To ensure they make the “Best of…” lists that appear on Monday, advertisers plug in as many pop references and celebrities as possible. After months of effort, the spots are presented to the “judges” on the world’s stage, 30 seconds at a time.
For some, the investment is well worth the effort – their brand gets a huge boost in recognition and sales; some even rise to the top. Others spend a lot of time, energy and money – and fail to impress… sometimes miserably. (Remember Groupon’s ads from a couple years ago?)
How does this scenario compare to your job search?
You spend months perfecting on your resume, often bringing in the best minds within your sphere of influence (usually a significant other, roommate or parent). You scour the web for resume templates and accompanying cover letters for what you believe the audience will most appreciate – complete with buzzwords and influential name-drops. When you’re sure your presentation is complete, you submit to the judges: the gatekeepers, recruiters and human resources.
After all this effort, if the judges don’t view you as the best – and place the other contenders well above you on their version of a “Best of…” list – you’ll need to try again. And again. And again.
To carry this analogy further…
Do you think the companies whose commercials get widely panned this year will use the same agency and talent for next year’s Super Bowl? Not likely. They’ll bring in new creatives, experts and support teams. They’ll do much better research on what works and what doesn’t. They’ll learn from their mistakes.
They won’t fail again.
If your job search is struggling, and you consistently find yourself falling short as a would-be contender, you may want to take the same approach:
- Using someone other than your significant other, roomie or mother for review – repackage your resume, cover letter and online presence
- Consult a professional career expert to help with your interview techniques and to introduce best practices that work in today’s competitive job market
- Before submitting even one more application, research the company and the hiring manager/recruiter – learn what works for them, and what doesn’t – and customize your message accordingly; perhaps even build a networking relationship with someone already working at the company
- Quit beating your head against the wall hoping “this one will be different” – it won’t, until you make it different – by learning from your mistakes
Don’t go into your next “big game” with yet another message that won’t appeal to the audience. Prepare now – start over if necessary, again and again. The next time you interview, you just may find yourself on the “best” list.
About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Switch and Shift, The Daily Muse and Under30CEO.
Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2012”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!