Stay humble, or get humbled. - Jocko Willink
I can't find a job. I've done all the postings, I've done all the resume cleaning. I've applied for dozens of what I thought were good fits. I had a seriously disappointing number of interviews. I've done it for months straight, 8 hours per day.
It's like there was a black hole all my work went into.
I feel rejected. I feel terrible. I never want to apply for a job again.
I need money. I need to pay bills. I am deeply afraid of the consequences of running out of money. The fear is paralyzing, leading to inaction where it matters and activity where it doesn't.
Driven to humility, I started the search again. I googled: "example software engineer resume" without the quotes. The first link from uptowork.com describes a system to embrace with humility.
Read the article - feel the burden lift. Feel that yes you can do this, you have something to offer.
Use the tool, make a first pass at a cut and paste replacement of the descriptions of the various entries. Get encouraged.
Now you know the goal:
Create a system for testing resumes that work, in order to help others.
Write down the exact steps here. Create a lever you can pull. A series of instructions so well defined you can outsource the mechanics of the job search. The goal is not to find a job, the goal is to create a system for testing resumes that work.
Make this a gift to your future self. For your children. For anyone who is hurting and has been paralyzed by fear of failure.
You can't be afraid and grateful at the same time. Choose gratitude. Be grateful that you get this opportunity to write down the tactical and strategic details of your job search that will help others you love.
Now you're starting to see all of the opportunities staring at you. They are truly aligned with your skills, you can legitimately have something to offer.
You're excited again. Don't get bogged down in perfection. The ideal job is the one that takes the least amount of time. There is no job that is a substitue for your identity, there is no perfect fit that you must achieve.
Here is the workflow and timelines to follow to keep your momentum going: 60 minutes: Make a single master resume that lists all of your accomplishments, using the templates from the uptowork articles. This is a first pass, not an exhaustive list. This is to learn the patterns of production - do not get bogged down in making it perfect. 15 minutes: Find one job that looks like a fit. Again, it doesn't have to be a perfect fit. The goal at this stage is action. 30 minutes: Make a single master cover letter based on the cover letter tool from uptowork: Cover letter software engineer: https://uptowork.com/blog/software-engineer-cover-letter-example Also available in contents/files of this repository 10 minutes: Follow their applicant submission process for the job. If it's an email to jobs@company_name.com: Subject: (Job Title) - Nathan Harrington Body: Copy and paste from the body of the cover letter. Attachments: Cover letter.pdf Resume.pdf 5 Minutes: Create a Tracking document with the columns listed below. Save the file as "Job Search with Gratitude.csv" Keywords Source Company Job Title Submitted Date Path (email, or ATS) Automated Response Human Response Phone Call Skills Test Online In Person Interview Offer Notes
Now as you look at other job opportunities, follow this pattern:
Given a new job posting that looks like a fit:
15 minutes: If it's not within daily driving distance, it needs to be a 7/10 fit or better to continue this process. You don't want to move, but you don't want to waste peoples time either. If it's a very high probably of fit, then you would at least seriously consider moving at the end of the process. Think deeply on your skills and experience. Read the job opportunity and decide which of your experiences apply. Add a resume item to the master resume that is a reflection of that interplay. If you're looking for ideas, look back through your online profile. Restore old backups. Re-immerse yourself in the sights and sounds and the benefits to the business that those activities provided. Creat a single work experience item based on the project. For example, if you had a project that took a few months and exactly fit the requirements they are looking for, add that as a work experience item on the main resume. That is the success they want you to repeat, so give that a full 'experience' run down. They want to hear more details about exactly the work you have done that will help them. This will rapdily fill the master resume with a wide variety of projects that you have worked on, in detail. Add a start and end date in year, do not include months 30 minutes: Do something else not job search related - anything else. This is critical to break you out of the perfection-inaction loop. 15 minutes: Clone the master resume. Change the resume title to have the job title in it Change the personal info->Profession to be the job title Change the summary to be tailored to the job description. Remove any non-relevant parts of the experience that are not tailed to this job. Choose just the work descriptions from each company that apply. Delete the rest. Update the skills section to match the job posting. Only spend 15 minutes on this. You must complete this in 15 minutes. Again, it's ok if its not perfect. The goal is to break out of the depression-induced inaction cycle. Download the PDF, save as: FirstName_LastName_JobTitle_Resume.pdf for example: Nathan_Harrington_Scientific_Applications_Resume.pdf 15 minutes: Clone the master cover letter. Change the cover letter title to be: Job Title Change the "profession" to match the job title. Update the contents of the cover letter to match the job description. Save as: FirstName_LastName_JobTitle_Cover_Letter.pdf for example: Nathan_Harrington_Process_Engineer_Cover_Letter.pdf 10 minutes: Follow their applicant submission process for the job. If it's an email to jobs@company_name.com: Subject: (Job Title) - Nathan Harrington Body: Copy and paste from the body of the cover letter. Attachments: Cover letter.pdf Resume.pdf 1 Minute: Update the job tracking sheet
As you iterate through these steps, remember the goals:
- Collect data on which resumes work for which jobs.
- Create a system that you can operate that you can share with your future self, and anyone who needs it.
- Record the successes and the failures.
- Proceed in gratitude.
Does this work?
I followed the instructions above and had immediate positive results. The language and the layout updates to the resume as recommended by uptowork.com are a powerful differentiator. That's not the point. The point is to repeat this to collect enough data and get familiar with it. To write down the nuances of what it really takes to have good results.
Never struggle again. Never fail at this again.
Your professional training is not your identity. Fill yourself with gratefulness that you can use this process to help others. You're not struggling as punishment, it's training so you can help others.
They are looking for skills, and needs satisfied. Adapt yourself and your work experience to their needs. They are not hiring you, they are hiring for someone, anyone to fill the role. Put yourself in their position - they acquisition of talent is burdensome for most organizations, how can you meet their expectations?
This took approximately 30 hours total effort, including the writing of these systems steps and refining the approach as documented above. The results were 3 excited recruiters playing the usual games of leading you on, and 3 rejections, 1 in-person interview and 13 black holes.
The real point is humility works.
1 out of 20 applications leading to an in-person interview is a decent rate. Being able to do 20 applications with a 5% success rate with each taking less than 25 minutes is hugely successful. Then you can do one week of this effort, for 8 hours per day, and that should lead to 5 in-person interviews.
If you must attain a job. If you must re-engage with the risks of a workaholic prison, this is where to start. Write down what you do, write down what works with a focus on humility, on gratitude for knowing that you're in training to help others.
Take ownership: It is your job to make this process a success for you and for everyone else.