The “Spaghetti” Job Search Strategy

There’s a lot of angst in the LinkedIn CFO group this morning. Not hearing back from recruiters these days is enough to send even the most stable senior finance executive to the edge of the cliff after a period of unemployment. The job search system is already flawed, and the Internet has exacerbated the breakdown … candidates send resumes to a big black hole and never hear back from anyone. If you haven’t read my article “Everybody Lies,” email me and I’ll be happy to send it your way. 

Anyway, the flawed search strategy that almost every job seeker uses is what I call the “spaghetti strategy.” They throw their resume into the black hole hoping it will stick to something. It doesn’t have to be the “right” thing, just, please, let it be “something.”  

When HR has posted a position or a recruiter has been hired to do a specific search, they are in “screen out” mode. If you don’t meet these specific requirements – every one of them – you’re out. And, short of a solid long-term relationship with a recruiter that might sway them, there is nothing you can do about it.

Playing the posted position game elicits this advice from some … “you must modify your resume for every position to which you apply.” That is because when you are throwing your resume into the black hole and hoping it will stick to something, it requires you to be “all things to all people.” You’re like a chameleon constantly changing colors depending on where you’re standing … or in this case, depending on what the job posting says. 

I believe there is a search strategy is that far more effective, much less anxiety-inducing, and focuses on what you want rather than anything that’s available. It is hard work AND it requires you to move away from the job boards and into a position of strength. 

You first need to identify your sweet spot. Business coach Deborah Gallant, in summarizing points from “What Would Google Do,” said this …

“Mass market are irrelevant, it’s all about niches: identifying what you do really well and doing it supremely well.”

The next step is figuring out who needs what you do really well and then how you can get on their radar screen. Whether that company has a position posted is irrelevant because if you can take away their current pain, having a conversation with you is always an option. It’s hard work, certainly more challenging than the spaghetti strategy, and generally much more effective! 

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7 thoughts on “The “Spaghetti” Job Search Strategy”

  1. Brilliant, Cindy! You have a way of capturing the concept in a vivid way. I’ve told job seekers that for years but many feel like job boards will solve all their problems. Putting the extra effort into understanding what a company needs and finding a way to tell them that you have a solution puts fear into the heart of most job seekers.

  2. Thanks Cindy for reassuring me that writing a tailor-made resume for jobs that I specifically selected for my skill set, experience and interests is still the right thing to do. That’s what my gut tells me, but so many internet tools available can turn a clear idea into quite a pasta salad.
    Thanks Julie for sharing on fb.

  3. As a third party recruiter, I definitely appreciate seeing resumes that have been tailored to address the specific nature of the role I’m recruiting for. Unfortunately, I think a BIG part of the problem is the job description itself. So many of them are generic that define an individual rather than the role itself. There are plenty of CFO types with public experience and a CPA. What they have accomplished over time (as it relates to my search) is how I determine who is a front runner. If I don’t, than I’m just like those executive candidates sending a generic resume out in the hopes that “something sticks.” Where’s the value in that?


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