Isaac Morehouse on the State of Job Searches and How You Can Set Yourself Apart
What if you had an advertisement in Times Square for one day?
It’s a picture of you. It says, “Hire me to crush it for your company in sales.”
As crazy as it sounds, it’s easy to bet you’d get media attention, interviews in newspapers–and we’d bet you’d have companies looking you up, ready to see the value you could create for them.
You could try tons of experiments like that. You could see what you could do in six years for $100,000 to get the attention of a company you’re interested in to get your first job.
It’s true–the typical education-to-career conveyor belt idea is so calcified in most people’s minds. Yet it blinds us to the many amazing, creative ways we can crash the job market.
Companies are hungry for talent.
But instead of increasing the volume of the resumes you’re sending out or the applications you’re submitting, try increasing the creativity, the depth, the quality of what you’re showing them.
That’s what’ll make you stand out.
On the final episode of the first season of Career Crashers, Isaac Morehouse shares some thoughts on the state of job searches and how you can set yourself apart.
- What recruiters say will get a resume rejected
- The things recruiters really want to see when you’re applying to jobs
- How it’s not lazy to apply to fewer jobs–and why ten tailored pitches will blow away the response rate from a hundred resumes
- Approaching the job hunt with a new mindset
- Reframing your expectations–why no one owes you a paycheck, and how you have to do the work to prove you can do the work
- A great place to start (even if you’re not actively on the job market) to build a digital body of work
Connect with Isaac on Twitter here.
Welcome to Career Crashers, where we tell the stories of those who are not content to wait around following rules and hoping for good things to happen. Great careers aren’t found. They’re forged.
It’s time to crash the party.
Welcome to the season finale of the Career Crashers podcast, hey, there’s been a lot of fun.
In Season One, I think we’ve interviewed like 15 people, something like that. If you haven’t checked out all the episodes, go back and listen to them. They’re all absolutely awesome. We tried to make them really compact. So they’re like 1520 minutes max, really fun, interesting, diverse set of guests with very different stories on how they crashed their career.
And that’s really the whole theme here is, you know, coming in the side door, coming to the back door, crashing the party instead of waiting, putting on the right clothes to match the dress code and waiting for the guest book to be approved. crash the career party. And man, there’s so many ways to do that. I mean, it is so it’s so unlimited.
When you start to win, you start to think and open your mind up a little bit to the possibilities. You know, the typical education to career conveyor belt idea is so calcified in people’s minds, that it blinds us to so many amazing creative ways we could do things. So think about the typical person spending, I think the average now is six years in an undergraduate institution to get a to get a degree, a bachelor’s degree. And like, you know, five, six figures easily $100,000, let’s say, now you think about that, if the goal is to get a signal of employability, what could you do to signal better than that?
I saw a tweet today where some guys like, five good, well written cold emails will get you a better response than a degree listed on a piece of paper. I was joking with another friend of mine. Like, what if you took out? You took out a billboard for one day, in Time Square, I don’t know how much that cost in Time Square somewhere even less costly. That was just like a huge billboard of that picture that was like, hire me to crush it for your company. And sales is goofy and silly as that sounds, I bet you would get media attention. I bet you get interviewed in regional local newspapers.
And I bet you have companies coming to seek you, then you could try to hundreds of experiments like that, like what could you do in six years for $100,000, to get the attention of a company that you’re interested in to get a first job. If you’re telling me there’s literally nothing you could come up with, it’s better than sitting in a classroom taking tests and adding one bullet to your resume that says, ba? I find that hard to believe.
Now, if it’s human capital you’re after, and you want to learn things, again, there’s no better way to learn the skills you need faster and cheaper. I mean, really, you could you could work for free for 10 different companies for three months each, and still come out with a ton of experience. And a much better I mean, the amount of things you would learn, right?
So again, this is not like anti this or that approach to education and blah, blah, blah. It’s more trying to break out of this assumption that if you just kind of follow all the rules and check all the boxes, and then wait around, good things will happen. I have some really troubling but I also think encouraging statistics that my colleague Mitchell Earle shared with me on this stuff, so check this out. Here’s just a whole bunch of statistics, I want to hit you with average job seeker now spends three hours and 16 minutes a day, searching for jobs.
That is 44% longer than people were spending on average, during the 2008 recession 10 years ago. So during the recession, when employment was much higher, it was much harder, but people were still spending almost hit like hat right? 44% longer today than then and now there’s like no unemployment companies are super hungry, but it’s taking people forever. On average, a job offer attracts 250 resumes. Of those 254 to six will get called for an interview and one will get the job. That’s crazy, right? And the recommendation in this article, by the way, which was from talent works.com or talent dot works. They were like, well, I guess the recommendation is to cram more info in your resume and to apply to 150 to 200 jobs. Literally that was the recommendation.
I am telling you right now. And I know the average time searching for a job is around 90 days for candidates. If you’re spending 90 days and you’re spending three hours a day, and you’re applying to jobs where there’s 250 applicants, and only four of them are getting a call, what does that tell you?
No one is standing out. Instead of trying to increase the volume, try increasing the creativity, the depth, the quality. Check this out. Here’s what recruiters say we’ll get a resume rejected impersonal applications where they don’t list the hiring managers name. No thank you note, after an interview. resumes are not customized and tailored to the job. No cover letter. No follow up. I think about that.
This is 84% of people said of recruiters said the reason they reject someone 84% is because the application doesn’t have anyone’s name. It’s impersonal. So instead of blasting out 150 to 200, impersonal resume, and who can take the time to personalize more than just insert name here 150 applications or resumes instead of that approach? How about you do one 10th of that? How about you 15 to 20?
How about you take one hour every day, researching one company and putting together one pitch for them just an hour a day, a different company every day. You do that for two or three weeks, I guarantee you, your hit rate is going to dwarf what you’ll get for blasting out hundreds of resumes.
But here’s the thing. What keeps people from doing that? If this is if the bar is so low, that just putting someone’s name on the application makes you stand out from 84% of the other applicants and immediately puts you in the top 15%. why don’t more people do it?
Check this out. 76% of job seekers want to know how long it’s going to take to fill out an application before they start. And they don’t want to complete an application that will take longer than 20 minutes. So there’s this aversion to spending time and I get it, we all want to do things as fast as possible.
But if you thought if you approached the dating market this way, why don’t want to spend 20 minutes getting to know someone, I want to know right now how long it’s going to take for me to know if you’re going to go on a date with me. And I need to get figured that out in five minutes. Here you go. Here’s my list of reasons. I’m dateable. And I’m gonna go do that 200 times with 200 different people, and hope that I’ll get a real quality partner. Right, that’s crazy.
Take the time to do, there’s not there’s not applied, I mean, this advice to apply to 200 different companies, there’s not 200 companies out there that you would even want to work for most likely, right like, take the time to say and don’t get picky. But just pick some interesting companies, interesting role areas and research them for an hour and put together a tailored pitch for them.
Which by the way, shameless plug. If you go to crash.co, you can create a free profile, but you can also create individual pitches, as many as you want for individual companies. It’s just really simple. Hey, company name, person name. I would love to work in this role, little video of you and your face saying hey, I love your company love what you do, check out this work that I did. That gives you an idea of my you know, quality, love to talk with you. You can look at my profile for more details.
The hiring managers that receive those pitches, and we’ve been we’ve been shopping these around, we’ve been we’ve done a lot of market testing with us they are blown away, because nobody does that. And I’m telling you, you’ve got to change your mindset. Because I’m not saying oh, you just need to not be so you know, lazy you got to work harder.
I’m actually saying you’re gonna save yourself time in the long run. If you’re on the job market for 90 days on average, and you’re really spending three hours and 16 minutes on average every day. And you’re really applying to 150 to 200 jobs. And those jobs are only interviewing four out of every 250 people. You’re doing a ton of useless work, you’re doing a ton of work that brings no return. So would you rather do less work have a higher level of depth and intensity that gets way more return?
I’m telling you now 10 tailored pitches will blow away the response rate from 100 resumes. Really amazing. So check this out. Here’s some more stats.
What are recruiters want from job seekers? They want resumes tailored to the open position, they want skill sets listed right away. They want cover letters. Again, this comes down to personalization, it comes down to showing that you didn’t just blast the same thing, everybody, you took time to tailor your resume your skills, you wrote something specifically, they want an application that is addressed to the hiring manager by name.
They want links to personal blogs, portfolios, or websites. And again, the idea with Crash is we’re trying to help make that as easy as possible help you do that all at once. So instead of having to build a personal website, blog portfolio, you put all that content in your crash profile, instead of having to do cover letters and resumes with skills, the skills are right there and the cover letters, you utilize the pitch function to individually create that pitch. That’s like a visual cover letter for each company.
But anyway, that’s what recruiters want. And they’re not getting that, right. I mean, like I said, 84% are not including the hiring managers name, they’re not personalizing the application at all, really, really interesting stats. And those are from both talent networks and zety.com.
A few more that I thought found are interesting. And this kind of goes along with there’s one that I found a couple years ago from the heart research group, that was employers reporting on candidates readiness coming out of college in particular, and employers saying like, you know, only 20% of them are, have the basic, you know, communication skills, no basic tech tools, etc, etc. and in every category, employers said that it was like 20%, and grads were like the complete opposite. 75% of them thought that they were ready. So there’s this huge gap in people entering the job market, which is probably part of the reason they’re just blasting out resumes and thinking that someone will give them a callback, because they believe, oh, but I got the degree and I got the grades. So I’m hireable. Now, they believe that.
And it takes too long, months and months of fruitless job searching and not getting anyone to pay attention to you to realize, Hmm, maybe I’m not as attractive on the market as I thought. So here’s another statistic 2017 grads, 69% of them expected to make more than 35,000 a year for the first job. Only 49% of them did. The majority of grads think they’re going to make $60,000 for their first job. And they don’t. And that’s the thing, if you understand and you set the expectations, right?
So say you were to know, hey, I’m likely to make 35, 40 for my first sort of real job. If that’s probably what I’m going to make, maybe I don’t want to go into a whole bunch of debt and spend tons and tons of time trying to prepare, take classes, get credentials and resumes and then come out with this inflated expectation that I’m worth 60 grand off the bat, because I’m not. And I’m gonna have to learn on the job anyway.
So what if I can get in and get some experience early and say, Yeah, I don’t care, I’m only gonna make 35 Heck, I’ll, I’ll go cheaper than that. I’ll work for 10, 15 bucks an hour for six months to get some learning under my belt. And you take that time, and you get yourself up to where you are worth 50 or 60 K. And instead of paying money, and hoping that you come out worth that much, you’ve actually invested your time and come out being worth them and knowing what it means, right? You learn on the job, what’s valued on the job.
I mean, again, just getting more creative, trying to break so this to sum up all this kind of data and stats is sort of high level stuff that frames up all these individual stories we’ve had on this podcast, and that we will have in next season as well, is Look, here’s what’s happening in the world out there.
The the school, the education to career conveyor belt doesn’t work. It’s broken. The cost of the education system is going nuts, declining relevance of skills coming out of the sort of education system, and declining employment results for grads, and everybody’s frustrated.
But most people still are approaching it with the same mindset. What can I just buy one more item for my resume? Can I just blast out 100 more applications? And we’re saying that’s the whole idea. The name behind crash and the concept is crash all that stuff?
You got to start with a whole new mindset and framework. Hey, can I create value for somebody? What can I do that they would value? What can I do? At a price point that the next best person can’t quite do it as well as me. You don’t need to be an expert. You don’t need to be the best. You just need to be worth taking a chance on compared to the next best alternative.
So reframe your expectations. Nobody. Nobody owes you paycheck and nobody’s going to just hand you one because of some resume, you have to do the work first to prove you can do the work. And if that means doing projects on your own, that means volunteering working for free working for low pay interning, that means pitching companies by creating something for them before they’ve even paid you for it.
Do the work first. and use that to build up and to show what you can do so that it’s undeniable. If you just tell someone, you should hire me at 60 K, because I’ll be worth it. No one’s gonna listen to that. If you show someone, here’s all the things that I’ve built, and I’ve done, they’re gonna be like, cool, can we hire you? That’s what it’s all about creating something better being your own credential, as we like to say.
Okay, I don’t want to blab on any longer.
I wanted to wrap up this season. I want to say thanks to all of our awesome guests. We will be back in season two, probably sometime this fall, I already have some amazing guests lined up from some pretty cool projects, startups with some really amazing and out of the box stories.
In the meantime, you can always go pick up the little pocket book, Crash Your Career, but go to crash.co.
We’ve got a blog there with a lot of different resources and articles, stuff that you can follow us on social, but really go go create a Crash profile. Really, it’s, it’s free.
And it’s a great place, even if you’re not actively on the job market, to start to build your digital body of work, to start to catalog and archive, Okay, here’s a cool blog post I wrote, I’m gonna keep that here is one of my featured works. Here’s this little project I made in Excel. Let me make a little Loom video explaining that and I’ll put that in there. And I get in here, here’s the technology I know how to use, put those in there. Let me just make a elevator pitch video where I just say, Hey, this is what I am is what I’m all about. Go check it out, go make a profile.
And we’d love feedback as well. We’re always trying to make this the best simplest tool to help you crash your career, to help you go out there into the world, whether you’re a freelancer looking for gigs, whether you’re out there looking for full time work, or whether you just want a place to showcase what you’re all about. without all the maintenance and hassle of trying to build and maintain a personal website. We want to make this the best tool we possibly can for you. So we would love any feedback if you go out there and use it.
But hey, that’s enough promo. That’s enough for me. Thanks for tuning in to Crash your Career this season. And look forward to season two.
Like what you hear? Go to crash.co and join the career revolution. Do you want to share your own career crash story? Send it directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our new pocketbook, Crash Your Career–a practical guide to bypassing credentials, resumes, and degrees; being your own credential; and launching your career. Get it on Amazon or at crash.co/crashyourcareer.