Why You Need to Be a Detective in Your Job Search

Being a detective is a lot easier now than when I first became a Scotland Yard detective. Why? I didn’t have access to the Internet. That global resource would have provided me with a whole new array of tools to do my police work. Today it’s a lot easier to uncover facts than it’s ever been. And it’s a lot faster. The data is readily accessible, from virtually any computer or mobile device.

© olly - Fotolia.com
© olly – Fotolia.com

When I was a detective in the field, we didn’t even have cell phones, only walkie-talkie radios in the car. It was a much simpler time, which you could see in the police shows I used to watch in the UK – shows like Z Cars, The Sweeney, or Dixon of Dock Green.

Compare those shows with today’s crime dramas, where cops have the advantage of cutting-edge technology and immediate access to reams of data at their fingertips at any moment.

For your job search, you also have access to great quantities of data – are you taking advantage of that? As a job search detective, you must identify the top 20-40 companies you want to work for, and then have a specific reason for joining that company based on your evidence.

For example, is there a problem you can help solve? Are there things that attract you about their company culture? Are you a fan of their products or services? Are they headed in a new direction that you’re ideally suited to be part of? The deeper you dig down and research your target companies, the more opportunities will surface.

Find out as much as you can, so you can strategically dole out your evidence as you market yourself as an ideal candidate (see this article for more about target marketing in a job search). Show that you understand the company’s pain and how you can help. A well-placed detail in a cover letter is like a piece of candy that will seduce the reader to learn more about you and your capabilities.

Bad evidence gets you flung out of court, and lets criminals walk free. In a job search, bad evidence, or having no evidence, does nothing to set you apart and only sends your resume to the bottom of the pile.

You may think that all jobs are found either by recruiters or online adverts. Wrong! In Canada, only 9% of jobs are advertised (21% in the U.S.), and recruiters account for about 12%. So if you’re really serious about your job search, start investigating your physical and online networks to uncover leads, potential opportunities, and the most pertinent details that will win your case.

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