Hello fellow job-seekers, welcome to the madness that is March, and whether your resume is built to be a bracket buster or you’ve got the grooming of an employment Blue Blood, I’m here to break down your chances of landing a full-time job. My street cred for this adventure into Employment-ology comes from 30-plus job interviews during the past 18 months — at least half of which resulted in Final Four appearances and a handful of shots in the championship game. I know the heartache of not having your number called at all and the difficulty of being offered a job that you can’t take because it would require moving or some other factor that doesn’t make it a right fit.
With a tip of the hat to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the father of Bracketologythis time of year, let’s start with the top seeds. Call these the Dukes, Kentuckys and Kansases of our tournament bracket. Many of the folks who appear on paper to be stone cold lead pipe locks to find employment may not fare as well as they have in previous job markets. These traditional Blue Bloods are the people with amazing pedigrees (education and work histories), but when you put all their future pros together on one team they wilt under the hot lights of success. What I mean is this group is used to playing from the front. From the time they left school, finding work has been easy, but the new economy has them scrambling for the same jobs as the rest of the field and they don’t know how to dig down deep and compete in the trenches. Yes, I’m saying this is the year that a job-seeking 16 seed actually takes out a Blue Blood. And by 16 seed, I’m talking about recent college grads with great skill sets but little or no proven track record. These candidates are dangerous because they have nothing to lose and possess a style of play (re: social media) that traditional candidates might not be familiar with. They are hard-working, tenacious and not afraid to work odd hours, move across the country or start as a contract worker with only the hope of full-time employment.
To me the mid-major candidates of the job-seeking world are those who don’t have big name companies on their resumes. These folks have had to scrap and fight for everything they’ve gotten, but they’ve stayed loyal to their companies, and as a result they’ve been tested by fire giving them a toughness the Blue Bloods simply don’t have. They also have a work history that the newbies don’t possess. So mix a little experience and some good coaching and a mid-major candidate can prove to be a real bracket buster come hiring time. They are willing to work. Ready to adapt. And flexible enough to fit into the new economy.
This time of year people are always talking about bubble teams. Who are the next four candidates in and who are the next four out? That kind of stuff. The key to most bubble teams is intangibles. Those candidates who reach out to people they know at the businesses that they are targeting for jobs will have a leg up on the competition. It is unbelievable in this era of resume-sorting software how important it is to find someone on the inside to put a good work in for you. I’m guessing more than half of my interviews have come about because I’ve used friends, neighbors, LinkedIn contacts and former co-workers to reach out to someone at a company that has a job listing. The other intangible is to be tangible. First, have a LinkedIn profile, and make sure it looks good. Solicit someone with good proofreading skills to help you look it over. Don’t just trust yourself and your spouse if you haven’t been professionally trained. The second thing is to build yourself an online portfolio so that people can see your work. Weebly is a free and easy-to-use website-building site that you can learn in minutes. Regardless of your field, if you can point people to a collection of your best work, it goes a long, long way toward landing an interview.
So how will you win the Final Four of Employ-mentology? I’ve given you many of the keys that I have found helpful in landing interviews. Now it’s up to you to play the game, and hopefully I’ll see you cutting down the nets when you land your dream job. Good luck!
Happy job hunting, and you can read more of my own personal brand of blogging at Xogdog’s Blog or Running 4 My Life. Heck, if you need a blogger, check out my LinkedIn profile and drop me an email. Will blog for food!
Photo credit: Greg Peters