Is the advice from career experts based on facts?

Aug. 10, 2022

You shouldn’t believe everything you hear and when it comes to tips and tricks on job hunting there isn’t any difference. After doing a lot of research to build Job Hunty I truly believe that we are being lied to.

99.9% of statistics are made up

There are tons of statistics going around that 70% to 85% of jobs are found through connections. When looking at these articles they never really go into detail about where these figures come from. There are no references or links to studies. I did find one link that claimed that in 2016, 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection but what does that really mean? I have no doubt that Linkedin has access to this data even though they are probably somewhat incentivised to promote the fact as their whole business model depends on making professional connections. But let’s look into that fact with a bit more detail. 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection does not mean that they got that job through a connection. It just means that they knew someone at that company. In fact they might not even know someone as we all know that linkedin connections are often accepted even if you don't know the other person. If you consider that a lot of companies have thousands of people working for them it is probably not even that rare that you have a connection at a company where you start to work.

An anecdote that I have is that when I ask my colleagues how they found the job most applied to the job like any other job. It was not through a connection. So the 70% number to me at least anecdotal seems high.

So why is the advice from career advisors to concentrate on networking a problem? In itself it isn't but if it means that you are ignoring other ways of finding a job it is.

How many jobs do you apply to every week?

Researching this blog I have done many interviews with people looking for jobs and it was a common theme that I found that they were not really applying to many jobs. 2 or 3 a week was normal which I found absolutely shocking in this day and age. We now have remote working so you potentially can be applying to 100s of jobs a day. Only applying to 2 or 3 a week when you do not have a job seems shocking to me.

Do you customise your CV and Cover Letter?

When asked why they were applying to so few the answers were often that it takes a long time to apply as each CV and cover letter had to be customised. I will not argue that customising a CV and cover letter is worse but I will certainly argue that if that is the reason that you only apply to 3 jobs a week then you would be far better increasing that number and sending the same templated CV and cover letter to everyone.

Don't give up before you start

Another excuse for low levels of applying was that the jobs specified experience or skills that the job searcher didn’t have. Again I would argue that instead of autofiltering you would be better off just applying to more. I certainly found in my own job searches that often companies that I didn’t expect asked me for an interview and vice versa companies where I thought I was a great fit ghosted me.

It is extremely similar to a sales person who makes no sales but only contacts 3 potential clients. It doesn’t matter how customised his pitch is or how well he thinks these three potential clients are “validated” with only 3 contacts their chances are low. You’ve got to fill the top of the funnel.

Improve your job hunt through measurement

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