How to apply the 80/20 rule in your job search

How to apply the 80/20 rule in your job search

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Taylor Karl

When searching for a job or career opportunity, finding a way to leverage your skills and experience is essential. How can you prioritize your job search, and how can you leverage the 80/20 rule?

What is the 80/20 rule?

Originally known as the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule states that 20% of causes create 80% of consequences for most outcomes. Some examples of this principle in business:

  • 80% of revenue comes from 20% of products sold
  • 20% of the people do 80% of the work
  • 80% of sales come from 20% of clients

How can you apply this principle in your job search? Twenty percent of what you do in your job search creates 80% of your interviews, offers, or other job search results. On the other hand, 80% of the activity you do during your search leads to no tangible results.

Job search tips and tricks only help those searching for a job to a certain extent. It’s not unusual to feel like you don't have control over your job search. There are many variables outside of your control. Landing that next opportunity requires many different factors to come together.

Finding the balance between all the moving parts is where the 80/20 rule comes into play. Where should you spend most of your time and energy? If this is your first extensive job search, this could take some trial and error. If this isn't, reflecting on your past experiences can help you lay the foundation for the cycle of your job search.

If you find yourself mindlessly applying to multiple positions 80% of the time you’re dedicating to your search with no results, consider your strategy. See if you can increase your callbacks or interview requests with a new approach. Try spending 80% of your time networking with former co-workers and friends and expanding your network. Attend workshops or webinars to learn new job search ideas and stay motivated.

In the market today, many jobs are filled simply by networking with recruiters and hiring managers that have unlisted jobs. Get ahead of the game, and the competition, by reaching out, introducing yourself, and getting your foot in the door.

Another way you can apply the 80/20 rule to your job search is to include essential information in the top 20% of your resume. With most recruiters only looking at your resume for all of six to seven seconds, give them a reason to take a closer look at your resume. Using keywords and proper headings can help your resume get past the initial scan.

Analyzing how much time you put into your search and what the results look like can help you create a realistic timeline and strategy for your job search.

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