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  • Writer's pictureNeil

The #1 Mistake Job Seekers Make

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Hands on lightbulb
Stop shopping for jobs. Image by Ricardo Resende via Unsplash.


85% of jobs are filled through networking (Hubspot). Instead of spending hours browsing and clicking, spend that same amount of time showing up for events and cultivating your network.

Step by Step

  1. Find a Marquee Event for your target company or target industry. Go there and get curious.

  2. Join a LinkedIn Live session or watch a replay. Ask a follow up question to the presenter and start a conversation.

  3. Find connections at your target company. Make a genuine approach and request a coffee chat today. Don't feel embarrassed that you want to learn from them! :)

  4. Ask for an intro to someone on your target team. Ask about the biggest challenge and biggest opportunity for their role & team.

  5. Ask them to intro you with the hiring manager for an informational chat. Use your notes from the team member conversation to develop your agenda and talking points with the hiring manager.

Pro tip: Use our Achievements Map to organize your self-presentation before you reach out. You'll know exactly which points to lead with and have your data points top of mind. It's much easier to network when you know your Reasons to Believe!

What's going on?

I've been been speaking with clients and browsing r/Sales to explore where we get stuck in our job search.

Unfortunately, getting a great job is not like ordering shampoo on Amazon. You don't browse, add to cart, and check out.

When you cold apply for roles, no one is looking out for YOUR resume and chasing this up on the other side.

Only 2% of cold applications go anywhere.
85% of jobs are filled through networking.

Ask yourself: how many hours did you spend this week 'Amazon shopping' for your next job?

Quite a few, right?

How much time did you spend actually networking - showing up, leading with genuine curiosity?

One hour? Two?

Next week, try this: take all the time you are spending on scrolling, clicking and refreshing your inbox...

And spend that time on networking instead.

The 1-2 hours you spent this week networking? That's how much you can spend on exploring job postings and clicking apply.

Give this a try for ONE WEEK and I promise you will never go back!

I've got the resume, why isn't it working?

I won't go in on this article about:

-arcane minutiae of automated resume screening (I'm no expert)

-extreme scale and speed recruiters operate at (if you knew, you would sympathize)

-why job descriptions are broken and not to be taken at face value (article coming soon)

Taking action > feeling frustrated
Exploring and getting curious > ruminating on rejection

Don't click apply til the hiring manager tells you

Here's a challenge to organize your search around: don't click apply until the hiring manager tells you.

Neil, are you crazy?

I'm trying to get a job, not play a game here..?

Here's why this is the best way to generate interviews:

Who decides which candidates interview?

  • Recruiting

  • Hiring Manager

  • Some holy or unholy force beyond our comprehension

The most reliable way to make it to the interview? Be Credible, Capable and Visible to the Hiring Manager.

Here's the numbers game you want to play:

You will fill your interview funnel faster by speaking with hiring managers (85%), than you ever will with cold applications (2%).

When the hiring manager tells you to apply, it doesn't mean you'll get the job.

  • Your name is on their radar.

  • The hiring manager could choose to prioritize your application.

  • They could ping recruiting and ask to see you in the interview pool.

Give it a shot.


Try this for one week. Count up all the hours you spent 'Amazon shopping' last week, and spend it on networking instead. You can still have your scroll time and even click a few hot jobs - as long as you balance it this way.

Stretch Challenge

Don't click apply until you speak with the hiring manager. What should you speak about? Get curious about their journey to the role. The biggest challenges and opportunities their team face. What's important during the ramp.

When they ask, be ready with your #1 Reason to Believe uncovered in your Achievements Map.

Ready to be more confident in your networking? Download our Achievements Map tool.

For more on careering better, subscribe to Cloud Champions.

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