Just Say No to “Spray and Pray”

Water spray from a hose nozzle

In reading an article about job hunting, I was flabbergasted by a comment that was made following the article. It read:

I still advocate the spray and pray resume approach. You can cover a lot of ground this way and it’s not very time consuming.

Honestly, people will catch on quickly if you are getting chummy with people with the sole focus of landing a job somewhere.

*record scratching*


Oh, my — no. Just no. Everything about that comment is way off-base!

OK, I will concede that “spray and pray” can get your résumé sent to many businesses and it is not a time-consuming approach. However, it is NOT effective at all for conducting a job search:

  • This method usually uses only one version of a résumé because of the volume that is going out in such a short period. While you don’t have to create a completely new document for every employment opportunity, you should take a little time to customize your résumé a bit so that you are highlighting your accomplishments that best fit with the needs expressed in job posting or on the company website.
  • Job hunters are more likely to find other positions through networking. Yes, networking requires more effort than just sitting at home scouring the job boards. But think about the benefits: you may be hearing about jobs that very few people know about because they haven’t been advertised (see the above point); you could receive key introductions; if a connection takes your résumé to the hiring manager, it has a far greater chance of being set aside to be reviewed because you have been recommended by a company insider; and you may find out later that your connection was working on your behalf even at times when you were at home in your bunny slippers (nice to have someone do a little legwork for you).

As for the second part of that comment, “getting chummy with people with the sole focus of landing a job somewhere” is not what you should be doing when you network. Effective networking for your job search and for your career management is all about developing relationships. Whether you are meeting new people or connecting with existing members of your network, you should be developing a rapport with them, finding out what matters to them and how you can add value to their lives with your unique skills. Don’t keep all the focus on you and your needs! If you are networking the right way, the second statement in that comment won’t even be an issue.

What job seeking strategies have you employed that are being successful for you?

Image courtesy of Vic

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