Technology has dramatically changed the job search. You need to consider algorithms, ATS’s (that’s applicant tracking systems for those unfamiliar), your social media posts, and a whole lot of other things that you didn’t have to think about 20 years ago. Even 10 years ago, those things all mattered much less than they do today.

I talk to lots of job seekers that struggle with embracing these technological changes, partly because they prefer a more human approach. If you fall into this camp, I’ve got great news for you: keeping humans at the center of your job search will actually be much more effective than most other strategies!

Well this is surprising (but is it? Is it really?).

We’ve talked before about the importance of being kind, and relationship currency, and not being a grade-A jerk (or any kind of jerk!) when you’re faced with an interruption. Our relationships with others define not just our workplaces, but our entire lives.

So how do we bring our relationships into focus in the context of a job search? The first thing to do is tell everyone you know that you’re in the midst of job search. Some people may not know. Some may not remember, even if you did tell them already. This best done not through a generic post on social media about looking for a job, but rather reaching out to people individually and sharing with them specifically what you’re looking for in your job search.

And when I say everyone you know, I mean everyone! You’ll be surprised at who ends up helping you and who ends up ignoring your request (extend them a little kindness and know they likely have a good reason if they didn’t help). So yes, your former co-workers can be a good starting point, but don’t leave out friends and family, neighbors, acquaintances, and people you know through various community organizations and businesses.

I have a friend that has been looking for a job throughout the pandemic. He has done all the right things from a technology standpoint and has a great resume and LinkedIn profile. He recently was interviewed for one of the positions he applied for online, but the reason he got the call wasn’t because his resume made it through the ATS and was keyword optimized (although it did make it through).

It’s because his neighbor was an employee at the company and looked up the job posting to see who the hiring manager was and then shared it with my friend. My friend wrote a nice, personal message to the hiring manager, which helped him stand out from the over 1,500 (!) people that applied online. On top of that, a former co-worker took the time to write my friend a glowing recommendation and sent it to the hiring manager. These three steps didn’t take a ton of extra time, but had a huge impact on the hiring process.

The odds of my friend being one of the handful of people getting a call for an interview are WAY less than the odds of finding one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. But my friend beat the odds by adding in something that algorithms can’t properly account for: human relationships.

#PositiveAction Whether you’re looking for a job right now or not, reach out to someone you know that you haven’t talked to in a while. It’s a whole lot easier to start a conversation when you don’t need something!

If you or someone you know is in the midst of the job search right now, I’ve got a short e-book that helps focus on the most important strategies (like talking to humans) to jump start your quest and help you stand out from the crowd. Check out Get Out of Your Pajamas, Take a Shower, and Talk to Someone: Job Searching During a Pandemic, Economic Downturn, Recession, or Other Crisis on Amazon today.



E-book cover image by Wolf Mountain Publishing

Blog post image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I have a friend whose superpower is to state the obvious in a way that makes people suddenly realize the truth that has been staring them in the face and they take action. It’s truly a magical thing to watch unfold. So I’m going to do my best to channel that power for this post.

There was a wonderful article published in Fast Company this week about relationship currency. The idea is basically that doing good work is not enough in the work world; you also need to cultivate productive relationships.

My knee-jerk reaction to the article was, “Duh.” But in the same way that common sense isn’t all that common these days, common courtesy is arguably on the decline as well. There are many reasons for this. The corporate world has changed from a 9-5 to a 24/7 always-on environment. Workers are stressed and that stress often causes people to behave badly. My advice is to inject some kindness into whatever you do at work – people need it more than you know!

More times than I can count over the past 20 years, the best things happened at work because I took the time to build productive relationships. Not because I hoped to one day get something out of it, but simply because I believe in treating everyone as a human who deserves kindness. Interestingly, whenever I needed help with something at work, help appeared in the form of the many relationships I had developed. 

Even now, as I work to grow my own business, my relationships are here with me, helping me and cheering me on. I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could expect to be truly successful without having the advantage of relationship currency.

So in the age of automation, don’t let someone’s interaction with a chatbot be the nicest thing they hear today. Instead, be the uncommon courtesy your workplace is missing. People will respond in kind.