Do You Remember the Days Before the Internet?

I do.  It was many eons ago in a land far, far away.  I’m probably revealing my age right now, but I pulled out all of my typed (by electronic typewriter) cover letters and resumes from post-college job applications.  How did I find the jobs to apply for back then?  Did I write each cover letter over and over again by typewriter?  How did I submit resumes before email?

I barely remember the answer to these questions; but as I pondered it, the information came back to me.  Here are the five steps I took.

  1. I went to the public library and used the typewriters or computers (as they became more readily available) to update my resume and cover letter for each job.
  2. I went to the store to buy fancy paper and envelopes.
  3. I travelled to the copy store and copied each version of my resume and cover letter on a copier with my fancy paper.
  4. I went back to the library to type the address on my envelope.
  5. I went home to stuff the envelope, stamp it, and mail it off to the potential employer.

I took 5 long and involved steps to get a resume and cover letter out the door to send to a blind employment opportunity that I found through the newspaper.  That process was about as fruitful as sending in a blind application online today.

Somehow, it felt like the thing I was supposed to do when searching for a job.  How else did one find a job?  When you started out, it probably felt quite similar—whether you used snail mail or the Internet.  The only difference with the Internet is that it only takes 1 step and you don’t need to go anywhere.

My job search formula was 5 steps = much work = no ROI

Today’s common job search formula is 1 easy step = very little work = no ROI

Now take the 5 steps from my younger years and try something else.  Write an email to an old colleague in your field.  Message a LinkedIn contact who knows people in your field of interest.  Find a conference in your field and meet 5 people who might help you find work.  Keep going.

Here’s the new formula: 5 action steps = leads = interviews = jobs

Now I like that formula much better.

Stats Rule

I love statistics. It makes things that feel murky appear tangible.  They provide a foundation for my actions and help me think about things logically.

Here’s a stat for you.  Only 4-10% of job seekers find their job through an online search.

Yes, you read that correctly. Out of every 100 job seekers, only 4 to 10 of you will land jobs through an online application.

Now wait just one minute here.  Am I trying to tell you that those 100+ mind-numbing hours of eye-bleeding Internet searching were in vain?  Well, yes and no.

Your time spent online should give you a sense of what jobs you like and want to pursue. You can also use this information to gather data about the organizations and companies that are hiring and have jobs in your area of interest.

However, you need to make connections through people.  Jobs are won and lost through people and not machines.  So take those next 100 hours, use the data you’ve collected and reach out to as many people as you can through LinkedIn, email, phone, friends or any other means you can think of.

If you are going to do this, spend your time effectively. Don’t bank on being one of the 4-10. Instead, be one of the 90+ people who find their jobs through people.

You never know who is out there waiting to connect you to the next job.