Does the Job Search Have A Secret Menu?

Did you know that the restaurants you go to might have secret menus? From In-N-Out to Starbucks, KFC to Panera, and probably dozens more, there are plenty of things available that are not on the menu.

I could talk about how this relates to the hidden job market, but you already know about that.  I want to talk about something else.  First, a story.

Years ago we got an ipod. This was back in the olden days, with a simple little screen and a scroll wheel. It was fun to learn how to navigate around the device, but for the life of me I could not figure out how to turn it OFF.  There was no power button!

Some of you know how to do it… it took me a while (and a google search) to figure it out…. all you do is hold the Play button down for two or three seconds and it will power down.

When I learned this I remember thinking “what a stupid way to turn it off.” Seriously, one of the dumbest things I could imagine… take the button that makes all the music come out and if you hold it down long enough, power the device down?  Ridiculous.

Of course, Apple’s objective was to reduce the number of buttons (for aesthetics and to have less moving devices to build and maintain). And of course, everyone on the planet had figured out how to do it. Apple had a way of making unintuitive things intuitive.

There seem to be a lot of secrets to Apple’s interfaces… I’m not in on the secrets, but people figure it out.

I’ve seen this in the job search… there seem to be secrets of HOW it works, and a lot of people (me included) have a hard time figuring them out.

How do people figure out the secrets?  They ask others who have been there. They ask experts. They do a lot of listening and a lot of fumbling around.

It’s critical to understand that if things aren’t working then perhaps you aren’t doing the right things… perhaps there are other things you should do.  Secret things. Hidden menu things.

Let me let you in on the secrets:

  1. There are no secrets. There are plenty of books, videos, blog posts, etc. that spill all the beans. All of the secrets are out in the open.
  2. Some of the most effective things are… well, hard. How many informational interviews have you done recently? How many will you do in the next couple of weeks? Most people will answer none and none. What is your ratio of phone calls to jobs applied to? I bet it’s super low to super high. Why? Because it’s easier to (excuse my honest) hide behind job boards and applying online than to talk to humans and have the right conversations.
  3. The effective job search tactics that are right for one person might not be right for you. We tend to look at what others are doing and want to emulate them… but that might not be the right move for us. Tactics depend on your industry, level, location, network, etc. There are a lot of similarities in tactics but be aware that doing what others do might not get you what you want (that is, a job!). My observation is that too many people are not doing the right (or good) things in their job search.
  4. People are anxious to help you. It might not feel like it but people really want to help you…. just ask.  But you must be ready to weed out the good help and good suggestions from the bad ones.  Why is it that we are so anxious to help others, but when it’s our time to get help we are shy and embarrassed to ask?

There is a job search secret menu that is as secret as the restaurant secret menus… just find out where it is and then dig in!  Don’t think, though, that the secret menu gets you out of doing hard work.  But at least this hard work should get you closer to your next job!