I found a great post by David Meerman Scott (highly regarded in the marketing and PR space) titled When failure is cheap, why not give it a go?
He starts his post talking about his daughter applying to universities… in the olden days the application process was tedious and costly. Today, his daughter can easily apply online… and her application tendencies are more of a “throw mud on the wall” approach than what his approach was, which was more planned and calculated.
He specifically talks about job seekers, and how this applies to us also:
“Some idea is at play for job search. It is so easy to search for openings on online job boards and company web sites and then just zap over your electronic CV even if you’re not qualified. In the old days of paper it was more difficult to find out where the openings were and to actually apply required writing a cover letter, licking stamps and whatnot, so fewer people applied for positions.”
I am sad to think job seekers are sitting at home applying like crazy to job after job after job for a few reasons, but when I read this I realized that not only are you applying against other qualified applicants, you are applying against people who are completely unqualified but have a few minutes on their hands.
Optimistic view: yes, you might stand out more since you are actually a better fit,
Pessimistic view: my heavens, the candidate pool is MUDDY since it’s too easy to apply. You are less than “just a number,” you’ve become, along with the others, a nuisance 🙁
David says: “The web has developed a culture of planning for failure”
Isn’t that interesting?
Yes, plan for failure, embrace it, move on from it… but don’t throw a bunch of mud on the wall and hope something sticks.
Read his entire post here, it’s great food for thought.
6 thoughts on “Plan for Failure”
I heartily agree. The clutter surrounding resume submissions online is a huge barrier to getting a job. Since just 8% of jobs are listed somewhere online and that venue is packed with the millions of other job seekers, I tell my clients to limit their time online to 8% of their day, max. Much better use of time is defining a clear ‘brand’ that distinguishes your offer, targeting ideal organizatons, and effectively networking into that organization, especially those with employee referral bonuses. In the end, you may apply online as a last step, but hopefully you’ll have insiders waiting with baited breath for your application.
This is, of course, why I am not a strong advocate of spending a lot of time applying for jobs online. First, the pool is definitely muddy and the people looking for applicants are bound by things like, “year of experience” rather than successes..
Reading Rework right now by the guys at 37Signals. They strongly advocate that when you are looking to hire, the cover-letter tells you more about the candidate than the resume. I tend to agree. You can better show how you think and provide 1 or 2 examples of projects that were successful.
Focus and research will always win the day against “throwing mud against the wall.” Job hunting
is not about the job hunter but rather is about the
prospective employer’s needs. Answer the needs
of the employer and you get the job, not maybe
answer the needs or answer part of the needs
but focus on generating a resume that has a high
degree of success answering what the employer
wants. It’s that simple.
I found something online yesterday that dovetails nicely with this. Wall Street Journal article by Scott Adams who draws/writes the cartoon Dilbert.
I found a link to it at lifehacker.
Here is a direct link to the article:
thx for the comments everyone.
Brad, that is a brilliant article – I love Scott Adams stuff… thanks for sharing it!
Made sure I save a pdf version of it on my laptop. I don’t often do it unless I think it is significant.
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