Feature: Never Be A “Graffiti Applicant”

Feature: Never Be A “Graffiti Applicant”

Feature: Never Be A “Graffiti Applicant”

In a perfect world, we could buy insurance to protect us against sudden staff reductions, unexpected layoffs and even the elimination of whole categories of jobs from the American workplace. In the real world, however, “career insurance” doesn’t exist, so many people assume that there is no way to protect themselves and their families. But, that’s not true. Career Guardianship is a real and effective shield against the threats that are hidden in our modern economy.

This plan has just a couple of basic premises:

First, the modern workplace gives you two stark choices and two choices only: You can ignore the danger posed by outsourcing, offshoring and other workplace perils until you become their victim and deal with the consequences then or you can act now to preserve and protect the present and future of your career; and

Second, the Internet is the first resource in history that actually gives you a way to manage your career effectively and within the limited time of your daily schedule.

In essence, Career Guardianship enables you to care for your career, to nurture its health and well being so that it becomes an expression of your best moments at work. My earlier columns have introduced several of its key elements:

  • Use the Internet to look every day for new opportunities to advance your career and the fulfillment it gives you;
  • Use the Internet to network every day to make new contacts in the world of work and build a relationship with them; and
  • Use the Internet to research opportunities thoroughly so that you invest your time wisely when considering a shift in employers.
  • If you’d like to read more about these concepts, please click here to visit the newsletter archive at WEDDLE’s.

    In this column, I’d like to begin our exploration of another concept, one that urges you to avoid becoming a “graffiti applicant.” What does that mean? A graffiti applicant is someone whom recruiters view as totally unqualified for an open position-so unqualified, in fact, that the individual undoubtedly knows they cannot compete seriously for the position-but who applies anyway. In other words, the graffiti applicant makes a conscious and willful decision to submit their credentials to an employer for a specific position knowing full well that they will not be selected for it … which means they are doing so for one reason and one reason only: to cause the recruiter additional work and frustration.

    As a consequence, a graffiti applicant never gains any advantage whatsoever from their actions. Indeed, they may actually be harming other job seekers and themselves. What do I mean? First, graffiti applicants slow down and even interrupt the recruiting process. Yes, inefficiency is sometimes behind those endless delays while you wait to hear from an employer about your application. Just as often, however, the cause is the mountain of unqualified resumes that recruiters have to sort through in order to find those that are qualified, including yours. Second, graffiti applicants, themselves, pay an opportunity cost for their behavior. The time they spend sending off resumes for jobs where they have absolutely no chance of selection is time they could (and should) be spending finding and applying for the openings where they have a real chance of being hired. In short, graffiti applicant behavior is not a victimless activity. Its victim is the graffiti applicant!

    Why, then, do people become graffiti applicants? There are at least two potential reasons:

  • The Internet makes it so easy to apply for a job-just click that Submit button and send your resume off by e-mail-that some figure they might as well. Ease of application, however, is not permission to apply; indeed, the only person who has permission to apply-from the recruiter’s perspective-is the one who has the qualifications specified in the job posting. All others are not invited, desired or appreciated.
  • Some calculate that they have other skills and attributes which compensate for their lack of those stated in the job posting and that these alternative qualifications make them viable prospects for the position. Such a point of view may actually have made some sense in the past, but it doesn’t today. Why? Because now, recruiters almost never see a resume before it is stored in a computerized database. And, once that happens, the possibility of making such judgments disappears. Recruiters must extract resumes from the database by using key words in a search engine, and the computer, being dumb as dirt, is only able to identify those resumes that have the exact words (and skills) the recruiters specify. All others are irrelevant, nonsensical and ignored.

    So, what’s the bottom line? Don’t be a graffiti applicant and urge others not to be, as well. The fastest way to find a good job-or any job at all, for that matter-is to apply for those positions where you are fully qualified Applying for any other position is simply indecorous behavior.

    Thanks for reading,


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    CareerBuilder.com has released the latest results of a survey of 400+ hiring managers to determine the five biggest mistakes you can make in a job interview. They are: #1: Poor communication (inadequate language skills and a tendency to reveal too much or too little information); #2: Inadequate performance (poor preparation for the interview, being distracted or a little too comfortable during the interview); #3: Problem attitude (appearing bored or arrogant); #4: Improper appearance (casual dress, poor personal hygiene); and #5: Dishonesty (lying or even giving the impression that you are not a honest person). What can you do to make sure that your interviews go off without a hitch? Treat each and every one as a very special opportunity: do your homework on the employer, practice answering questions with your spouse or a friend, get a good night’s sleep and eat a good meal before the interview, dress as if it’s the most important meeting of your life and arrive on time.

    Execunet had released the results of a survey of executive recruiters that identifies the industries where they expect the greatest job growth to occur over the next three months. The top 10 (in rank order) are: healthcare, medical/pharmaceutical, financial services, high tech, business services, consumer products, manufacturing, communications, electronics, Internet. The functions expected to be in the greatest demand are sales, marketing, business development, general management and operations management. If you’re looking for a new or better job in these industries and/or fields, one of the most important skills you’ll need is knowing how to search the jobs database at employment Web-sites. Which key words should you use to make sure you don’t overlook any of the jobs you want to see and don’t dredge up any of the jobs you clearly don’t want to see? Ironically, one of the best ways to find key words is the newspaper. Look at the nouns and phrases employers use to describe their openings in those publications and then use the exact same words when you search jobs databases online.

    TrueCareers has announced the results of a survey of job seekers, and they apparently see the job market as … well, as somewhere between half empty and half full. Nearly 50% of the respondents think job opportunities will either stay the same or get worse in 2004 and, while that’s hardly a vote of confidence, it’s up substantially from the two-thirds of respondents who voted that way in 2003. An astonishing 9 out of 10 respondents expect to look for a new job this year. How can you stand out from the herd? Know the three keys to the Hidden Job Market online: (1) E-network online every day; devote 30 minutes-no more-to connecting with contacts at your professional association site. (2) Research prospective employers and identify those that best fit your career plans; then, look for connections to their employees and ask them about openings they know of inside their organizations. (3) Shop smart online; identify and regularly visit the niche employment sites that specialize in your career field, industry and/or geographic location.

    WEDDLE’s is pleased to announce Peter Weddle’s upcoming bookstore presentations:

  • March 9, Bradenton, FL-Borders Bookstore
  • April 7, Cambridge, MA-Borders Bookstore
  • April 8, South Portland, ME-Borders Bookstore
  • June 10, Boston, MA-Borders Bookstore.
  • Peter’s presentation is all about how you can find your dream job online. If you would like him to speak at a Borders Bookstore near you, please contact the Manager of your local store.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If you’re a weather forecaster looking for a position with a radio or television station in North Dakota, which of the following sites would leave you out in the cold?

  • Meteorological Employment Journal (www.swiftsite.com/mejjobs)
  • MeteorologicalJobs.com
  • Meteorology-Jobs.043.us
  • National Weather Association Job Corner (nwas.org/jobs.html)
  • 2. You know that a lot of people will head off to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras this month (it begins February 24th), so it’s a good time to find temporary work. If you’re an accounting specialist looking for a temp job, which of the following sites would leave you crying the blues?

  • OnCall.com
  • YouApplyHere.com
  • Net-Temps.com
  • WorkRover.com
  • 3. If you’re a research toxicologist looking for a new position with a pharmaceutical firm, which of the following sites would poison your job search efforts?

  • SOFT-tox.org
  • Toxicology.org
  • ScienceCareers.com
  • Tjobs.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories



    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Contract, Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: National: USA

    Number of jobs: 2,500

    Salary levels of jobs: $101-150K/year, $151-200K/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: Indefinitely

    Restrictions on who can post: Registered on site, must be senior level professional or manager

    Other services for job seekers: Career/job search information, Links to off-site resources, Confidentiality feature in resume database

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. Meteorology-Jobs.043.us, a sham site that automatically links you to an online survey company.

    2. OnCall.com, a site for finding discounts on “luxury vacations.”

    3. Tjobs.com, a site that posts telecommuting jobs.