An estimated 70-80% of open positions are NOT published, yet most job seekers still hunt online for employment. Online job applications should make life easier- you can conduct searches 24/7 and websites such as indeed.com and simplyhired.com aggregate job openings. BUT, the system is a black hole.
My nephew, a recent college graduate, has applied for more than 2,500 jobs online. I’m not exaggerating! He spends hours diligently completing online profiles for countless companies, researching available openings and then applying for a bazillion positions. He usually gets an automated response acknowledging that he’s applied, and then…. DEAD AIR.
Online application systems allow companies to collect thousands of resumes of qualified, and maybe not so qualified applicants. But most organizations do not leverage technology appropriately to sift through applicants and select the best to interview. Smart companies hold on to resumes of talented candidates and actively build a private talent network of passive candidates to be successful.
Last week we focused on Man vs. Machine, so I’d like to offer some tips to leverage online applications:
1. Proactively set up accounts with those companies that you’re really interested in – Take the time to set up an account with all of the required information and upload an updated resume. This can take 10-15 minutes if you don’t skip any steps! Set up an alert to receive notifications on job postings that match your profile.
2. Find connections at target companies to leverage introductions – the majority of hiring is through friends, former colleagues and acquaintances. Don’t be shy! Reach out to trusted friends; ask for their advice and introductions to their associates. Leverage Linked In and your alumnae network for connections- don’t send a bland email- ask for a 15-minute call to introduce yourself.
3. Don’t turn into a serial applicant – submitting applications for multiple positions within a company that you’re not qualified for will get you labeled as a “frequent flyer.” If you’re interested in a role but don’t have direct experience then take the time to draft a cover letter explaining why you think your skill set is transferable.
4. Check out niche job boards - for those with a specific area of expertise, you may want to peruse niche jobs sites – here’s a list of the Top 50 Niche sites complied by Smart Recruiter.
The job market is undeniably tough, especially for new graduates. Don’ t get stuck in the black hole- aggressively look for contacts in companies that you want to work with and leverage your own network for introductions.
Have you been successful applying online? What tips do you have? I look forward to your comments.