Few people look forward to a job search. A study 2021 of 715 American adults by the Pew Research Center found that half of Americans who were unemployed, furloughed, or laid off were pessimistic about future employment. A third said they felt more stressed than usual and 56% said they had more emotional or mental health problems while unemployed.
The job search has only gotten worse, with record inflation pushing more Americans to seek better-paying jobs, as well as recent news of hiring freezes and layoffs affecting multiple industries.
As a career coach who’s worked with clients who went on to work at companies like Amazon, Blue Origin, and IBM, I’ve seen these trends unfold in real time over the past few months.
If there’s one thing I hope to leave you with, it’s this: a directionless job search where you simply play the numbers game sets you up for rejection and self-sabotage. My job search checkpoint methodology has helped countless clients of mine get hired at top companies without applying for hundreds of jobs. Here’s how it works.
What is the job search checkpoint methodology?
We all know Albert Einstein quotes how insanity “does the same thing over and over and expects different results”. But why do so many of us fall into this trap when looking for a job?
We realize that over 100 applications sent through Indeed get us nowhere, but we wake up every day and keep applying. We land those first round interviews, only to not hear back for the second round again and again. But how often do we actually take the time to pause and consider our progress?
That’s why I like to equip my clients with this graphic to help illustrate the process:
Remember, if something isn’t working, you have to resist the temptation to dig your head in the sand and keep moving forward with the status quo. Instead, take a moment to pause and pivot if your strategy proves unsuccessful.
Checkpoints 1 to 3 and critical steps to follow
There are three main checkpoints to consider when evaluating the success of your job search.
Checkpoint 1: I’m applying everywhere, but I’m not getting interviews.
If you’re not getting interviews, the first question to ask yourself is whether you’re applying for the right jobs. In my personal recruiting experience, many candidates don’t read job descriptions and meet less than 60% of the listed requirements for a position.
Applying for many positions leaves you with no time to personalize your CV and cover letter, which are crucial steps to stand out. Think of your cover letter as a movie trailer and your resume is the movie. A cover letter is meant to summarize your experience and grab people’s attention. If someone just read your cover letter and never looked at your resume, would they think you’re a good fit?
When it comes to your resume, evaluate every point about your experience and make sure it doesn’t just say what you’ve done, but also addresses How? ‘Or’ What you did it, Why you did it and What past. If you’ve done market research, don’t just say, “I created a survey.” Quantify it. Was it a survey of 50 or 5,000 people? The context and scale of what you have done is important.
Checkpoint 2: I book screening interviews, but I can’t make it to the next round.
If you’re going to interviews but aren’t getting offers, consider the good news first: Something about your resume and LinkedIn profile is creating a strong enough first impression to land you interviews. . However, while your resume gets you the door, your interview is what gets you hired.
When considering your performance in interviews, think about both what you talk about (the content) and how you talk about it (your delivery). When it comes to content, ask yourself if what you talk about in interviews matches your resume.
It can be useful to have examples of work or a case study presentation to highlight during your interviews. Write an effective case study is about harnessing the power of storytelling to communicate the full context of what you’ve been working on. Your case study should serve as proof of your skills and experience. Think of it as evidence in a court case, and in this situation the people being questioned are the jury.
Finally, it’s important to consider how you speak, your confidence, and your body language during interviews. All of these things contribute to people’s overall impression of you. One of the best things you can do is record yourself doing a mock interview. To do this, try using Google Maintenance warm-up tool or a self-registration tool like Loom. Although it may seem awkward, just listening to yourself answer the questions can help you quickly identify areas for improvement. For example, you might find that you speak very softly, say uh Where Ias a lot, or give endless answers.
Checkpoint 3: I go through several rounds of interviews, but I don’t get any job offers.
It’s natural to be frustrated when you go through multiple interviews and don’t get an offer. However, it’s still cause for celebration: you’re one of the small percentage of candidates who made it this far. Of course, it’s a gut punch when you get that email letting you know that a company has decided to go with other candidates.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not always a reflection of your skills and experience. Often it is simply a situation where other candidates have checked more boxes than you. Take the time to think about the types of jobs you are applying for. Do you have experience in another industry or niche that you may need to broaden your job search?
Another major mistake candidates make in interviews is not being prepared with questions about the position or the company. Not asking questions can give hiring managers the impression that you aren’t very interested in the position. Interviews are your chance to interview them as much as they interview you, so spend 15 minutes preparing questions you might ask about the team, product, and/or culture.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on why you didn’t get the role. Companies can’t always give you a specific reason for legal reasons. However, you might receive valuable information or realize that there were factors beyond your control. The worst that can happen is that they don’t provide feedback. So why not ask?
Although the job search can sometimes be painful, we have the power to pivot and redirect our search. If you take the time to think about what you could be doing wrong, it will open the door to your personal and professional growth.