You read that right. If you’re actively job searching really the last thing you should be doing is applying to positions through the myriad of online job boards out there. Plainly put, it's not that effective. Don’t just take my word for it, check out additional info on the matter here, here, here, and even here. It’s not to say online job boards are all bad. They're useful to conduct job market research, understand hiring trends, and identify prospective target employers. But…that’s about it.
So, if applying online isn’t effective why do you continue to do it? Let me guess: it’s easy. You have a general idea of the right search words to use and have created the perfect robot-reading friendly resume. You find a role and hit that “Quick Apply” button and you’re done! You feel like you accomplished something. You got this! Right? Wrong.
Conservative estimates suggest each online job opening receives approximately 250 applications. Think about that. Does your resume have some magical component that ensures it will stand out among the sheer volume of applications?
Essentially technology has made my lovable, frustrating, and necessary recruiting profession a pretty hot mess. At any given time, recruiters can be swamped with 30, 50, even 100 open positions they are trying to fill simultaneously. If they’re receiving an average of 250 applications per opening what are the odds a human set of eyes ever even see your resume? I can tell you from experience they are low. And don’t even get me started on the very common organizational practice of posting positions online that are already in the process of being filled by an internal or referral candidate. Yes, that happens! A lot. Or worse yet, you could be applying to what we call an “evergreen requisition” that just sits online indefinitely for the sole purpose of building a funnel of potential candidates for the future, not for hiring someone right now.
Thoroughly depressed yet? I know I am...every time a client tells me their primary strategy for getting a job is applying online. If I were to tell you a different, more effective approach that actually puts the control of your career future back into your hands would you at least consider it? Even if it’s not something as easy as applying online? Even if it feels uncomfortable? You must decide if you want to embody Einstein’s famous quote on insanity or if you want to adopt a different, better approach.
You already know the answer, you’ve heard it all before. You just may not want to believe it because it’s a bit harder and requires a bit of vulnerability. And who wants to be even more vulnerable than they already are during a job search? But I’m telling you right now, not only is this more effective, if put into practice, this approach will position you to never again feel at the mercy of the job market and would-be employers. It will provide the foundation necessary for you to be more informed and proactive in your professional life where you know your worth, know how to communicate your value, and know who to cultivate relationships with to create career opportunities for yourself.
So, before you hit that apply button one more time do this instead:
Plan, plan, plan: Are you applying to jobs willy-nilly? You’re not alone so don’t feel too bad, but it is a very reactive approach that gives you no control over your career future. Can’t figure out why you get very little or no response? Perhaps it’s because you’re not being strategic about this whole job search thing. Try taking a step back to understand the specific types of roles that are your best fit, research the organizations that could potentially offer you those opportunities, and connect with the role's hiring decision makers.
Brand, brand, brand: I say/write/tweet this every other day it seems - the core of your professional value is already there. You must brand yourself accordingly and know how to communicate your value to anyone and everyone who will listen. Don’t rely on recruiters or hiring managers to infer your talent. It just doesn’t work that way.
Network, network, network: Yeah, yeah you’ve heard it a dozen times before. Ever thought about why you hear it so much? Because it works! Building long term reciprocal professional relationships is the number one way to find future career opportunities. If you build and nurture your network you’ll never “look for a job" again. It’s that simple.
Need help? Please GET IN TOUCH to learn more about how I partner with professionals like you to craft and tell your professional story in an authentic and compelling way, to define your full value in the job market, and identify ways to gain access to opportunities that align with your career goals and that inspire and motivate you.