J Patrick + Associates Blog

3 things NOT to obsess about on a job search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 @ 08:21 PM

As Executive Recruiters focused on jobs in the Information Technology sector,  J.Patrick works with many job-seekers these days who are unemployed, underemployed, or just plain "consulting".   We see that in many cases, due to feelings of loss of control and helplessness, and being action-oriented people (not to mention not having the workload, boss, water cooler talk, and career concerns of an employed person) jobseekers' Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder come roaring to life. Here are a few things to do your best to let go of...


Don't focus on the competition.

You can't concern yourself with who else is interviewing for the marketing job you are zealously pursuing.  Candidates ask us how many other candidates are interviewing for the job.  My response always is:  "Would you rather be the winner in a field of 100, or the loser in a field of 2?"

Does the hiring manager have enough information about me to make a decision?

"He has to hire me if he sees my genius <insert ppt, resume addendum, writing, video resume"> Candidates who try to correct any interview mistakes by pinging the hiring manager repeatedly asking to submit more materials are missing the point.  Managers have made their decision viz. your candidacy.  If they don't ask for more data in response to your tasteful Thank-You email, they are unlikely to want it.  And just like the in personal sphere, continued attempts at contact will move you into the creepy stalker category.

What should I wear to the Interview?

Recently I read an article on preparing for running a marathon.  Literally, on preparing for the NIGHT BEFORE a marathon, and it had a nifty checklist approach, including small details like "use 2 forms of alarms, such as your watch and the hotel wake-up service" as well as "pin your racing number bib to your shirt at night".  All this was so a) you wouldn't miss anything in the morning and b) that you would sleep well before the race. 

It reminded me of a candidate (an Enterprise Software sales rep I ended up placing in an Information Security sales job) who had the same approach: he had a dress checklist for interviews, and he had 3 interview "uniforms" (suite & tie, blazer & khakis, casual) that he never varied in any element.   This way he was not making himself crazy the night before or the day of an interview making decisions, which allowed him to focus on his interview game-plan.

The point is to focus on the factors and actions that are fully within your control, and that will make a concrete impact on your job search. Figuring out what levers to pull, which ones to ignore and which ones to surrender control of will help you feel more in control of your destiny.

Quality interactions with hiring firms and recruiting agencies:  strong, focused resume, cover letter, phone screens, interviews, follow-up email, writing samples, online presence (LinkedIN, FB, Twitter) and references.  Success in ths phase come from preparation, attention-to-detail, as well as soliciting and implementing input from others.

Quantity is the force-multiplier of quality interactions.  More touches with more employers will translate into better opportunities to meet with someone who can hire you.  As I noted above, this does not mean following up with HR or hiring managers to the point of begging for a restraining order.

Put these together and you'll uncover more opportunities to find that manager that requires what you have to offer.

Good hunting!


Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies