The job hunt is about sending signals.
A signal is something that helps people know about you in the quickest way possible. It’s a shortcut. Nobody has time to spend years getting to know you before making an offer, so you’ve got to boil down the relevant characteristics into the smallest package you can and broadcast that to signal who you are.
Resumes are signals. Degrees are signals. Even what email address you have is a signal (For example, “firstname.lastname@example.org” might signal a lack of attention to detail or lack of care for making it easy to remember your email, while a .edu email might signal you still see yourself as a student and are in the market for an internship rather than a full-time role).
A weak signal is one that easily blends in with everyone else or one that is easy to fake.
Everyone has college degrees these days. They don’t signal much anymore. It doesn’t really communicate a lot about your ability to create value to lead with, “BA in Communications”. It’s too undifferentiated to be really strong.
A well-written cover letter is also a weak signal in most cases. Not because it’s common, but because it’s easy to fake. Most cover letters are the type that could easily have been purchased or copied from someone else, and re-used hundreds of times. That means whatever it may appear to convey is weak, because the recipient doesn’t know if they can trust its authenticity. This is especially bad when it uses generic terms like, “Dir Sir or Madam”, because you know it’s been sent to many companies in bulk.
A great signal is both unique and hard to fake.
This is why video pitches are so effective. They are unique by nature – no one else can be you on video. And, unless you’re a master at deepfakes, they are hard to fake.
Tailoring your video to just one company, and adding a project you created, takes it up to 11. When a hiring manager receives a pitch with a video addressing them by name, sharing what the seeker loves about their company, and a project or two demonstrating the specific skill relevant to the role, it’s a powerful signal.
It signals creativity, work ethic, communication skills, persistence, independence, and many other hard and soft skills in a way that can’t be easily gamed or faked like generic resume and degree signals can.
If you want to win on the job hunt, build a better signal.