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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


Job Search Tip: Step Back and Slow Down


Every now and then I come upon a blog post or article that says exactly what I want to say only better. This excellent post on Career Realism does exactly that. It’s as though the blogger has been listening to me talking to my clients!

A gentleman contacted me recently who had been running a small IT department for several years. His company had announced that everyone’s hours were being cut and layoffs were coming. He had been looking for jobs, applying to anything and everything that he felt qualified for. In an effort to connect with as many employers as possible, he had applied to over 200 job postings, but had yet to get a single response. Feeling frustrated and concerned, he wanted me to give him feedback on what he was doing wrong. After a brief discussion, I learned he hadn’t completed the strategic phase of his job search and explained that until he did so, he would continue to have dismal results. He immediately became defensive, “That’s ridiculous. I’m about to lose my job and need another one to pay the mortgage. The last thing I should be doing is taking my time figuring out who I am and what I want. It’s simple: I need a job. That’s it.”

I talk to these people too. They are in such a hurry that they don’t think they have time to do any groundwork. But this is a trap. If you’re in a hurry – SLOW DOWN! Just for a week or two, Take time to figure out who you are, what you have to offer and who can use you what you have to offer. By doing this you’ll actually speed up your job search in the long run. Check out the 5 questions suggested by this blogger (I’d love to say his or her name but I can’t because they are blogging under a pseudonym and I don’t know who they are).

“What are some examples of how you are more successful than others in your field with similar experience?”

“How do you use your professional strengths to add money to an employer’s bottom line?”

“What industries or professions that could make good use of your skills in this economy?

“What are your minimum job requirements and how have they affected your approach to your job search?”

“Who are the companies you really want to work for and why?

Excellent questions! Answer those and you’re well on your way to knowing which companies and positions you should be targeting and exactly how you can help those companies achieve their business goals.

Read more about Job Search.

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About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

2 comments on “Job Search Tip: Step Back and Slow Down”

  1. Mark says:

    Ok, so if you believe we should slow down in our search, why are articles telling us that in some cases the earliest submissions, to the job post, get more attention?

    How do you slow down, but also get your resume (etc.) submitted in time for the Hiring Manager to take notice of you?

    I assume the answer is that your cover letter and resume will bring out the fact that you did slow down and answer the five questions.

    But then the opportunity has passed you by.

    In your HR Experience, how long are opportunities really accepting new submissions?

  2. Louise says:

    Hi Mark,

    I don’t mean slow down in applying for positions. I mean slow down right at the start. Too many job seekers just start applying for positions before they have clearly figured out their goals.

    A person who says “I want to be a marketing manager for a non-profit” has a much better chance of securing a position than a person who says “Just get me a marketing job – any marketing job.” It’s a perverse truth that when we narrow down our goals, we usually open up more opportunities.

    So when I say ‘slow down’ I mean take a week or two to decide who you are, what you have to offer and what type of organization you want to offer it to. Craft a resume, letters and an online presence that all communicate that message. Find recruiters in that niche. Research companies and hiring managers in that niche using social networking sites like LinkedIn (or just by googling). Find the job boards where those positions are posted.

    Lay the groundwork for a successful search in this way and THEN go full steam ahead with targeting those companies and recruiters. Apply as quickly as you can while still making sure your application is as good as it can be.

    Oh and don’t stop at applying for the job the way you have been instructed … find contacts within the company and get your resume to them any way you can. This is no time to be polite!

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