Post-Sales Storage Solution opportunity in the [redacted] area. I bring more than 20 years of experience to the information technology projects and sales support. Currently I am a [redacted] responsible for storage and security configurations. My focus is on discovering and developing projects that provide high performance and high availability solutions in data protection, replication, disaster recovery, and storage virtualization.
I have an open network and I would like to add you to my LinkedIn network. Send me an invite I'd be honored to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. Network with me at [redacted]
Regards,
[name]
[email address]
[phone number]

Shall we talk about all the lazy that is wrapped up in that email? The spelling error in the subject line? The opening of "Recruiter" instead of, you know, my name? My name and email address are splashed all over the internet. If she found my email address she could have found my name as well. If that wasn't possible, she could have at least addressed it as "Dear Evil HR Lady." (That, by the way, is perfectly fine with me. "Dear Suzanne" or "Dear Ms. Lucas" is also fine.)

Then let's deal with the fact that I'm not a recruiter. I have recruited in the past, but I'm not one now. I'm not hiring anyone for any reason. I've never said, on the internet, that I'm hiring anyone other than a babysitter, which I hired and he's great. I'm sure this email writer did an email blast and hundreds of other people, whose email addresses she scraped up off the internet, got an identical email, spelling errors and all. My favorite part is her being "honored" to accept my LinkedIn invitation. Because I often send invitations to people I know nothing about, other than their inability to spell "recruiter" correctly.

Finding a job is hard work. Professional resume writer, Dawn Bugni, tells the tale of a frustrated job seeker who did the very lazy post-resume-on-big-job-board-and-wait approach to job hunting. While it's true that this method used to work quite well, back in the days of low unemployment, it doesn't work so well now. Dawn says don't bother posting your resume at all, but I do disagree with this advice. It doesn't hurt, even if it doesn't provide a guaranteed path to career happiness.

If you're looking for a job, it's going to be hard work. You'll do it better if you do it yourself. I give kudos to the outsourcing companies who saw that there are a bunch of desperate people out there and created a way to make money off them. Good for them. Not so good for the job seeker.

You can't just send non-customized emails to every HR person you find on the internet. (And, you shouldn't send customized emails to every HR person you find on the internet either. Unless you have a logical reason why they might want to receive your email, don't bother.) And posting your resume on a job board and sitting back will most likely result in you falling asleep, not getting hired.

What should you be doing?

Know every company you apply to. If you haven't at least spent half an hour looking around their website, don't bother applying.

Customize every resume/cover letter. 99% of the information can be the same from job application to job application, but it's that 1% that makes the difference.

Network, network, network. You are far more likely to find a good job through communicating with people you already know, or through their connections, than you are just sending your resume out to every company that has a job opening. Use those LinkedIn connections to find people who work for the company you are targeting.

Give a reason why you are sending an email or LinkedIn invitation to someone you don't know. This reason should not be "I'd like to add you to my network." Those get a delete.

Spell check. Enough said.

Treat your job hunt like a job. You'd expect to devote 40 hours a week to working, so devote that time to job hunting instead. The WSJ article made it sound like a big deal that the resume blasting service applied for 100 jobs a month. That's a little more than 3 jobs a day. Divide that into an 8 hour work day and you'll see that that is not that much effort.

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Have a workplace dilemma? Send your question to EvilHRLady@gmail.com.

Photo by kooklanekookla, Flickr cc 2.0.