Job seekers are laser focused on that last step, crossing over the line and landing on the new job. Success! The series of moves that each seeker makes during the search are often taken as a means to this end, not as a means of their own.
When I was growing up we had a game called Go to the Head of the Class and the board was set up as rows of school desks leading to the finish line, progressing through each grade. A player had to answer more and more difficult questions to move ahead. Other games, Chutes and Ladders comes to mind, have a more haphazard back and forth motion. Job search has similar elements – some steps seem to add up to something more, and others seem to land you at the top of a chute.
Job seekers see every step as leading to the job, though. The right resume will get the job. A well worded cover letter will get the job. Networking with the right person will get the job. Being prepared for the interview will get the job. When it is really a combination of each of these steps which will create success – and the combination is quite different for each company or position.
Plus many of these elements are not meant to get the job, but to get the seeker closer to the job. Networking will help you to build your identity with people at the company beyond facts on a paper. A clear resume, with pertinent skills will get you an interview. A well-constructed cover letter will reinforce the resume in getting an interview. And so on.
I said in the first paragraph that some of these steps – resume, networking, and cover letter – should be considered as means of their own. We don’t know which element will be the most striking for the employer, but any that are not thoughtfully done can be a detriment.
Successfully achieving a new job takes very different paths for each job seeker, what led to success for one might be a chute for another. We owe it to ourselves to own the strategy that we choose.
Beth Anne Reed has a background in Customer Relations, Process & Project Management and a deep interest in Written Communications.
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