Job Hunting: More is Better?

Different jobseekers take different approaches to job-hunting. In sending out resumes, for example, there’s what we call the scattergun approach. If you fire enough shots, you’re bound to hit your target. Translated into jobspeak, if you send out copies of your resume to every company in sight, there’s bound to be one that will give you a call. This is the “more is better” mentality at work, and on the surface, it does look logical.

But is it? Let’s move to the other side of the fence: the employers. These companies receive anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand resumes per day. You read that right, a few thousand resumes per day. Why is this happening? Precisely because there are many jobseekers out there using the scattergun approach, applying for all types of jobs in Singapore. They’re sending out their resumes to every employer in sight, hoping to be spotted by at least one of these. But when you really come down to it, this approach is nothing more than a shot in the dark. Or rather, many shots in the dark. The chances of your hitting the target are very low. And to compound matters, the scattergun approach entails a lot of time and money on multiple copies of your resume and mailing expenses.

What you need to do is ditch the scattergun and arm yourself with a laser. You need to think precision. Laser precision.

If you want to market yourself, you have to think like a marketer. Imagine you’re running a store that specializes in high-end automotive products and accessories. Would you send out mailers and flyers to every household in Singapore? Of course not. You only need to think about how many households don’t own a car to see just how bad an idea mass mailing would be. Instead, you would identify who among these residents are seriously into cars. Then you would make your mailing list.

It’s the same thing with job application. There are numerous Singapore jobs available out there, but you need to identify which companies you really want to work for, and focus on these. Take a good look at the list of companies that could use your specific skill set. Be critical. Be discerning. Consider things like type of work, salary requirements, and location. Use your laser to scan the credentials of these companies. Remove those that don’t offer what you want.

After some scrutiny, you should be able to trim down the list. And then trim it down some more. And then some more.

Once you’re done trimming your list (like say, 50 preferred companies), your next step is to classify these companies into categories A, B, and C. Your “A” list is composed of your very top choices, the companies you’d most like to work for. The “B” list companies are your second choice employers. They are your alternative in the event that none of your “A” list companies gives you a call. The “C” list companies are those you’d least like to work for, but you could still consider as possibilities. You can think of “B” and “C” list companies as temporary stops before you hopefully get into one of your “A” list companies.

Your next step now is to send copies of your resume and cover letters to all the companies in your list. Customize your cover letters to suit each company. Research on their mission-vision statements, their areas of expertise, and especially their needs, and compose your cover letters accordingly. Note that this can be a tedious process, and at this point you might want to trim your list further. That’s up to you.

The first companies you will send your resume and cover letters to are the “A” list companies, since they are your first choice. Wait about three to four weeks before you send your next batch of resumes and cover letters to the “B” list companies, and another three to four weeks before you send to the “C” list companies.

Why the three- to four-week gaps? Because you want to give your “A” list companies a head start in getting in touch with you. If you send to all the companies in your three lists in one blow, you risk the possibility that the first ones to contact you might be low ranking “C” list companies. Picture this scenario: three “C” list companies and two “B” list companies call you within the first two weeks after you sent out your resumes and cover letters. You go to the interviews, weigh your options, and finally sign up with one of the “C” list companies simply because they offered the best deal. You get settled in your new job, then an “A” list company calls you. You could of course still entertain them, but working full time on your new job, you would have difficulty scheduling interviews.

Spacing out your deliveries will greatly increase your chances of getting the job you want at the company you want. As you go through this process, be sure to keep a record of all the companies that received copies of your resume, how many have interviewed you, and how many have made offers. Keep your “A,” “B” and “C” lists neatly organized. It’s especially important that you keep track of the “A” list companies, since these are your preferred employers. How many of these have scheduled interviews with you? How many have actually interviewed you? How many have made offers?

In time, you’ll have a lot of options before you. You’ll be able to choose from a good quality range of jobs Singapore has to offer, with a good chance that there will be a lot of “A” list companies among your final options. Making your choice will be just a matter of weighing all the factors relevant to you. All because you threw out the scattergun and aimed your laser at the best choice employers.