The 80-20 Principle Applied in Job Searching

One of the most important principles that I, along with many others, adhere to is the 80-20 principle. I can’t emphasize enough how magical and powerful this principle is. I think that understanding it further will allow you to not only enhance your work but be as efficient as possible as well.

For those who have read my story, many of you know that I moved to New York City not too long ago with virtually nothing but a backpack and 2 suitcases. I moved here with a handful of contacts and nothing more. It sucks but it’s also an adventure. Since moving here, I’ve constantly been looking for work. In the 4 weeks of my job search I’ve been somewhat successful. Let me explain. When I came to NY, I had 1 interview lined up. That interview was for an internet start-up and it was for an inside sales position. I was attracted to the company because of its youth, vibrancy and enthusiasm. Nonetheless, that interview was unsuccessful. I guess the people there just didn’t see me as a good fit. Fast forward 3 weeks later and I’ve gone to about 10 interviews. Numerous applications were sent, hours were spent talking on the phone, and endless resumé, cover letters, and emails were revised.

Out of all the interviews that I went to, 1 company offered me a position. The company was an internet start-up as well and it was for a business development position. I realized it wasn’t the best fit for me because it was a really small start-up and the environment was more senior for someone like myself. I wrestled with the idea of working there and thought that if I was compensated a decent amount, then I would consider it, but the compensation was sub-par at best.

Beware of Craigslist Jobs

I decided to just take a random sales job on Craigslist (really bad idea) to make money while I continued my job search. That was an absolute train wreck, to say the least. I ended up working for a MLM a.k.a Pyramid Scheme company. I stayed there for 2 weeks and realized it was time to go. The position was completely commission based, and we had to sell products door-to-door. I was told by someone that if I was ever offered to work for a company that was purely commission based, stay away.  It is not in their best interest for you to succeed. All they want is for you to work like an animal so they can make more money. It’s a win-win for them and a lose-lose for you. We had to work 11 hours/day, 6 times a week for a measly $400-$600/week. Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly work hard, long hours if I have to, but I would have to really believe in what I was doing. It took me 2 weeks to get out because I made really good friends with the people I was working with. We were all in the same boat – new to the city, looking for a job, and very eager to just get out and work.

What I’ve Learned

Out of all the applications that I’ve sent, the most important lesson that I’ve learned is this – Shock and Awe.

The only time I was successful in my job search was when I did things that were out of this world, borderline crazy if you will, and something that jumped out of the page. And mind you, I did them well.

 Contact The Right People

The right people can be anyone from the recruiter, the  CEO, managing partner, director of sales etc. It just has to be directly related with the position you’re applying for.

Know Exactly What You Want

Know what industry you want to get into and know what position you want to apply for and why. Once that’s narrowed down, look for all the prospective companies that fit your list. Trust me, the last thing recruiters want is a generic applicant who just wants a job.

Make Yourself Dazzle

Why you? What’s so special about you? Remember, you’re competing with people smarter than you, more skilled than you, and probably more experienced as well. In my case, one company was asking for a “creative cover letter”. So I went ahead and made a powerpoint of my experiences and at the end of the letter was a guarantee. I would work for free until I can produce the necessary results. If that wasn’t accomplished, then that means I don’t deserve to be in the company. Shortly after sending this cover letter, I went for an interview and was offered the position in about 1 week.

Be Hungry, Enthusiastic, and Excited

I’ve always really wanted to work for an internet start-up because I’m always excited about technology. The internet is a such a powerful tool and I want to be a part of that. I also enjoy the fact that internet start-ups are breeding grounds for creativity and talent. You get to meet really bright and creative people who think outside the box. People are always on their toes and always finding ways to solve problems. Likewise, I’m just a really big fan of what start-ups have created. Start-ups have created real world applications that are fun, nimble, and ever-changing. Wouldn’t you want to be part of Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter? I sure do.

A Final Note

Realize that if you sincerely show enthusiasm in a company as if it is your own country competing in the olympics, things will slowly fall into place. And if a company is not willing to listen or work with you despite showing ambition, gumption, and hunger, then the company is probably not the best fit for you. It’s a blessing in disguise, I guarantee you.

* I decided not to mention any of the companies I applied for, worked for, or interviewed with in order to avoid stepping on any toes. 

This post will be continued. I’m not entirely where I want to be yet and I want it to be known that I’m still working on it. This post will be updated as soon as desires are accomplished. Also, principles of this post were derived from Tim Ferris’ 4Hour Work Week and Ramit Sethi.



One response to “The 80-20 Principle Applied in Job Searching

  1. Pingback: The 80-20 Principle Revisited | Kenneth Gabriel

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