The advice to relentlessly start applying for every job advert is really poor guidance. Unless you do not have a job, are absolutely desperate and you’ll genuinely take anything (and I mean anything), then this is a bad strategy.
You may have been given this advice or straight out disagree with me on this point. In this post I will explain why it is such bad advice.
Again, if you are genuinely desperate and don’t really have a choice but to take anything you can get then this is the one instance where you should just go for it. Let loose and apply for the lot. You’ve got nothing to lose if that’s the case. That’s not really the point of this post though. The point is concerned toward the advice and/or assumption that this is a good strategy under normal circumstances.
Who gives this advice?
I’ve heard the odd recruiter give this advice. I know that the centre you go to if you are looking for a job (the official type one, but I won’t name them specifically) gives this advice. And I have heard a number of people on LinkedIn videos and blogs give this advice. Therefore, it is understandable that if that many people in those positions of influence give this advice that people believe it to be true.
Why is it bad advice?
To explain, consider this analogy. “If you throw enough sh!* at a wall, some of it will stick”. But this isn’t random nonsense that isn’t important. You’ll spend a considerable period of your life at work. Why go about it like you’re picking numbers for the lottery?
It’s just a job
If your expectation of work is that it’ll be unenjoyable because that’s what work is, you need to open your eyes and raise your expectations. The only people I know who think like that end up wafting through life, blaming everyone else and everything else for all that’s wrong in their lives. They’re the type of people who resign themselves to the odd glimpse of joy in their self-imposed misery. Trust me, do everything you can not to end up like that.
One of the first lines spoken in the Martin Scorcese film, The Departed, sums up the correct approach you should use. “Nobody gives it to you. You have to take it”. Obviously, take out the robbing, stealing and murdering activities of the film. The point being, that is the approach you should have when it comes to your career. Nobody does give it to you. You have to seek out and take the opportunities.
But how’d you find the opportunities in the first place?
First off and let’s get to the elephant in the room. If you didn’t do well in school, you’re probably giving yourself a steeper climb than those who did. That being said, I left school with 3 C grade GCSE’s and two of them were in Science. I was hardly the brains of Britain or Child Genius was I?
The reality is that a schooling education simply means where you can get your foot in the door. That’s all it is. The better you do, the more times you get your foot in the door. But it’s just one route and don’t be that blinded dummy who stops there.
If you are graduate from Oxbridge or a barely GCSE passed snotty nosed kid, you will face the same basic career obstacle. I call them Stepping Stones. In simple terms, to get where you are going you need to navigate a few stepping stones along the way.
Know where you are heading
The problem, and I’ve written why education is behind this in a previous post, is that education both academically and socially is pretty antiquated and ineffective in answering this. Our schooling system is flawed in so many ways. How many kids leave school not knowing what to do for a career? And how many are only doing what their influences have led them to presume is what they should be aiming to do? How many people then find themselves 10 years later stuck in a rut doing a job they dislike, but have to do because they have bills and commitments? I’d argue way too many people find this the case. And that is why our education system is horrendously flawed.
How’d you find what you want to do
If you are reading this post still, then you are probably doing the first thing correctly. Asking yourself questions and looking for answers. In the nicest way, you need to find your own path. If you want a career that you enjoy, then look for what it is that you want to do. Don’t resign yourself to doing something that you are only there because you have to be or need to be.
And this brings us back to the original point. You first need to understand what it is that you want and focus on applying for those kinds of roles. Your stepping stones mean that you will find yourself doing something that you don’t want to do in order to be able to reach the opportunity to do what you do want to do. Therefore, be tactical about what you are applying for in order to open up the opportunities in future to do what it is that you actually want to do. And that is why the advice to apply for every job advert is bad advice.
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