Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Definition of Insanity

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”….Albert Einstein

I speak to frustrated job seekers every day, people who have been looking for a career change for a while. Sometimes a month…sometimes over a year.

In particular, older workers blame a broken system and age bias. I agree…the hiring process in most companies is dysfunctional. There is age bias. It’s unfair.

But this broken system can give the smart job seeker an unfair advantage. Would you like to know how to exploit the cracks?

I’m surprised that most don’t. Many job seekers want to stay in their comfort zone of what they were taught many years ago, and what worked earlier in their careers -
before electronic resumes and CareerBuilder…back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Not only do many job seekers do the same thing over and over, expecting different results….when the going gets tough, they do MORE of the same thing, expecting different results.

These are some examples of insanity that continue to be used by many job seekers.

- Expecting a recruiter will do their job search for them

- Believing that your network will provide value to you, even if you aren't continuing to provide value to them
- Confusing a headhunter with a coach
- Continuing a job search strategy based on paper resumes

- Writing a one page, or even a two page resume

- Forgetting to describe how you've already solved a key problem your target company currently has
- Using your resume for more than a single job application
- Customizing cover letters, when they aren’t included in database searches

- Use LinkedIN to talk to someone about their company, then turn it into an ambush interview

- Forgetting that your resume is just one more email in the hundreds your network contacts get each day
- Go to local Chamber of Commerce networking events, but looking for a Fortune 500 job
- Poor use of Resume Real Estate

- Not describing on your resume why a hiring manager should consider you over thousands of competitors
- Writing your resume as an autobiography

- Placing too much reliance on your network
- Describing about what you managed instead of what you accomplished
- Mailing or faxing a paper resume

- Defining yourself as a generalist

- Blaming the system, instead of changing your tactics to beat the system
- Applying for more than 20 jobs per week

- Junk mailing or email spamming your resume
to thousands of recipients
- Forgetting that your voice mail is just one more voice mail in the hundreds your contacts get each day

Ask yourself honestly, are you using any of these?

If it’s time for you to stop the insanity, and change your tactics to try something new, we should talk.

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".


Tim Dineen said...

Well said. I couldn't agree more.

I've got a couple of friends who are currently seeking life-changing career moves yet they are using the same job search methods they used out of college 10+ years ago.

I've tried to give advice, to convince them to change methods or be more aggressive to no avail. Maybe I'll try calling their methods "insanity" and pointing them to this post will help.

Social Network Web Design said...

As times change, so does how a company screens and hire its as jobseekers, one must also adapt to the changes.

Julie O'Malley said...

Totally agree! The only point I'd argue is that customized cover letters are a waste of time. That may be true for mega-corporations and big, high-tech businesses. But the majority of people work for smaller businesses (the ones in those local Chamber of Commerce meetings). Those businesses don't have all the fancy-schmancy resume databases and keyword scanners.

When there's a live human reading your application, a cover letter can make ALL the difference -- especially if the hiring manager is one of those "insane" types who still think such things matter ;)