One of the most popular ways to job search is via online job boards such as Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, and Execunet.com. Many people would add LinkedIn to that list, but it should be noted that the jobs listed on LinkedIn are all from SimplyHired. And of course many people find online job postings through recruiter or company websites as well.
Regardless of where you find these job postings, they are not an effective way to job search for most job seekers, particularly those in mid-career to senior executive roles. Why not?
You have to embed enough of the right key words in the right way in the right locations in your resume.
When you apply for a job on a job board, on a recruiter website, on LinkedIn, or on an employer website your resume is stored and analyzed by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), or database. When a recruiter or hiring manager searches that database for prospective hires, they will direct the ATS to search for candidates with some combination of education, experience, and skills. The ATS then analyzes all available resumes, counts the number of times key words and phrases are used, and rank orders resumes accordingly. If your resume doesn’t have the right number of key words to rank high, or doesn’t use those words in the way the ATS best recognizes them, or doesn’t place those words in the right locations in the document, your candidacy for that role is dead in the water.
You have to tailor your resume to meet the job’s specifications.
Because of the importance of your resume’s key words, it is imperative that you tailor each submission to match the key words used in the job posting to which you are applying. Though this process isn’t rocket science, there is a bit of an art to knowing which words in the job posting are key words, which ones to incorporate into your resume, and how best to do so. Generic submissions simply don’t work anymore. Your resume must appear to be written just for the opportunity at hand, even if it wasn’t.
You’re targeting a visible job rather than a hidden one.
The Visible Job Market is made up of jobs you can see – all the jobs listed on job boards, on Craig’s List, in newspaper Help Wanted Ads, in trade journals, on company websites, and on recruiter websites. As long as your search targets these kinds of opportunities you will be missing out on 85% of the available jobs. In other words, only 15% of available jobs are ever posted online or publicized outside the company. Why would you want to ignore the remaining 85%?
You’ll face maximum competition, which makes it harder for your candidacy to stand out.
If you’re one of hundreds of people applying for a job that is highly visible to everyone else looking for the same types of positions, your candidacy is almost guaranteed to encounter enormous competition. You’re better off to uncover hidden job opportunities and pursue those with much less competition.
You’ll restrict your search to the hiring pace of the employers you pursue.
Two constant frustrations for most job hunters is that after applying for jobs they never receive any updates on their candidacy and that employers take such a long time to move through the hiring process. By focusing predominantly on job boards and online submissions, though, you’re inadvertently multiplying this frustration and slowing your search results to the progress of each employer you pursue. This might not be so bad if you had many irons in the fire, but most job seekers struggle to win interviews in the first place, let alone progress their candidacy to the next level.
While applying for jobs online is the go-to job-hunt solution for most folks, it shouldn’t be. I recommend that my clients submit no more 3-4 jobs online weekly and instead focus their energies on more powerful job search strategies that get better results. While online job boards typically result in a hire 15% to 20% of the time, networking and company targeting each result in a hire more than 80% of the time. Why not play the odds?