Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is applying for a job on-line a double-edged sword?

Interesting question. Do you know how to avoid being stabbed?

Let’s say you find the perfect job on-line, you fit it perfectly, so you apply, following directions carefully. Then you wait, …and wait, …and nothing! What happened?

Any of a zillion things happened.
It wasn’t a real job, just a ploy to get your resume by a head-hunter.
It was a real job and you didn’t fit the criteria set into an ATS system.
You submitted a resume that could not be read by ATS.
The job has been filled but not removed from on-line.
The job was listed to make the company look like it’s strong and hiring.
They hire lots of people for multiples of that job so it sits there all the time, even when they’re not currently trying to fill it.
They want some resumes for future positions, even with different requirements.
You’re late and they are in the final interview process with several candidates.
You didn’t include something they wanted, like a cover letter maybe.
You’ve been discriminated against (nobody will admit they discriminated).
Etc., etc.

So what do you do? For starters, rethink what search tactics you use and how much time you devote to each. Put less emphasis on the on-line tactic.

The on-line tactic: This is often the most time-consuming and least productive tactic. Use it to identify companies you might be interested in. Then use parallel on-line resources to evaluate the company. Is it solid? What is its culture? Is it really for you? Can you find out who the hiring manager is?

The cold-call tactic: Unlike the on-line tactic this is often the most productive but it requires learning and practice – lot’s of it, unless you have sales cold-calling experience. The objective is to find out who the hiring manager is, call him/her and get him/her interested in you before you apply. You want to find out more about his/her pain so you can modify your resume to respond to the pain.

The network tactic: This is always one of the best ways to get and share information. It should be a tactic that you use perpetually, before and after you land a job. But NEVER ask anyone you network with for a job! Offer help and ask for information.

The recruiter tactic: Some recruiters can help you, others can actually hurt you. Be very careful. Understand how recruiters work, who they work for (it’s never you! Never!) and how they are compensated. Get help from a qualified job search consultant to learn all you can about this tactic.

Post your experience and tell what you did about it here.

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