Hey, how is the job search going?  What??? You have applied to 30 online jobs already!!! Wow!  That is impressive.  OR is it?  Are you throwing spaghetti (replace spaghetti with word of your choice ;)) on the wall to see if it sticks?  If you are, you are wasting your valuable energy.  How many call-backs have you had so far?  Yup, that’s what I thought:  none; or maybe only a few.  No wonder you’re exhausted and burned out.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t apply online at all; applying online should only be one small activity in your job search and it needs to be focussed, targeted, and for you to be clear on what you have to offer (see previous posts). 

Let’s look at some numbers, and to start, let’s look at your competition.  When you see a job posting online, how many people do you think will apply for it?  On average 100 to 200 will, and sometimes more.  These days, most companies have an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) in place.  With these many applicants they are looking to put your resume in either the YES or NO pile.  This is why it is so important to really read the job description and NOT just the title.  Do you meet the requirements?  The “system” will not think:  “….this person could learn this job” NO.  Companies want to save money so if they can hire somebody that requires little or no training, they will put this candidate’s resume in the YES pile.  So now we have maybe 20 resumes in the YES pile.  An HR person or Recruiter will now probably SCAN the resumes.  Yes, that’s right – most of the time, they do not read resumes, or print them; they will do a key word search or scan very quickly to again put the resume in either the YES or NO pile.  Then they will present maybe 5 resumes to the Hiring Manager who will, at this stage, READ your resume.  Then only about 3 candidates will make it to the interview.  Yup, it almost feels like a lottery. 


Your job search strategy should include other activities, and from my experience, I would recommend spending only about 10 percent of your time applying online, about 20 percent connecting with recruiters and 70 percent (yes you read that right) SEVENTY PERCENT of your time should be spent networking:  in-person, by phone, and online.  My next 2 posts will give you a strategy on this and how to conduct informational interviewing.  

Also, job boards are not just about applying online; they are great research tools on the skills and experience that are in demand, and on companies that are hiring and where they are located. 

When you don’t get a call back, your efforts are not wasted.  Keep a record of when and where you applied.  Do searches on LinkedIn for a company’s recruiter (sometimes called a Talent Acquisition Specialist) and connect with and possibly have a chat with them.  Also, if you can determine who the hiring manager is, you have nothing to lose by connecting with them on LinkedIn, it is a professional networking platform. 

If the position is filled, your resume will still be kept on file and perhaps the company will have an upcoming opening for a similar position.  You never know, so build those relationships.

ALWAYS write a cover letter even if the job posting states that it’s optional.  Think about it – it’s a great way to talk about yourself, use more of the keywords in the job posting, and match your values to those of the company.  The best way to do this is to make your cover letter and resume into one document to submit when applying. 

What about when it asks your desired salary?  Here are 3 options.  You can use the one that you are most comfortable with:

  1.  You can either leave this blank, or type ‘negotiable’.
  2. If forced to give a number, or your salary history, provide exactly as asked.
  3. A slightly riskier option is to provide the salary that you expect based on your research into that market, to all questions whether require your expected salary or your salary history.  If you can put in a range, that’s even better.  So, the focus is on your expectations and not on your prior income.

Later in the series I will have a post on salary and offer negotiations.  Stay tuned!

For more information on this subject send me an e-mail or schedule a 15-minute chat to see if I can help you effectively apply online.

For the next two weeks I will share strategic actions you should take when networking in person, on the phone or online and how to conduct informational interviewing.

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Happy search!



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