I just read a article by J.T. O’Donnell from February titled The (Depressing) Truth About Applying To Jobs Online.” J.T.’s post give a lot of great tips but there seems to be quite a bit of absolutism in advice these days.
Do this, Don’t do that
The truth is that most job search has merit but to shut-off any one area of your job search is to turn your back on those openings. Let me stop and admit that I have skin in the game. Not only do I hire people from the job postings but that is also how I came to work at Mspark. It may be true that1% or less of online applicants end up getting the job but to that 1%, that is a big deal.
Let’s look at the dating analogy… How many times do online dating sites fail vs. succeed? They fail a lot! So should you stop using them? Or how about first dates all together? Most first dates fail if your goal is to find a life-long mate. So, maybe you should stop going on first dates? Sound ludicrous? So does telling someone not to fill out an online application.
For some, online applications are a must
Did you know that if an employer is a government contractor you MUST be considered an “applicant” before that employer can consider you for a position? That means to be considered for a position at most government contractors you must fill out an online application. Don’t think this rule is a big deal? Just ask someone in HR who has gone through an OFCCP audit… it’s a big deal with HUGE costs to the company if they don’t follow the rules. Don’t think you want to work at a government contractor? Think again, the government contractor list is HUGE and yes, Google is a government contractor.
One strategy is not enough
If you only use one channel in your job search you are severely limiting your options. Let’s say you follow the advise of looking at companies you that sell products or services you respect and admire. Granted, J.T.’s article does not say “only” look at those companies but I worry that many people would read it that way and could be ignoring a great number of employers.
Put together a marketing plan
By now you are asking, “What channels should I be using in my job search?” Great question! Here are some suggestions but the % you spend on each one is up to you and your job search criteria:
- Online Job Boards – The numbers that show your odds of getting a job just by applying online are similar to the lottery are skewed by TONS of non-qualified applicants who clog up ATSs daily. Keep in mind that some jobs are only posted for 24 – 72 hours.
- Company websites – Some companies only post on their website.
- LinkedIn – Job postings and networking all in one.
- Twitter – Great networking tool and good for company research.
- Social Media – FaceBook, Instagram, etc… Recruiters are moving to social media.
- Networking – It is often times true… who you know is more important than what you know.
- Direct contact with employers – Reach out to the employer directly. Many times if you call the main-line for a company and ask for HR you can talk to someone.
- Employee referrals – If you know someone that works at the company where you want to work, be sure to let them know. Ask if you can put them down as the referral source when you apply for a position. Many companies pay $500 – $1000 to their employees for referring someone who is hired
- Career Fairs – Similar to job boards the percentages may tell you the odds are slim but you rarely get the chance to talk one on one with someone from the company.
- Agencies – While agencies do have competing loyalties, they still provide a useful service to employers and candidates.
- Associations – Look for industry or profession specific associations. They may have job boards. They are also a great way to network and get information.
- Alumni groups – Is there a local alumni chapter from your University? Be sure to reach back out to your school. They may have resources you can use. Even some major employers have alumni groups.
- Externships – Try job shadowing. This is usually easier for students or recent grads.
- Volunteer – If you are not currently working then volunteering is a great way to network.
- Market yourself – Go on the offensive. Some people have posted ads for themselves on FB and other online places. Start tweeting or blogging about your industry or profession. There have even been stories about people handing out resumes at subway stops. Get creative and get out there!
In short, don’t restrict your job search. Think of it this way… you are the product. You need to identify your top customers and marketing channels. Then spend your resources (time) effectively.
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.