In the surreal and engrossing world of the Squid Game, where contestants battle for survival in a series of deadly challenges, one particular game stands out for me, as a metaphor for the struggles many faces in the real job hunt world – the Cookie Challenge.
As an avid cookie fan, I thoroughly enjoy taking in this challenge. Not just because the honeycomb leftovers look good enough to eat, but because of the similarities this game has to the world of recruitment and job search.
Much like the competitive job market, this deceptively simple game requires finesse, strategy, and a keen understanding of the rules to come out on top.
The Cookie Challenge:
For those of you who haven’t watched the Netflix hit show ‘Squid Games,’ or more recently ‘Squid Games – The Challenge,’ the Cookie (or Dalgona) Challenge involves contestants carving out a specific shape from a honeycomb-shaped cookie without breaking it. All you have in your arsenal is a small sharp carving pin, your tongue and short period of time to successfully carve out your shape.
Some are lucky enough to be tasked with carving out a circle, or a triangle, but some get dealt a tricky hand in the shape of an umbrella.
The challenge is not only physically demanding but also tests the participant’s ability to navigate a delicate situation with calmness, precision, and skill.
Similarly, job seekers find themselves in a competitive environment, where standing out and making the right moves are essential for success, but again, precision is the key to success.
No two application processes are the same, and they all sometimes feel like an uphill ‘umbrella shaped’ struggle. However, the reward and the satisfaction are waiting just around the corner.
5 Attributes That Pay Off:
Competition & Elimination
Squid Game’s harsh reality involves elimination for those who fail the challenges. The job market is similarly competitive, with applicants vying for limited positions. Job seekers must showcase their unique qualities and skills to avoid being eliminated from the hiring process.
According to LinkedIn, the average time a recruiter spends reviewing a CV before ‘eliminating’ or giving a ‘green light’ to a candidate is 6 seconds.
It’s important to know that many companies now use ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to scan for relevant language, information, and experience on a CV, to speed up the initial high volume application stage and eliminate candidates who have not tailored their CV.
Top Tip: Mirror the language and buzz words used in the job description with your own experience to showcase yourself as an ideal candidate for the job.
Simply sending the same generic CV you created months ago is unlikely to catch the reader’s eye quickly, so it’s important to tailor to your audience.
Precision & Patience
Just as contestants must delicately extract the cookie shape, job seekers need precision and patience to pass the application stage. Crafting a compelling CV, tailoring cover letters, and preparing for interviews all require meticulous attention to detail. Rushing through these steps can lead to “breaking the cookie” and missing out on potential opportunities.
Top Tip: Don’t apply to every vacancy you see advertised that might be a match to your skills. Instead, spend time tailoring your CV/ cover letter for the vacancies that you definitely have the experience and expertise for.
The Squid Game contestants must adapt to unexpected challenges in real-time, mirroring the job market’s unpredictability. Job seekers are forced to stay adaptable, continuously updating their skills, and being open to different opportunities. The ability to navigate unforeseen obstacles can make the difference between success and failure.
Top Tip: In a digital world, it’s important to stay up to date with Digital tools to have success on your job search. Google, HubSpot and many other tech platforms offer free training courses on the very tools that are used during an interview process. Brush up on your Zoom/ MS Teams skills, so that you can attack virtual interviews with confidence, rather than being afraid of poor connectivity.
Professional social media platforms like LinkedIn can only help you to get noticed if you use it wisely.
Choosing the right approach in the Cookie Challenge is crucial. Similarly, job seekers must make strategic decisions when selecting the right companies to apply to, negotiating offers, and determining their career path. Being strategic ensures that efforts are focused on opportunities that align with personal and professional goals.
The emotional toll of the Squid Games is evident in the contestants’ faces. Job searching can be emotionally taxing, with rejections and setbacks. Building emotional resilience is essential to weather the ups and downs, ensuring a positive mindset for continued pursuit of opportunities.
As we watch the gripping Squid Game drama unfold, it’s a stark reminder of the challenges we face in our own lives, particularly in the competitive job market.
The Cookie Challenge serves as a metaphor for the intricacies of job searching—requiring precision, adaptability, strategic decision-making, resilience, and the ability to navigate a challenging environment.
Much like Squid Game contestants, those who approach the job market with determination, strategy, and skill are more likely to emerge victorious in their pursuit of a new and fulfilling career.
Want to sharpen your job search skills and give yourself an advantage when attacking a competitive job market? Reach out to our specialist Recruitment Consultants, who are local market specialists in their chosen fields.
We can’t help you carve out cookies, but we definitely can help you find your next ideal career move.