I hear this from a lot of people:
“There are no jobs…”
And then they add:
“They don’t get back on my job applications… When I get a response, it is usually a rejection…”
When I ask them how they look for a job, the answer I get is that they look for job postings and send their CV’s.
You will be eliminated 93% of the time when you apply to a job posting*
A company receives hundreds, thousands of applications**…
An HR expert has to go through all the applications in a short time and come up with a shortlist of candidates. He runs against time therefore he needs shortcuts. One of the shortcuts is to scan the CV’s for the competencies and skills that are required in the job posting. He throws away the ones that do not contain those words. He can then give a bit more time for the rest of the CV’s, which is not more than a few minutes**. Your CV has very low chance to get picked in this selection. You have to know exactly what they are looking for and demonstrate it on your CV and/ or your credentials should be very known and valuable.
(If you are an international candidate, it is highly probable that you will be eliminated at this stage because your university is unknown, the companies you worked for were local at your home country and unknown to HR, your local language skills are not perfect-maybe you applied with a CV in English to the job that was written in local language…)
If you pass this stage and get selected to this shortlist, the first step might probably be the Interview with HR and you might be eliminated with similar reasons without getting the chance to speak with your future manager.
Or you get accepted
An alternative story or continuation of this one above could be this: You start working for a company who had you in their shortlist and you passed the last interview. You got hired but you did not have any desire to work there. Where did you desire to work? You never thought about it… Or you assumed that could never happen…
How could you have changed the scenario?
You could have decided on where you want to work and what work you wanted to do. You could have talked with people who did this work to understand better what the content of the work was, which knowledge, skill, competencies it required and what problems awaited solutions. Then you could have researched at which companies you could do this work and which companies appealed to you (based on your values, your development possibilities and work environment). You could have found contacts or contacts of contacts that worked in these companies. You could have reached the manager of the team you would like to work through your contacts and introduced yourself, told how much you would like to work there and how you could create value.
Ask for help
Don’t say it is impossible to reach to people like the manager of the team. You can see how you are connected to anybody on LinkedIn. (In Germany and German speaking countries Xing is as popular as LinkedIn if not more). You can ask people you know to introduce you to their contacts. People love helping if you formulate how they can help you concretely (And if it doesn’t require too much effort). If you feel uncomfortable asking for help think how you would act. If somebody asked you “I would love to work in this company. I saw that you are connected to Mr. Manager. Could you introduce me? I would like to ask him a couple of questions.” wouldn’t you help him out?
Don’t only ask help but offer help yourself. Cultivate the mindset of helping someone out whenever you can. You will deposit to the “love bank”, the universal goodness by helping out and asking for help will get easier and normal for you.
You will get much more information than you could ever get
By reaching out to companies, employees and managers of the teams you’d like to work for, you will be leaving anchors in the minds of many people and they will be your agents. They will know who you are and what you are looking for so they will contact you right away when they know about a new opening.
Most of the job openings don’t get published at job portals. Some are just being opened; some are filled with internal transfers, some through personal contacts and some through headhunting firms. You will learn about these job offers through your contacts, which you could have otherwise never known that they existed.
I know first hand that it is possible
I found my job like this. I was working in Turkey and had a contact in Munich, Germany. I told him that I would love to move to Munich and asked if he knew any jobs I could apply for. We had a call where I told him what I have done so far and what I would love to do. He forwarded my CV to the manager of a team but it didn’t work out. He then offered me a job in his team and modified the conditions for me. I went for an interview, got the job and moved to Germany. I would probably still be in Turkey right now if I hadn’t asked him. Just one question, one request opened many doors for me.
Many people I know made career transition like this. I have seen new positions opening just to hire the person. Everything is negotiable when you win people over. But you have to start contacting them first.
Currently the people that want to hire you do not even know that you exist. Will you leave your future to 7% chance*?
What kind of work do you want? Which field, doing what? Which companies offer this work? Which companies appeal to you most? Check your contacts. Review your best friends, friends from university and school, ex colleagues, relatives, people from the last workshop you attended, friends from gym… Who work there? Call people doing the work you love and ask them how it is actually doing this job? What are they busy with? What are their biggest challenges?
Do your market research. Learn the market, customers, and competition. What can you do in this work? What value can you create? What can you do differently? What changes when you join the team and how can they trust it? And why does this work excite you?
Ask yourself these questions. Your answers to these questions will get you the job. Update your CV and motivation letter with the cues from your answers. You will give your extensive answers in the interview. The first step to that is getting invited to an interview. Ask your contacts to introduce you to people with the hiring decision power, tell them why you want it, show your motivation and your spark.
If you don’t find anyone that can introduce you, look for ways to contact the manager directly. Reach out on LinkedIn, call the headquarters and ask to get connected. Don’t give up, stick to it but always find the most direct communication that shows your personality and motivation. Don’t e-mail your CV. Call, record a video, personalize your message. Create interest, so that they will want to meet you. So that you can show your magic in the interview!
The shortest way is to find ways to get an interview with the manager that has the power to hire you directly using your contacts. It is the most effective but the most effortful. But don’t we have to put effort to anything that is beautiful?
*According to the recruiting trends of 2017 in Germany, a company received 2.480 applications in average, only 170 contracts were signed. This gives us a success percentage of 7% when somebody applies for a job. (And 93% of the applications were rejected.)
** One recruiter here wrote how he evaluated the CVs. He spent on average 5-7 seconds, yes seconds to decide on a CV. You see in this article that he also talks about what the criteria are to reject the application. He just considers the relevant experience in the same industry and as the most recent experience. If you want to make career transitions, the classical job application will not give you any chances it seems.