Conventional wisdom can account for the many hours job seekers spend trying to construct the perfect resume. The sad reality is, it may be perfect for a particular job, but most will likely use it as a catch-all. Let’s speak in the unconventional sense. As an intelligence officer who has served both in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have acquired skill sets that have taught me to not think outside or inside the box, but rather, to own the box.
In order to crack the code of your job search, I will help declassify the pitfalls candidates fall into, and give you a lesson pulled straight out of the United States Army Field Manual (FM) 3-60… The Targeting Process.
“The targeting start point can be deliberate or opportunity-based, and can focus on a known personality, a facility, an organization, or some other type of signature.”
Identify and lock-in on the position you want. Use as many assets as you can to locate the position you are interested in, either through a friend, colleague, family member, or job board. The key here is to find, not blindly blast your resume out to dozens of positions. Gather intelligence on the company, this will help you later on in the finish phase.
“Once a target is identified, the full gamut of intelligence collection capability is applied against the target in order to develop operational triggers to “fix” the target in space and time.”
Fixing the job simply means that your research on the position has progressed enough to where you have a sufficient understanding before pressing the “Apply” or “I’m Interested” button. Fix also translates into focus. It is paramount that you focus your resume to the job description and add additional coverage by supplying a brief keyword-rich cover letter.
“…in an information-age era of protracted conflicts, risk aversion, non-state actors and networked warfare, the main effort cannot be on “finishing” enemy forces in a traditional sense, in large part because the nature of warfare has changed.”
Like warfare, the job market is a continuously evolving beast and you must prepare yourself to finish in a non-traditional manner. You spent a majority of your time finding and fixing in on the job which has also prepared you for the interview. Sleep well the night before, eat breakfast the morning of, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, and suit-up. You have primed yourself for the interview by researching the company, its sector, and the interviewer/s. Now use the information you have collected to shock-and-awe the interviewer. Impress them with your vast understanding of their company’s history and vision of the future. Demonstrate how hiring you is better for them, not for you. Finish with a bang. Send a thank you in writing.
Using these three steps will help you to own the box and crack the code. Once you get the hang of it, you will begin to use the process without even noticing.