The information sources you use can determine if you get interviews, turn interviews into offers … or get ignored.
What information sources do you use for your job search?
Most job seekers use 3 common sources for information on employers:
- Job Descriptions
- Company websites
These three sources are the most commonly used sources probably because this information is easy to find. The job description is right on the job ad you’re applying to. A link to the employer’s website is likely on the ad also, or just a Google search away. Google has become our go-to first stop for information.
These three sources are easy … but how effective are they in helping your job search?
It might surprise you that these three sources of information aren’t as effective as you might think … they certainly are easy, but they just aren’t very good.
They aren’t effective because they are obsolete. Obsolete? How can Google or a company’s website be obsolete? How can the job description be obsolete – it was just posted today?
Almost all job descriptions are obsolete, most written many months ago, or even a year old. That’s a shocker to most job seekers, who try to customize their resume to the job description. It doesn’t matter if the job ad is from an outside recruiter or from the employer’s own HR department, job descriptions are almost always fail to reflect the hiring manager’s true current needs.
- New Positions: Except in really small companies (without a finance or HR department), most new positions are planned in the annual budgeting process. Hiring managers write up justification for new headcount, describing the responsibilities and qualifications of the new position – the job description. In most calendar year organizations, budgeting is done in August-September. This means that jobs you’re applying for today have job descriptions that are at least 3-4 months old.
- Replacement Positions: When employer hires a replacement position, the hiring manager usually forwards the prior job description to Human Resources. When this happens, the job description may be a year old or older.
- Why aren’t job descriptions updated? Few hiring managers update job descriptions because they are constantly changing. The hiring manager is busy doing their job, managing the department. New problems come up every day, and each day old problems are solved. As employees leave the hiring manager’s department, new skills are needed … but as other employees are hired or transferred into the department, some of those skills gaps are closed. Constantly changing the job description to reflect these constant changes for each position being hired would take a great deal of the hiring manager’s (and HR’s) time, without much value to the employer … because shortly after the job description was updated, underlying needs will likely change again.
You’ll find lots of information on Google about most employers. But let’s think for a second about what kind of information you see. You’ll see lots of information about the employer’s history and about what the employer has accomplished – describing problems he employer has already solved. Almost no employer voluntarily publishes information about its current problems – employers don’t want to disclose current problems to competitors, customers, or even shareholders. The few times you’ll see current information is when an employer has a PR crisis that hits the news.
Just like employers don’t voluntarily publish current information on Google, doubly so for the employer’s own website. Why would an employer want to discuss the challenges they are facing right now in their single greatest PR/Marketing asset? Instead, employers discuss their wins … the problems already solved.
Why does this matter to you?
You’ve seen above that it’s easy to find old information, describing problems that have already been solved.
But that’s not why employers hire new positions. Why would they hire you to solve a problem that’s already been solved?
Hiring managers have problems they are facing right now (and in the near future) that they need help solving … that’s the reason they are looking for help. Do you think that describing how you’ve done the same thing as last year’s news or how you meet criteria that have already changed will cause a hiring manager to think – I need you on my team?
You need superior and current information:
To gain an edge in your job search, you need better information than your competition.
Most of your competitors for jobs look for employer information the easy way – Job descriptions, Google, and the employer’s website. Yep, the very same information sources described above as obsolete.
But you’re better than that and you’re smarter than that.
In an upcoming article, we’ll discuss where you can find superior information to learn what problems your target hiring manager is working on now and in the near future. These are the problems that drive hiring decisions, not problems that were solved months ago or skills gaps that have already been filled.
If you don’t want to wait, join my complimentary Resume Revolution! webinar, where we discuss sources of superior employer information.
Want to do more than just complain about a bad economy?
To attend our next complimentary live webinar featuring action items to double your resume response rate and number of interviews, plus live career Q&A with Phil Rosenberg of reCareered, register at http://ResumeWebinar.com .
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Phil shows you why your current job search strategies work against you and how to replace them with strategies that improve your odds. Phil provides you with research - cold, hard statistics provided by job boards and hiring managers themselves, to show you what works for you and against you in the worst job market in our lifetimes.
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