lottery fingers

If you somehow got to this article because you’re in the middle of an online job search and you’re exhausted and in need of a break, let me give you permission to stop.


Stop wasting your time applying for jobs because this method simply doesn’t work.

Seriously, applying for an advertised job these days is like buying a lottery ticket and crossing your fingers every week hoping your numbers will come up. The odds of winning the lottery and landing an advertised job are probably the same – very slim.

There’s only one way to beat these odds on the job side and that is by being the safe bet.

What’s the safe bet?

Glad you asked!

That’s that one candidate who ticks pretty much all the boxes in the “essential” AND “desirable” skills AND personal attributes columns on the job description (side note: they say it’s desirable but when push comes to shove and there’s an interview shortlist straw to be drawn, those desirable assets suddenly become essential!).

If you’re not that safe bet candidate, chances are you’re wasting your time even breathing near the vacancy, let alone actually applying.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but gone are the days when you could cheerfully advise jobseekers (and believe me, I used to do this) that even if they only meet half of the requirements of the job they should go ahead and apply because the hiring manager at the other end might be looking for that bright spark…that square peg for the circle hole.

This is simply no longer the case.

Most hiring managers want the safe bet. That’s why they advertise the vacancy.

The ones that don’t want the safe bet are not wasting time thinking up fancy jargons in a job description that more often than not obscures the true nature of the job; no, they are too busy for that.

They are busy scouting and tapping their networks for their next hire – without formally advertising the role.

This is called the hidden job market and as much as 60% of jobs (this number is higher by some counts) is filled this way.

How do you find this hidden job market? Focus on developing your personal (professional) brand by adding value and build quality connections with people on and offline.

It’s not a microwave quick-fix solution – you have to be in it for the long haul to benefit – but if you make the commitment and you put in the work, you’ll attract the right kind of people and opportunities into your space.

And that’s got to be a whole lot better than playing the lottery. Right?

Photo credit: kygp day 5 via photopin (license)