Most job hunters are anxious to land their next opportunities. But in case you happen to be one of those rare birds who enjoys being unemployed, here are seven things you can do to make sure you stay that way:
1. Never bother to write a cover letter. Only about 50 percent of cover letters ever get read. So why take the trouble to make a thoughtful bridge between your resume and the particulars that an employer advertises are necessary for a successful candidate to possess? If you don't bother to make the case for why you're a great fit for a given job, you can fool the resume screener into thinking that you really aren't the right person.
2. Create a bare-bones resume. It's OK to mention your skills and list of a whole bunch of random keywords, but don't even think about explaining how you used them to solve problems or get things done. It's fine to assume that if you've had job titles like "Project Manager," "Marketing Director," or "Software Engineer," everyone will immediately intuit what you were responsible for doing, how you did it, and what results you achieved. Remember, people will judge you by the length of what you write rather than the content of what you put on the page.
At the top of your resume, list an objective where you emphasize your narrowest possible range of jobs you will accept, rather than conveying the value you could bring to any employer lucky enough to get you.
3. Avoid people with whom you have things in common. Forget about going to college alumni association gatherings, or professional groups where people in your industry or with your skill set will congregate. By all means, don't share your experience with other people who, like yourself, are in the same process of job hunting. After all, someone from your past might remember you, or a new acquaintance might figure out that you would be a great fit for a friend or colleague of his or hers who is looking for an employee just like you.
4. Scatter your resume far and wide. Get on to those job boards and just apply to any and every job you can find. It's all a numbers game, right? Go ahead and apply to jobs at much higher levels that your experience warrants, or in industries that sound "cool" but which you really don't know anything about. Barrage them by sending your application in every day just so it gets noticed. For kicks, send your resume in for entry-level jobs like the one you had 25 years ago, because you don't really want to stress yourself at a higher level. It's all about what you want, and not what they want to see in a candidate, right? If you apply for enough jobs, one of them is bound to come through. No need to think about who would look at your resume and immediately understand, "this is just the kind of person who could help us get to the next level as a company."
5. Don't take the time to figure out which recruiter would value working with you. It doesn't matter if they're a large agency or a boutique shop, what field they specialize in, or who might actually have had experience working in your field before they went into recruiting. A rose is a rose is a rose, so a recruiter is a recruiter is a recruiter, right? And everyone knows that all recruiters are sleazy, so don't worry about having any integrity when working with them, because it will never be appreciated or reciprocated.
6. Avoid participating in social networks like LinkedIn. Even if someone ropes you into setting up a LinkedIn profile, don't complete it and keep it really vague. Don't mine LinkedIn for information about what firms near you are hiring. Keep your knowledge to yourself, never answer questions that people pose, and don't participate in Group Discussions.
7. Forget being respectful in an interview. If by chance you follow all these suggestions and still somehow wind up at a job interview, don't worry about putting your best foot forward. Be evasive in all your answers to their questions, look out the window at the view rather than into the eyes of the person or people you're with. Tell them about all the bad things you've heard about their company, and while you're at it, make some kind of bigoted remark about people with disabilities, or whose accent, skin tone, or religious beliefs just happen to be different than yours.
Of course there are many other things you can do to avoid getting hired, but this is a really good start.
However, if by chance, you really do want to get a job where you can put your skills and experience to use and make a difference for your next employer, just do the opposite of everything described here and you will be well on your way.
Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.
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