Terrible Career Advice Being Shared on Social Media - Work In Sports Podcast

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkinSports.com and this is the Work In Sports Podcast…

I think I’m in the anger phase of quarantine. 

Just to be clear, I am not some whack-job thinking I should protest the quarantine, or claim it’s all some conspiracy to bring me down, or scream that I need a haircut so open up the stores again. 

Quite the opposite, I’m a pretty firm believer that there are people dying out there from a highly transmissible virus and we all have to do our part to stop the spread, this is about all of US, not me. 

No, my anger is just a phase of this process… like I’ve hit the moment that I’m a little edgy and don’t necessarily have the patience for my child asking for me to stop typing so much and focus on them. Or to make them a sandwich, or to pick up their toys all over the floor. sports jobs podcast

Alas, my anger isn’t just reserved for the kids - in fact, I do a pretty good job of holding that down -  my anger has migrated to other areas I don’t usually let it. Like people saying stupid stuff on twitter.

Now, I don’t do the twitter beef thing. If people have their opinions, that is their right, and no amount of me arguing with them in 200 and whatever characters is going to resolve their deep-seeded issues. 

BUT - sometimes I see reckless things being shared...and it just pisses me off. Today, I have to let that anger shine.  Normally, I hold it in. Like how presidents aren’t supposed to talk shit about other presidents, even if they despise them, or you aren’t supposed to bunt during a no-hitter… I have professional respect for others in this realm of career development in the sports industry. 

I won’t name names, that’s not my style, But I read something on Friday that just really pissed me the hell off. 

A question was asked by a young person -- “what advice would you give someone during job searching during this pandemic” 

And the advice given back was “Apply for everything that interests you whether you are qualified or not”

I wanted to explode. This is quite possibly the worst advice I have ever read. So, I’m sorry but I have to go off on this, for many many reasons.

Let me tell you why this is terrible advice. 

1: This statement is rooted in hope, not fact. When you say, apply for anything whether you are qualified or not, you are basically saying “magic may happen”… the employer may magically decide “hey, you can’t do this job, but we’re going to hire you anyway because you are awesome”

This is laziness. When you think to yourself, rather than put in the work to make myself qualified for the jobs I love, rather than understanding the marketplace knowing what skills are in demand and developing myself, rather than doing internships, volunteering, informational interviews, networking … I’ll just apply for jobs and hope something wonderful happens. 

You know what that does - it disrespects all of you who have worked for something - you’ve focused your strategy, you’ve put in the effort -- and some other fool is going to come in, not be qualified, apply for the job and get it? 

How dare you insult me this way?

This is like reading that Aston Kucher was discovered by modeling agents walking around the mall in Iowa, and thinking I need to walk around the mall in Iowa looking fabulous each day because magic may happen to me. 

Someone at some time may have been hired despite not having qualifications, but it’s magical thinking, hanging on to one story, and projecting it into a pattern that will help you. 

We tell ourselves things we want to believe can be true - because they are easier. It is easier to be discovered or to get a job we aren’t qualified for just by applying. That path is easy, doing the actual work is hard. Saying coronavirus will disappear “like a miracle” at some point is easier than putting in the work to get testing done. 

But easy, the path of least resistance, is not a strategy, it is not something that works repeatably, in fact, it can hurt you and I’ll explain why. 

2: How it really works. 

3: This process of applying everywhere, I call the shotgun technique. Just spray your resume out there everywhere, and you may hit something. 

But let’s actually think about how this scenario plays out -- you apply for jobs everywhere, all types of roles, all types of companies, all types of locations. 

And then one day the phone rings -- “Hi Ashley this is Brian from ASM Worldwide we wanted to talk with you about the job opening you applied for”

Then what? Crap, who is ASM worldwide again, what was the job I applied for? what is the role? what skills did they want me to have?

You have no chance of putting your best foot forward - because you don’t even know where your foot is. 

"Hey, John, this is Greg with the Indianapolis Colts calling..."  Oh crap, did I apply for the job in inside sales with the colts, or was it an operation coordinator, or was it equipment management? Or was that the 49ers?

Now, clearly in this scenario, you got callbacks for these roles, whatever they were because you had the right qualifications. So why not, just start there? Why not just go for the jobs you are qualified for, keep it all organized, know what you are applying for, and be prepared for the call if/when it comes. 

When you apply for hundreds of jobs, you can’t possibly be prepared for the moment you get a callback. So you know what happens -- that call from the Colts or ASM worldwide gets wasted, because you can’t show off the best version of yourself -- you are unprepared to do so. 

4: You know that teams, organizations, agencies, leagues...they track candidate activity, right?

They know how many jobs you have applied to at their organization. They know that you’ve applied to be a social media coordinator, account executive, operations manager, facilities assistant and data scientist.

And you know what that tells them right? That you just want A job, not this particular job. 

Let me explain - hiring manageress want to hire people who are qualified and interested. They want THIS job. Not just any job, they want this one. Because when you hire someone who is qualified, and they really want this particular job, they raise the bar at the organization. 

When you hire someone in marketing, who actually wants to be in team ops -- that person doesn’t bring their best to the marketing job. They are always looking to move out. They are always looking for something else. They are distracted. They lack focus. That’s redundant, but you get the point.

Why not just hire someone who watts to be in marketing! Well, they do.  That’s exactly what employers do. They want to hie people who are qualified and interested. That’s it. 

So, when you apply for lots of jobs, they don’t understand you. They are watching your behavior, tracking you application history and knowing that you are either desperate for anything, or don’t know yourself. 

They’d rather hire the person who knows what they want. 

5: Stop being a waste of time. I speak with hiring managers all the time, and they’ll tell me when they post a job only 20% of the applicants are qualified for the job. You know what that means -- 80% of the people are frustrating them. 

They are finding ways to get through the 80% fast, so they can get to the meat on the bone. Matter of fact, we make tools for employers to help them get to the 20% faster! We literally have developed tools for employers to help them get rid of the unqualified people and save themselves time… and you know why we made those tools because employers asked us to!

They are so frustrated reading through resumes where someone doesn’t have the skills for the job, and yet is applying anyway. 

We are constantly trying to come up with ways for employers to identify the best possible candidates and move forward with them -- that means being qualified and interested. Period. 

The idea of just throwing your resume out there, qualifications be damned, and expecting magic to happen, is what can make the system run poorly. The wrong people bogging it down. 

The next time you read someone saying “Just apply for everything, you never know what will happen!”

Remember, that is lazy, magical thinking, and all of you are rooted in reality. You know that your hard work will pay off, and those people who are just praying for magic will be left behind. 

Ok, rant complete. Man, that felt good. 

I may have to look for bad advice on the internet being shared more often. 

Let’s do this -- if you see someone sharing some piece of advice that doesn’t look right to you - bring it up to me, maybe I’ll go on a rant again!

Wednesday is my interview with Leah Clayton, Director of Marketing for Athletics at Lenoir Rhyne University -- you guys asked me for more young people just getting started, and for some small college experiences -- Leah hits the mark on both! And she’s super fun, talented and smart. We had a really good time!

Alright everyone, stay safe, stay home, we’ll beat this thing. 

By Brian Clapp | April 20, 2020
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