I’ve spoken before about my dislike of the spray and pray job search method.
Do I think it should never, ever be done? Nah, I don’t like to say “never.” It can have a small role in a job seeker’s overall job hunt strategy; given the fact that, generally, no more than 20% of all jobs are filled through responses to an advertisement, the emphasis is definitely on “small.”
It then makes me
kind of really crazy when I see something that advocates for this method as a primary way to find a job. A writing I found likened a spray and pray job hunt to reproduction in nature and presented it as a valid rationale to make that choice with a job search.
Wow, just… wow. In looking at the examples in the post, it actually supports the schools of thought that advocate for a diversified job search strategy that results in fewer, but higher quality, résumés being submitted.
There was talk of dandelions evolving so that, instead of dropping their seeds down at the bases of their stems, they let the wind scatter them about. So if you are the dandelion and the résumés you submit are the seeds, you can picture your résumés aimlessly floating wherever the wind should carry them.
Hmmm, sounds like you won’t have a great guarantee that you will find a position that is a good fit for you. Just whatever pays the bills, since you are throwing your résumés around willy-nilly.
The other issue I have with this analogy is that assumes that if you are not tossing your résumés out all over the place, you are keeping them confined to a tight circle.
Nothing could be further from the truth when you are using a robust strategy! Instead, you are selectively launching your résumés out from you based on carefully considering:
- the kinds of opportunities that interest you and you are qualified to do
- what you learn about a company through your network
- what you learn about a company through other research
- how your talents and experiences dovetail with the pain points of the company
- what compromises you are willing to make
- what a good job fit means to you
Which sounds more effective?
Another analogy referred to human reproduction. It also discussed how defects in the sperm could threaten the survival of the species if there were fewer of them.
OK. So think about this:
- Would you seriously want to send out 200 million (or so) résumés in the hopes of getting one job?
- If you are doing a spray and pray on this massive of a scale, don’t you think that your efforts will be directed more on the dissemination of your résumés and less on the quality of what is being sent out? And given that your résumés are copied from a single document, wouldn’t that mean there is a high chance that every one of the 200 million résumés would be flawed? Oops.
Now, does it really make sense to use a reproduction analogy to justify a selection of a job search strategy? Or should you consider numerous real-life anecdotes like, “I’ve sent out over 100 résumés and not gotten a response!”
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Melissa Cooley, career coach and certified résumé writer of The Job Quest, LLC unearths her clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!