Why the last thing you should do when looking for a job – is apply for a job

The perhaps somewhat confusing statement came about a few months ago when Neil and I were chatting in the kitchen of the The Generator. 

We had been talking about the challenges that people face when trying to find work, especially straight out of university and this sweeping statement turned out to be our closing conclusion. 

“The last thing you should do when looking for a job is apply for a job”

Let me unpack how we got to this point…

When you stop to think about it, the moment a job vacancy goes live, the chances of you being ‘seen and heard’ by a company nosedives due to the mass of people sending emails with questions and applications.

HR and managers will be bombarded with similar looking CV’s and cover letters. It becomes so much harder to stand out and have your true potential value recognised. You just become another name in the hat.

We therefore suggest taking a different approach. Try turning your focus to companies that inspire you, companies with cultures that resonate with your values, companies who are building something admire.

Next – email them saying something to the effect of ‘I love what your doing, I’ve would love to learn more about what you do and also do you think you will have any job vacancies coming up in the next few months’ 

I tried this towards the end of my time at University, when I started feeling the pressure of ‘what next’. I was surprised at how many positive responses I got. I was either invited to have a phone call, to send my CV or even on some occasions to go into the office to meet them in person. I learnt so much through this process about different company dynamics and job roles that I didn’t even know existed.

People will be flattered that you took the time to reach out to them, especially if you do your homework and have some knowledge of the company. Getting in touch without a live vacancy also shows that you care about where you work and that you have taken time to find them for reasons beyond a vacancy post on indeed.com. Finally, it also shows initiative, it shows you are self-driven and curious. This in itself goes towards making a great first impression and opening doors and conversations. 

Whilst I appreciate that this strategy is harder when you have the pressure of paying bills and supporting yourself, from my experience of job searching i really believe that it’s an avenue worth considering! 

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