I was silently hoping that someone had finally sprayed enough insecticide on the pests that continue to propagate terrible job search advice. Alas, plenty of evidence of their insidious and obnoxious existence still emerges regularly.
There are a number of sources in my local area that sponsor workshops, seminars and other events directed at job seekers. From what I can tell, the vast majority of the sponsors and presenters have literally zero relevant background to justify providing such content AND it shows. But, hey as long as they are building their brand and branding themselves up as experts, no one needs to bother being concerned, right?
They think and manage to get their unsuspecting prey to believe that they are being helpful and offering something of value. The problem is the general job seeking public seems to have lost its collective ability to use critical thinking and common sense when vetting vendors and others that are dispensing these so-called solutions as valid advice and relevant techniques.
One example I’ve noticed repeatedly is when these expertise-touting doucheneers try to convince job seekers to come up with some gimmicky item or idea to lure prospective employers. It takes various forms, but the most common terminology seems to be the “special report.”
That piece of work is purported to guarantee that a candidate will stand out by branding their own expertise in a flashy presentation or document. Supporters and sellers of this tool convince a job seeker that they should prepare a proposal on how well they understand their target employer’s business, outlining how they plan to come along and save the day. The content is based on the presumption (as an absolute outsider) that that the job seeker has deep comprehension of what goes on behind the walls and closed doors of that organization and thus is superbly equipped to lend a hand to the executive in need of their expertise.
Packaging ready made recommendations to fix any of the (speculated) present business challenges and problems that are keeping the top executive decision-maker up at night is the goal. Putting it all together with charts, graphs and colorful images to be delivered right to the executive’s hot hands is the next step. Then they simply picture that executive dialing their number with a lucrative job offer before getting to page three. Voila! Instant success for all involved…
A LinkedIn discussion the other day provided another primo package of solidified slime. A person posted that they (or someone on their behalf) had sent out 1500+ resumes since December 2011. If that isn’t the perfect example of spam peddling, I don’t know what is!
Visualizing an optimistic person seeking a quick and painless job search eagerly listening to the spiel from some huckster promising a miraculous result from a pathetically flawed approach comprised of resume blasting is just sickening. Wham, bam, thank-you, ma’am! Now just sit back and wait for the job offers to flood in…
While I’m all for differentiation and distinguishing one’s self and taking a more creative, even assertive approach, I have yet to learn of any specific verifiable examples of these particular unsolicited methods actually producing a job offer in the way that the promoters of this concept seem to imply.
To show how some things never change, I’ve included a previous related post from ERE, July 2010 below
Special report or cleverly packaged spam? posted by Kelly Blokdijk, SPHR on July 8, 2010
A career and branding expert presenting at an event I attended this week suggested that job seekers differentiate themselves by sending key decision makers in their target companies a "special report." The idea here was that they were to research the company's issues, challenges and problems and then formulate a proposal to solve them.
The glossy printed, multiple page, spiral bound special report would contain colorful charts, graphs and diagrams to show the person's level of expertise on that particular subject-matter. Supposedly, upon receiving this document the recipient would be so impressed that they would create a position and hire the author of the special report.
My questions to those of you involved with hiring processes - anywhere - are:
I suppose anything is possible, but I have a hard time imaging that this technique would be effective except in extremely rare cases. From all of my experience in HR and talent acquisition, anytime, anything remotely identifiable as unsolicited job application related correspondence was received, it was immediately passed on to HR to process and/or dispose of, as applicable.
The expert touting this type of job search strategy apparently charges people several hundred dollars to help them prepare and distribute these and similar types of "branding" materials. They claim that their clients have been successful using these methods.
What do you think: is this something "special" or cleverly packaged spam?