Using the 80-20 principle in your job search!

How to apply the 80-20 principle to your job search…

Happy New Year to you all! Perhaps you’re simply catching up on some careers and recruitment news after the festive break, or maybe January has inspired you to launch a fresh new job search. Whatever brings you here today, this post endeavours to save you some time…

We’ll explore a rule of thumb that you can apply to all aspects of your work. Including your efforts to secure that new role.

Introducing the 80-20 principle…

This popular business concept is more formally known as the ‘Pareto Principle’. Which just so happens to be named after its founder, Vilfredo Pareto – a notable economist and philosopher.

Forbes provides an excellent explanation of the 80-20 principle. However, let’s get straight to the core finding: 80% of the results you generate at work (and in your job search) will come from just 20% of your total efforts.

Let’s imagine you spend 100 hours (just over 4 days) searching, applying and interviewing for new roles. The average person would undertake 80 hours (3.33 full days) of action without achieving many results. It would be the 20 hours of work (less than one full day’s efforts) that would provide 80% of the pay-off.

How accurate is this?

This is a rule of thumb. So, it may be that just 15% of your hard work gleans the most results or it may be that it takes a spot more effort on some occasions. However, it does appear to broadly apply across life and business.

As for the 100 hours to find a job part, this is just an example. It’s incredibly challenging to predict how long it takes to find a job due to the number of variables – for some people it takes only a matter of hours or days, for others it’s a far longer process.

The Pareto Principle also appears to apply to the choices we regularly make. We tend to pick the same 20% of options 80% of the time. So that’s the same few lunch options on regular rotation, the same tasks we’ll select from our daily/weekly lists, and the few outfits we’ll most often pick from our wardrobes.

So how does this knowledge benefit your job search?

The trick is in the application of the 80-20 principle. Rather than throwing all of your waking hours at your job search, invest your time where it will truly count. For instance…

  • Identifying your core search requirements before you get started vs. applying for every interesting vacancy you spot and then later realising they’re not right for you anyway.
  • Ensuring you’re contacting recruitment agencies who definitely recruit for your target roles/industry.
  • Generally doing your research at every stage – from thoroughly reading job specs (vital for CV writing) to interview preps.
  • Making sure your CV clearly demonstrates your suitability for each job; even when skimming.

You won’t always know which job vacancies will generate interview offers. After all, you’ll rarely know who you’re up against or exactly what the employer is searching for. But you can still save yourself a lot of wasted time.

Eager to get started? You’ll find our jobs vacancies listed here.