How many jobs have you applied for online? How many job offers have they gotten for you? It would be my educated guess that the answer is zero. Don’t worry-you’re not the only one. Online job applications are probably the most common, yet least effective, job search effort.
Why isn’t applying online an effective strategy?
Think about this: When you see a job posting online, how many other people do you imagine have seen it, too? Thousands. So when you throw your hat into the ring, how easy is it to get lost in the crowd? Very. If you don’t have the perfect application with the exact keywords that the HR department of that company is looking for, you won’t even get a “Dear John” letter.
That’s why. Online applications don’t help you stand out. They are a time-wasting black hole.
Now, think about this: What would you say is the way most people get jobs? Through people they know-their networks. Networking has always been the most effective way to land a job. Why? For one thing, people like to hire candidates who have been recommended to them by someone they know and trust. There’s a connection. Now, that someone could be a personal connection, a professional connection, a recruiter-you get the idea.
But you can take this one step further. The other reason networking works is because it puts you in front of the hiring manager, who is the decision-maker (and keeps you away from gate-keeping, candidate-blocking Human Resources departments). That alone helps you stand out.
The good news is, you can contact hiring managers directly. The most effective way to do this is through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an easy way to get in front of hiring managers, who can then check out your profile, see who you’re connected to, see what you’ve said in discussions, and feel like they know something about you.
There are other ways to contact hiring managers directly, of course: using your own networks is a great way to do that. But LinkedIn gets you a larger number of managers, which increases your chances that one of them will be interested in finding out more about you.
If you need help with figuring out effective ways to use this strategy, find a career coach to help you. In addition, a career coach can help you position yourself in the market in order to attract the attention you need in your job search-which just might make hiring managers contact you.