Ahead of the crowd?

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This is what good jobs are like, right?


One of the most important parts about scoring an epic job, you learn, is to set yourself apart from the 800 other jackasses who applied as well. And in any blog, article, book. etc that you can find there is usually this piece of advice: “Make sure you follow up with the potential employer and go by their office after sending in or dropping off your application/resume. This lets them know that you’re serious, interested, and reminds them that you’re there.”

I used to be a store manager. I did the interviews, I read over the applications, I called the applicants. Everything. What struck me? Good availability. The ability to spell. Not too many jobs in too short a time. If all that was there, I would look more deeply at the information and then call for an interview. Since they applied, I knew they were interested and probably serious. Frequently people would come in and ask “Did you get my application?” or say “I want to follow up on my application” and then hand me a resume. 9 times out of 10 I found this to be annoying. The more a person came in to ask, the more pissed off I got. Yes, love the enthusiasm. Good for you, you want to work here. So do a lot of other people. If you fit the criteria, I will call you.

I see this at my current job, as well. When I have to call a manager to the front so someone can say “I wanted to follow-up on an application” they almost immediately get dismissed.  Do you think my manager remembers that person when they are going over applications much later on? Or even an hour later? Probably not. They have stuff to do and things to take care of. That application is the last thing they are thinking about.

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Here’s the other thing about it. If everyone is reading the same literature urging them to show up in establishments and offices around the nation to show how unique and interested they are…doesn’t that make them just like everyone else? Wouldn’t that make them instantly more forgettable because they blend in with the other 20 people who showed up that week to check in on an application?

Frankly, I think it’s a relatively out-dated bit of advice. I know a few people who swear that every job they ever got was because they went in and talked to the boss-man about their application. They promise it like it is some sort of voodoo magic. And my response there is, did they tell you that the only reason they called you was because of your apparent “initiative”? Or that the reason they asked you to come back later for an interview was because of that special bonding moment? Did someone flat out tell you, “God, I thought your application was boring and stupid and I had it in the throw-away pile due to the fact that you were unqualified and under-educated and there were like 6 other people I liked better. Then  your shining face showed up and I thought WOW I HAVE TO TALK TO THIS PERSON THEY ARE SO INNOVATIVE.” Or are you assuming that one action compelled another to happen because you have been told your whole life that this is how you get a job?

I’m not trying to be cynical here (I never have to try, I just am) or put anyone’s experiences down, but I think a nicely worded email or letter a few days after applying thanking the person for their consideration is the most that should be done, really.  And that’s for a really nice job you really want. I think a whole bunch of people crowding into an office trying to do a follow-up is daft.

But maybe I’m wrong. Has there been some scientific discovery proving that showing up and rubbing hallucinogenic drugs all over the boss’ desk so they hire you really works? Or are the days of “pounding the pavement” at an end in favor of the so-called (in the 90’s at least) internet highway?

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Dude, this is the road you took to get here? You're hired!

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