Sure it's obvious to decrease low gain activities, and increase high return opportunities. But what are they?
Low Gain Activities:
- Scattershot approaches: This is obvious - right?
- Sending too many resumes: If you don't have enough time to heavily research targets and customize resumes, you are sending too many resumes.
- Cover letters: Only 4% of your audience actually reads them. Focus on the 96% for better odds (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/12/is-your-cover-letter-obsolete-tradition.html).
- Spamming your network: Poor response rate with the added benefit of disenfranchising your contacts make it not worth your time.
- Asking contacts to pass along your resume: Thanks to employee referral programs, passing along your resume gets you no more recognition than if you just applied online, a high percentage of the time (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-employee-referral-bonus-programs.html).
- Spending more time talking: Talking in job search is much lower gain than listening (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/04/does-your-job-search-strategy-include.html).
- WIFM: If you don't understand WIFT (What's In it For Them) and only talk about WIFM (What's In it For Me) your odds are low that you'll attract employer interest (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/03/job-seekers-tell-your-readers-wift.html).
Concentrating your job search on high return activities gives you the biggest bang for your buck and makes your job search go faster. These activities have the highest odds of leading you to an interview, and making the best initial impression to make you a high ranking candidate.
High Return Job Search Activities:
- Customized Resumes: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/09/differentiate-your-resume-with-winning.html
- Gaining inside information: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/11/guerrilla-job-search-tactics.html
- Networking efficiently: Utilizing your network to pass along a resume or to find out if there are openings is a low odds activity. Using your network to gain information is a much higher odds search activity http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/04/why-good-career-changers-are.html.
- Research extensively before sending a resume: The average candidate spends 30 minutes or less researching a company before sending a resume. Successful candidates spend hours researching before sending a resume. The more you can learn about a company (including inside information) before you send a resume, the more you can stand out - making research a very high gain activity (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/05/4-killer-ways-to-use-research.html).
- Send fewer resumes: So you can spend more time on the higher odds activities of heavily researching and customizing each resume you send (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/candidates-send-fewer-resumes-best-of.html).
- Focus on unadvertised market: Only 20% of the job market is advertised, and that 20% is the most competitive. Focusing on the 80% unadvertised market creates much better odds (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/05/3-ways-to-leverage-job-boards-and.html).
- Send Thank you notes: This often overlooked activity can go a long way to differentiate you in the job market and it takes so little time (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/03/thank-you-how-to-make-impact-in-5.html).
Think about your own job search. How much time do you spend at low gain activities? How much time could you reinvest into high gain activities?
Readers and recruiters - Did I leave anything out? Do you have suggestions of high or low return activities that you can add?
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