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  • Writer's pictureChris Bloomquist

Creating Your Career Pandemic In Chaos

In life, sometimes it takes a bit of tragedy to get back to reality and move forward. A bad breakup. The death of a loved ones. Being laid off from work.

How about a global pandemic that has far reaching socio-economic ramifications?!

If any human knew exactly how and when this current pandemic was going to end, we'd all want to know the answers. This article is NOT going to be about the elephant in the room. It's going to be about how to DEAL with it, from a job search and career perspective.

Rather than blame this elephant (we'll call it "chaos"), let's figure out ways to work around it, and be creative. I offer this advice from my own anecdotal career experiences, as well as seeing how others thrive in their own way. I'll be vulnerable, detailed and (hopefully) inspiring along the way. Grab a cup of "whatever you like to drink these days" and read on!

How does one actually LAND a job?

Well, sobering numbers first:

  • Approximately 70-80% of jobs are NEVER posted online.

  • Of those that are, 5%-10% of those jobs are landed SOLELY via an online application.

  • Precisely 87.3% of all statistics and data are made up on the spot.

Ok that last one was a joke, but take my own career journey as a good "data point." I've had about a dozen real "jobs" in my life, starting at age 16 as a grocery store clerk, to a data entry role in my university, to a software engineer, tech recruiter, and now as Founding Partner of The Talent Mine, our tech recruitment firm.

Of those, only ONE did I get via an application. ONE! 1 of 12!

It was with Best Buy as a PC salesman. I applied via a newspaper ad, had two very difficult rounds of interviews, and the ratio of applicants to hires was about 10 to 1. I made $10.50/hr and was extremely grateful at that time of high unemployment (2002) to land that entry level role. If my career is any indication, I DO line up with those above approximations.

My own experiences aside, was does this mean? Many jobs are CREATED way more often than "applied to." Here's how:

Professional AND personal networking

I can't stress this enough, you are your own best advocate. This means you attend local networking events related to your career (try for starters), tell anyone that will listen, friends, family, your neighbors, etc that you are on the job market, and for what kinds of roles, and you are shameless about self advertising. Look, we've ALL been unemployed, it's hard, it's stressful, and your network wants to see you succeed, so tell them!

Know your strengths and leverage them

There's a great book called "StrengthFinders" that talks about the idea of leveraging what you're best at, rather than focusing on your weaknesses. Not the best manager? Find a role reporting to someone that is and help them shine (b/c you will too!). Not the best sales person? Find a great analytical head's down role and be the GURU of that domain. Can't stand working in corporate office? Look for great telecommuting opportunities (which are now ABUNDANT and mandatory for the time being). We are in a world of opportunity; you simply have to be open to flexible ways to find it.

Be passionate, professional and persistent

This is not a tactic for the weak of heart, but I once landed a software engineering role at a Fortune 500 steel the heart of a recession...with barely a year of experience...with no connections...for a job that literally was never going to exist.


I did online research on why I loved this company's values, knew their American success story, and how they set themselves apart in their industry. I then cold called them and said "hello, my name is Chris Bloomquist, I'm a software engineer and I'd love to learn more about your company. Who could I speak with in your IT department?" Of course, the receptionist asked "are you trying to apply to a job, you can do that online (she wanted to get me to hang up). I said "no, I'm calling to learn as I have a ton of respect for your organization and I'm new to the area." She finally sent me to "Doug", who gave me five minutes of his time, answered my questions, and upon my request, agreed to talk to me in a month.

I proceeded to call him every month, for a YEAR, until he finally agreed to have me meet him at the office. He gave me a tour, and told one of his managers, "Give this kid an engineering job." That turned into a three year career launcher, with one of the best bosses I ever had.

Turns out, "Doug" was the General Manager, the head of the organization, and created a role because of my grit, persistence and passion I showed for them. I have since paid it forward by hiring a recruiter a few years ago that came to me under similar pretence.

Opportunities can be CREATED.

There are obviously many other ways that jobs can be landed: online applications, "help wanted" signs in a window, your friends, alumni groups, LinkedIn, utilizing recruiters in your profession (work with several!), and working with your local employment office. However, I want you all to get creative with your job search, and provide unique pathways to success.

Stay positive, stay motivated, and you will succeed!


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