In applying for jobs, choose quality over quantity

April 12, 2010

A basketball coach of mine once said that practicing your jump shot 10 hours a day won’t make you a better shooter if you do it with your eyes closed. If you are going to put the time into working at something, make sure you are doing it with the right fundamentals.

Hard work is only half the battle. You have to work hard the right way. Too often, time spent on job searches goes unrewarded because the wrong approach is taken. This is a pitfall especially for recent college grads feeling their way through their first job search.

My advice is to focus on quality, not quantity. Tailor your approach to each employer. Many candidates frustrated with the lack of interest from employers talk in terms of hours spent sending resumes and the number of resumes submitted.

Don’t assume that if you send hundreds of resumes a week, someone is bound to call. Sure, you might get lucky. You also might swish a 3-pointer with your eyes closed every once in a while, but would you bet your employment on it? Limit yourself to applying to no more than three to five companies in a day – maybe even just one. Key in on each one with a targeted resume. Follow up. In addition to making a better case for yourself in every attempt, follow-up calls will become a more manageable task – not to mention how much the extra research will build your repertoire of talking points for calls and interviews.

It takes only one interested employer to start your career, and you’re more likely to land that one if you put your best foot forward every time. It’s easy to be impatient when you want a job, but think of the long term. In one month of this approach, you will have a good number of solid resumes and cover letters floating around out there rather than hundreds of weaker ones.

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