This is the first post in a series of posts about the most common and damaging mistakes jobseekers make. Read the full series here.
1st deadly sin: Your job search strategy consists of only searching online and newspaper ads
You find yourself out of a job and turn to what has worked for you in the past. After all, the last time you looked for a job, you grabbed the Sunday paper, found an ad in your field, sent a resume, went on the interview, and got the job. The problem is, that strategy stopped being efficient years ago. While you still find job ads in the Sunday newspaper, they have mostly migrated online. The online version of your local paper will still have job ads. Add to that a large number of online job boards, such as Indeed, Ziprecruiter, and Craigslist, plus local and niche job boards. That should give you plenty of jobs to choose from…..so you think.
While you will find plenty of positions advertised on the internet, what’s your actual chance of landing a job this way? Many sources say: around 5%.
Here are some of the reasons why your chances of success applying for jobs online are so low:
- Only around 20% of all open positions are advertised online. The other 80% of open positions are filled through referrals and networking! So, if your entire job search consists of applying online, you are competing for only 20% of available jobs.
- For non-technical positions it is not at all unusual for 200 or 300 people to apply. That’s a lot of competition.
- Your application is received by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the software the company uses to manage their recruiting function. The software often screens your resume and application before a human eye will see it. It uses keyword matches. If your resume does not contain the right keywords, you’re sorted out and your application will never be seen by a human.
- If a human recruiter screens your resume, they will look at it for only a few seconds due to the large number of applicants. They will not read your documents word for word!
- Due to the keyword-matching mechanism, the only applicants who will make it through are those who have the exact experience and skills described in the ad. If you are a career changer or want to change industries, you are very unlikely to make it through.
It is still possible to find a job through online ads. Just use it as one of several approaches to job search, not your only one! Devote much more time to networking and informational interviewing in order to open up the 80% of open positions that constitute the hidden job market and are never advertised.
If you need help devising an efficient job search or networking strategy, call the Career Center at 225-231-3733; we can help. More information on networking and informational interviewing can be found here.
Stay tuned for the next deadly sin of job search.
Written by Anne Nowak