Anyone who reads my blog knows that I consider predominantly online job search efforts as a sole means of searching for a new job as only a half-hearted effort -- by limiting your activities you are limiting your potential for success. The more and varied effort you put forth the better your chances, it’s pretty simple. The other key factor is your level of urgency. Do you want a job; do you need a job? The answer to this question guides most of us and influences our actions, real or perceived. But here’s the problem I encounter far too often: most people plod around and while they speak about urgency, their actions do not match their rhetoric. Let me explain.
When you see a good job posted, I assure you that companies are deluged with resumes within just a couple of days. Indeed, so many resumes come in that HR will often take down the job post assuming they have plenty to choose from and, as such, within a few days that job post is removed – first you see it, then you don’t.
When you find a good job posting, one that interests you, you need to act on it and pursue it then and there – on the very same day. If you’re serious don’t think about it, don’t sleep on it or consider it, but do something about it. Now. I am not here to psychoanalyze the reasons and rationale about why people do or don’t do what they need to be doing. I don’t care, but I do know that the longer people take time to contemplate a decision, time’s ticking. However, in order to be able to react you need to have your resume or CV and a basic cover letter template (with a few adjustments to suit the situation) ready to go. Are you ready, do you have these things prepared to use on short notice? If not, why not?
Years after having served in the military, certain memories stand out in my mind. Others know what I am talking about - little things that stick with you for a lifetime, things that influenced you at a very personal level. And one of those is of a Drill Sergeant screaming at you from your very first day, saying, and I quote, “You better move like you've got a purpose!”
Furthermore, I have often observed human resources and office managers post jobs, then take down the post for a particular job in as little as two days, as soon as they have a handful of respondents they think sufficient to choose from. I recognize that what I am describing is not the case each and every time, but your mindset should assume it is so and that there is a very limited window of opportunity. So when you see something that appeals to you, that you feel is worthy of your attention don’t pine away, stop day-dreaming about it and do something, now.
When you are or will be looking for a job and you are serious, you have a purpose so what are you waiting for? When you see something that interests you, react within the same day. If, in your particular situation there is no urgency, I still suggest you apply quickly for another reason; companies look only until they find suitable and qualified candidates. If you arrive late to the party, it’s already over.
Let me share with you a prime example of unintended procrastination, but procrastination nonetheless. Recently, I was working on a search for a mid-level lawyer for a good-named law firm. I was referred to someone who is indeed a good candidate with a great reputation. I spoke with him 3 ½ weeks ago, a few days before he was leaving for vacation. Rather than provide me his updated resume and his approval to submit him for consideration he said he’d do it upon his return. Well, that was 2 weeks ago and after he returned he needed a few days to catch up on work, but he shared with me that during his vacation his level of interest had increased and he’d get something over to me soon. That brings us to the beginning of last week when my client called me and said they were satisfied they had enough candidates and closed the process for additional candidates (you see, during this time I was still doing my job, continuing to speak with and recruit others because the process nor the hiring manager was taking a vacation). To make a long story short, the person who was too busy missed out and was surprisingly disappointed. Sadly the person who was too busy was indeed a better candidate than the person selected and hired. But, in fact, was he better? I suggest the better of the two was the person who wanted it more and demonstrated their interest in both word and deed.