JT & Dale Talk Jobs: Our best advice, 2021


J.T.: One of the many joys of this time of year is that Dale and I get to look back and come up with our annual review of our best advice from this year’s columns.

DALE: And with that advice goes our annual wish: May the coming year be your best yet.

On applying for jobs that don’t exist: We’ve often written about the “hidden job market,” the one where companies try to hire without ever publicly listing their openings. But you should know there’s another job market that’s even more hidden — the one for jobs that don’t exist. This happens when you network with business owners or department heads who, upon seeing your skills and passion, create a new position for you, knowing they have someone in front of them who could fill it.

On being miserable in a job but waiting for a better time to move on: Whenever you’re unhappy in a career, it’s time to change; after all, being unhappy in your job is a lose-lose situation. First, you’re miserable going to work every day; and second, there’s no doubt that your performance is slipping, and your employer sees it. The worst outcome is that you stay miserable and eventually lose your job.

On online applications: Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) weren’t designed to make it easier for candidates to apply, but for recruiters to screen out candidates. Now that applications are done online, far too many people apply for jobs they’re not really qualified for. Companies that used to get dozens of candidates now get hundreds of thousands. So, these systems make it easier for a recruiter to find people who are an exact match. And that’s why these systems are flawed: The majority of the time, nobody is an exact match. A solution lies in networking so that you can go around the ATS and not get automatically tossed out.


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