Archive for December, 2002

I have gathered an absolutely staggering amount of information on the art of job-hunting. Like many other things in my life, I am a virtual expert….without ever actually having done it or been successful at it.

In fact, I decided I should write an article for the Greenville News Career Builder section entitled “What is you job-hunting IQ?” Here is the article:

What is your job hunting IQ?

Job-hunting 101 is not a class I ever had in school. I’m not even sure it is a class, but it should be. The average person goes job-hunting 8 times during their career. It literally pays to know how to find a job.

It isn’t as intuitive as you might think. The skills needed to be a mechanic do not necessarily serve you in finding a job as a mechanic. The most qualified candidate does not always get hired. The best job hunter does. So what should you know about job-hunting?

Employers want a resume right? Not really. Companies use resumes to screen people out, not screen them in. On average you have to mail out 170 resumes to generate one interview. Often as many as 500 people respond to a classified ad. Because of the volume of resumes employers receive; they may look at each one for only a few seconds. Most of us simply do not have the writing skills to compose a resume that stands out in a crowd of 500.

Is the Internet a good place to find a job? Not really. Less than 10% of on-line job hunters land a job through the Internet. Out of curiosity I registered with every major job board on the Internet (6 months ago). Number of responses to my resume and job applications: 0. On a positive note the Internet is an invaluable research tool for investigating companies, preparing for interviews and finding salary information.

What about headhunters and employment agencies? People do get jobs this way. After all, if headhunters never placed anyone they would go out of business. However, the businesses pay the bills for the employment agency, not you. They have little incentive to place you in a job; they want to fill jobs for businesses.

Knowing all this, does anything work for getting a job? Well, most job search methods have low rates of success, but low does not mean zero. Using 4 methods with a 10% rate of success gets you up to 40%. If you play that game long enough, you eventually win.

Of course, there are techniques to increase your chances. Talk to the person in the organization that has the power to hire you. Impressing anyone else is unlikely to get the results you want. Target small companies. Experts have claimed for years that small organizations create two thirds of all new jobs. Competing against an international pool of applicants for a Fortune 500 job will always be an uphill battle.

Not surprisingly, one of the most successful job-hunting methods is asking friends and family for leads. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a job. Keep in mind that only 10% of job openings are advertised to the public. Friends and family can help you compete for that other 90%.

Most job-hunters don’t do much hunting. They apply for anything that seems bearable, let a company pick them, and do most of their research after they are hired, only later finding out they “picked” the wrong job. U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate that 40% of all new hires leave within the first six months.

The most successful job-hunters and headhunters advise actually hunting for a job. Write down on paper what you are good at and what you would like to do. With that in mind, target 5 to 10 companies you want to work for, regardless of whether or not they have any known vacancies. Oddly enough, this is the most successful strategy for finding a job. Forget what’s available; go after what you want most.

In the end job-hunting is a numbers game. It is estimated you’ll spend one month searching for every 10,000 dollars you want to make. The number one reason people don’t find a job: they quit trying.

So how did my article work out?

It is as yet unpublished, which is to say that I am having the same success with writing that I am with the job hunt:

I am a virtual expert.

“Looking for work has become the new work.”

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Merry Christmas from me.
Our Christmas Tree, 2002.

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I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season. Christmas is always a fun time of year. I think the fact that no one has to work and everyone knows they’re gonna get presents is a very large part of that. But I’ll take it anyway I can get it. Actually, the tacky decorations and special music and colors and all those things specific to Christmas…they help too.

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I just looked at my email box. It has come to my attention that I suck at writing people back. How can that be? I don’t even have a job. Can I really make the excuse that I don’t have time?

There are 5 emails in the past week or so I just read and enjoyed and never responded to. Good emails. Someone that sat down at the computer and thought about me and wrote a personal note. Not just the normal: Hey. Just thought I’d drop you a line. Happy Holidays, XXX.

I’ve gotta do better. In my defense that is why I keep the website: so everyone interested can keep track of the stuff I end up repeating in emails. However, I recognize that my defense is super weak.

So what do I do? I just wrote a long email to someone that wrote asking for my mailing address and said nothing personal at all. Very smart Elliott.

Its been a while since I’ve written something sort of interesting. I’m actually in the process of writing 3 articles, which will be completed as soon as I finish gathering my thoughts on the respective subjects…..which is to say they may never get finished at all.

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I haven’t done much writing lately. I’m reading books again. It seems I always end up at Barnes and Noble….I never leave without buying something. And so I read magazines for free and buy coffee and books.

I do a lot of eating these days too. Or at least it seems that way. I probably don’t eat any more than usual, but because my days are filled with so little, I remember the few things that do happen. I haven’t gained any weight….yet.

I went out in Greenville last night. I saw a lot of people: A guy I went to college with that is a professional DJ now….a girl I went to high school with I hadn’t seen in 10 years. We ended up at her house at like 4 in the morning…..strange. I used to have a big crush on her too. Some people don’t age so well though (she was probably thinking the same thing about me).

I need to get a job.

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