Here’s a common scenario (and complaint) for job seekers: “I spend all day long applying to jobs online through Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or niche job boards—and I never get a response. Have I lost the understanding of how this job search works?”
If this is happening to you, you’ve got to understand that the job search has totally changed from what it was 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago. Today’s job search is different. It’s flooded with job seekers in this terrible economy, and jobs are posted online, so that everyone and their dogs can apply, with just a click of the mouse. So some of these jobs you’re seeing on Monster or Career Builder or some of the bigger niche sites are getting a thousand or more applicants—and I don’t care how good you are, it’s hard to shine in a room of 1000 people.
What should you do? Step away from sites like those, other than looking at the job to find out who it’s with. Once you find out which company is hiring, find out who the hiring manager for that job is.
This is where social networks come into play. You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to identify the hiring manager for that job and then go directly to him because—guess what? It takes a lot of effort to do that. So not all of those 1000 folks who sent in that application will contact the hiring manager. In fact, my guess would be that out of the 1000 people who would apply online, less than 10 will seek out the hiring manager. Out of those 10, at least 5 will fail with a typo, a misspelled word, bad email syntax, or they just do an overall crummy job with their note, so really, it’s 5 out of 1000—and you could be one of those 5.
Why is it so important to get to the hiring manager? He’s the one who’s carrying the budget, and who has the problem he’s got to solve, so he’s super-interested in someone like you. You have to help him find you.
So, stop applying online. It just won’t work in our current climate. There are too many applicants, and not enough jobs. Find the job, find the hiring manager, and go directly to him for the job.