Job hunting websites are commonly used by job seekers. We see advertisements for Careerbuilder.com during the Super Bowl, and Monster.com has become a household name. As an employment coach, I do quite a bit of research to help my clients improve their offline and online job hunting success.
I recently read a surprising statistic. I don’t remember which news site referenced it, but it said that less than 5% of all positions are filled through job hunting websites. Less than 5%!! If this is accurate, and your goal is employment, your approach cannot only be online. You must use a variety of methods to find the right position for you. Job hunting websites have you competing against hundreds of others for the same job, and in a medium that makes it difficult to stand out or make an incredible impression.
If you are determined to use job hunting websites as a source for employment opportunities, be aware of how competitive it is. It can be frustrating to invest the time to apply online, usually for a job you are not especially suited for, and never hear back from the company. Frequently, you won’t even receive a confirmation e-mail for your application. This is nuts! It becomes a waste of time AND it can become very frustrating. What do you need to do instead?
You can still do your online job hunting– just switch to applying directly to the source! Do your research on companies within your preferred industry or sector to see if they have any opportunities on their individual websites. Keep in mind that advertising costs money and capital may be tight. Besides, employers want to know you are specifically seeking them out.
Do you have to apply online? It is becoming standard procedure. Unfortunately, both broad job hunting websites and individual company websites are designed to screen applicants out rather than screen them in. So, how do you slant the playing field in your favor?
If you must submit online, look for ways to leverage personal relationships inside the organization in an effort to make the online job hunting more successful. If you do not have any internal contacts, look at your network. Does anyone you know have a contact inside the organization? If not, and you really think the company and/or position is a good fit for you, you may have to do it the old fashioned way. Walk into the organization and introduce yourself to the receptionist.
Don’t underestimate the value of a skillful combination of courtesy, sincerity and a good attitude. Introduce yourself. Acknowledge your objective. Find out who the contact person is for your resume and application follow up. Do not forget to send a thank you note or small gift to the receptionist for their effort. This may be a determining factor in advancing you through the process. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE INFLUENCE OF THE RECEPTIONIST!
Job hunting websites are not the best, or the only, tools to find employment. A much smaller number of jobs are filled this way than you think. While most job seekers are focused solely on online job hunting, make sure to use your networks, contacts, and good old fashioned pavement pounding to slant the playing field and potential for success in your favor.