Our new colleague had applied to 100+ jobs in the past few months, but it was useless. Absence of interviews made him to create his own method of applying. Here's the whole story:
“Over the past few months, I've applied to over 100 jobs (a conservative estimate). I was at times pumping 5 or 6 out per day. I got one interview out of all of them, which went terribly. A few weeks later I decided to try something new.
I applied to two jobs a week only. With each job, I'd take about three or four hours to research the company. I would write a completely original cover letter, tailoring it to the job description. If the job description was casual and quirky, I'd be casual and quirky. If it was serious, I'd be serious. I would include all of the keywords I saw in the description (research, writing ability, juggling multiple projects, etc) with specific examples. Then after I submit it, I looked on LinkedIn to see what 2nd and 3rd degree connections I had with that company, and if any alumni of my college work there, and email them for an informational interview. For all but the tiniest companies I was able to find at least one person to interview, and they all agreed to speak with me.
After around three weeks of doing that, I have six interviews this week, all for companies and positions I'm really excited about. 5 out of 7 of the companies I applied to using my new method called me for an interview; another one is from a recruiter who found me through one of the people I had an informational interview with. I also feel more ready for my interview because of all my research.”
What people say to this:
“As a hiring manager I can tell that people do not put this strategy & effort into applications. I get generic resume after generic resume, none of which tell me why the applicant is suitable for the position. The few occasions I get a cover letter, it's equally generic. The people who put a little effort in, really do stand out.”
“A good employer would know what they need to gain insight on first. For example, we don't always need to chase after personality and fit; but if the job calls for it, we define which specific traits or functional area to address. There are also a lot of validated assessments and hiring methods that can be applied for candidates to show what they are capable of. This way, the employer will have evidence of physical or documented proof of what exactly each candidate's capabilities and limitations are. They can use this solid information to make a more well-rounded hiring decision. However, if employers just rely on cover letters, where anyone can say anything, they can only make biased conclusions that are often inaccurate.”
“I've had two more interview since that post, one for a job in my field which was awkward and I didn't get it, BUT they said they liked me, and one for a part-time retail job to tide me over, which was actually very chill and I did get that one. I guess you don't get to be a manager in retail without having decent interpersonal skills (well, hopefully). The two who interviewed me were nice and I felt like we could have an actual conversation.”
“It's successful because it takes that much effort. The effort comes across in very subtle ways - most hiring managers wouldn't be able to put their finger on it, but the candidate just seems like a slightly better fit than all the other candidates in the pile. And it's not irrational for them to think so - after all, the essence of what makes a good employee is attention to detail and going the extra mile to get the job done. If you can put the effort into a job app even when there's no guarantee you'll get the position, you'll probably be able to put the effort into the job even when there's no guarantee that effort will pay off.”
“Getting a job is like playing the lottery. You can do everything right and follow every single piece of advice anyone has ever given you and still not find a job. The value of experiences and education has gone down. You have to be like a superhero to get a job these days. There are so many people applying for jobs that it's impossible to find one in your specific field. I think I'll join the navy or something.”
“I thought this was obvious? Of course you're not going to get called up if your application is the same for every job. If anything, you should have a different cover letter/resume for every job you apply for. I think the better tip is to first write a cover letter that seeks to convince someone why you would be good at that place in that position. Think of it as the first step in making the resume. It inevitably brings up points you would want to emphasize, how much you actually know about the job/company (and thus what you should research), and may even help you with the interview. Sorta the difference between giving a speech off the top of your head versus making one beforehand.”
Just a true-life story.