job search approaches; targeted job search approach; shotgun job search approach; job search methods

Job Search Strategies: Shotgun vs. Targeted

Are you familiar with the top two job search strategies? If not, these two strategies include: “Shotgun” and “Targeted.” And, one is more effective than the other.

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Job Search Strategies: Shotgun vs. Targeted
Creative Commons Pixabay Photo Courtesy of Niekverlaan

“Shotgun” Job Search Strategy

Many job seekers are advised by Career Professionals to “blindly apply to any and every kind of job” (without taking the requirements into consideration) because of the need for a job. They think this shotgun approach increases a job seeker’s chances of getting a job. 

This is not effective.

Such an approach does nothing to improve your chances of success as a job seeker.

Acting on this advice, job seekers waste their precious time. In addition to wasting your precious time, you increase the risk of job search burnout because you are “applying to anything and everything” with the hope you’ll land a job.

Although this approach results in the submission of many applications and/or cover letters and resumes, the quality of the material submitted suffers. The submitted material does not:

  • Show your genuine interest in a specific, particular job
  • Clarify the necessary skills and accomplishments to which you prove you’re capable of performing the job tasks required.

Side Tracking Moment : By submitting poor quality application material for all of these job openings, you irritate hiring authorities. BEWARE!

Back on Track: You know organizations associate keywords to positions in job descriptions. Therefore, in order to be interviewed, your applications and resumes must pass the keyword test.

If you don’t pass the keyword test (by a computer in most cases), your resume won’t be seen by the HR department. This means you have no chance at an interview and have wasted your time applying.

The job search process is exhausting as it is. Aware of this, why apply to jobs just to apply? Your time is too valuable for that.

job search approaches; targeted job search approach; shotgun job search approach; job search methods
Job Search Strategies: Shotgun vs. Targeted
Unsplash Original Photo Courtesy of Jeff Sheldon. Edited by Me.

“Targeted” Job Search Strategy

Fortunately, there’s also a targeted strategy to the job search. With the targeted job search approach, you don’t “apply to anything and everything” – hoping to be called back.

Instead, you apply to jobs to which you have the qualifications for and interest in performing. You research the organizations to learn more about them, and you identify the skills and requirements for the positions of interest.

This, in turn, increases your chances of receiving job interview requests from companies.

Now, contrary to the shotgun strategy, this job hunt strategy requires you to sacrifice one thing: time.

As a targeted job seeker, you do two things as discussed in my Job Search Position: No Full-Time Hours Required post:

  • You apply to jobs you’re interested in; you’re qualified for; and you’re able to realistically perform.
  • You customize your cover letters and resumes to fit each specific job opportunity to which you are applying.

Would you like to know what results from this approach? High quality cover letters and resumes, which does the following:

  • Clearly highlight relevant skills and qualifications demonstrating your capability to fulfill the responsibilities of the job.

So, you see the targeted job search approach takes a little more time than the shotgun approach. However, this approach is more effective and increases your chances for interview opportunities.

Here’s a warning for those of you considering the targeted approach, however: when looking for work, you won’t find posted jobs meeting your qualifications (or jobs to which you meet their qualifications) some days.

You’ll prowl company websites, classified ads, general job boards, and niche job boards for employment. Yet, you won’t find anything to apply for.

Please DON’T go back to the shotgun approach though. Keep at it.

From Me to You: I personally understand the need for a job, but your time is too valuable to waste on mass applications. Please consider a smarter job search strategy – the targeted approach. This strategy results in high quality applications, cover letters, and resumes.

Which job search strategy proves more effective for you, shotgun or targeted? Share by commenting below!

Disclaimer: I am not an HR or Career Professional by training. When I write on job search topics, I write from the perspective of a job seeker with experience in job searching.


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