!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics --> WiserUTips: Why are you wasting time applying for jobs on job boards?

Why are you wasting time applying for jobs on job boards?

applying online, online job application forms, online job application sites, online job boards,
Learning what really happens when
you apply for jobs can help you
better handle the application process.

Does this sound familiar?
You have perfected your resume and have a simply killer cover letter. You posted your resume to all of the major job boards and created job alerts to find any job for which you are qualified. 

And then you sit and wait ... but nothing much shows up. Or, if a job shows up that you are highly qualified for, you get no response from your application.

Perhaps it would help if you understood what is really going on ...

When the economy started to go south, companies realized they would not be doing much hiring for a while. They also needed to reduce costs. So they laid off bunches of people, including many of their HR staff members. So now when they need to rehire people, they simply don't have the HR/recruiting staff to help them find suitable candidates.

I have a friend who is an HR director at a Boston area software company with about 150 employees. She told me about a situation late last year where she posted a new job on one of the larger job boards at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night. By the time she arrived at her office the next morning (12 hours later), she had more than 500 applicants. By the end of the day, she had received another 500 applications. She removed the job posting, but, in these days of search engines and cached results, the story didn't end there. By the end of the week she had received another 1,000 applications.

Can you imagine ... 2,000 job applications for a single position! And given the cutbacks at her company, she had no staff to help her review the submissions. So even if she only spent two minutes downloading, skimming, and categorizing each application, it would take her more than 66 hours to skim each application for this single position. Imagine if she needed to fill multiple positions. She had all this work to do and she hadn't even started doing phone screens or scheduling in-person interviews.

Think back to your typical work week. You probably spent more than 50 hours each week "at work", but not always doing core tasks. You attended meetings, ate lunch, talked to colleagues about work issues, helped customers on the phone, updated your boss on projects, perhaps led your team, and answered/sent countless emails. All of these activities were also part of your job. HR departments are no different.

Thus, 66 hours of initial applicant screening could easily consume two weeks or more, before the first batch of candidates who should be phone screened have been identified. And during all of this time, the hiring manager will be anxiously waiting to interview the best candidates because he/she wants to fill the position quickly, before the budgets change again and they lose the requisition.

No wonder it takes 3-4 weeks for you to get a response … if you ever even get one from your application sent through a large job board.

The end result for my friend, is that her company, like many others, no longer lists open positions on the large job boards. They simply can't afford to … at least not during this time of extremely high unemployment.

Instead, they search LinkedIn, the large job boards, and niche job boards for qualified candidates who they contact personally. And sometimes they list their open positions on their company website. Additionally, for positions that are difficult to fill (usually due to specific expertise requirements), they will engage a third-party recruiter to screen potential candidates using a detailed check list.

Now that you know why you aren’t getting responses through the big job boards, what should you do? I suggest the following approach:

(1) Check, double-check, and triple-check your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure it is a good representation of your skills and experiences and illustrates the benefits you have provided to your employers. Check that your Summary and Specialties sections include key words and phrases appropriate to the position(s) you want. Get good quality recommendations from past coworkers. Write similar recommendations for people you think do good work. Invite as many appropriate former colleagues and friends as you can to connect with you to build your network.

(2) Post your resume on appropriate job boards
Be visible on job boards so employers (or the recruiters they have hired) can find you. Some search on LinkedIn, others search the large job boards or niche job boards appropriate for their industry or the position they are trying to fill. Have your resume where they can find it.

(3) Update your LinkedIn status bar and your resume on the job boards
Each week, LinkedIn sends an email to many of your connections that summarizes the various activities of you and the rest of their connections. Update your LinkedIn status once a week so that your connections will be reminded that you are still looking for a job.

Likewise, recruiters who search the job boards automatically get notified of any "new" resumes. So, update your resume on every job board where it is posted about every 3-4 weeks, so that they are reminded to think of you.

(4) Subscribe to job finder services like Indeed or Simply Hired that collect job postings from company web sites.

(5) Network, network, and network some more.
Talk to all of your friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, etc. Seek out anyone who might know someone you can talk to about a particular company, industry, or product. Ideally, talk to them over coffee, lunch, or a drink after work. In other words, in person. If that doesn't work, talk to them by phone. Don't just email them, because emails are too easily overlooked, misplaced, or deleted.

(6) Create a professional online identity for yourself
This involves using social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook, etc. in an effective and coordinated manner -- which is what we will discuss next time.

That's all for now, but we want to hear from you. Add your comments and then go find that next great job!


A guest post by David Fulton., a Boston-based software product management professional for enterprise, web-enabled applications. 

What comments or suggestions do you have about the big job boards or other aspects of this post? Add your comments!


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  1. They're worth a shot if you have nothing else to do.

  2. If you have nothing else to do, it's better to do this than nothing.


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