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Kick the Habit

Landing a job through the Internet is often considered to be a game of chance… a little like resume roulette, if you will.  But, let me tell you first hand that it does not have to be that way.

Many job seekers take the approach that applying for a job online is a numbers game.  The more jobs they apply to the better their chances of landing one.  Although this tactic does hold some weight there are certainly more strategic ways to approach it.

I will say that finding a job online is a little like playing the lottery in that you need to play to win.  However, I would argue that the similarities with games of chance need to stop there.

In order to put the odds in your favor you need to understand that the majority of the time your resume application is not a direct link to a recruiter.  More times than not, your resume lands in a database which is then accessed by recruiters who query it using keywords and search criteria.   Resumes in the database are also often paired automatically to job postings using intelligent matching technologies offered by the applicant tracking systems in use by recruiters.

To maximize your effectiveness online you should adhere to these guidelines:

1. Only apply to the jobs that you believe you are qualified to do.

2. Don’t apply to a lot of jobs from the same employer as your resume will tend to end up in the same resume database and duplicates are often purged.

3. If you don’t see a relevant job from a specific employer, you should apply to a general email address which is often found on the employer’s corporate website.

4. Setup personalized email job alerts for instant notification of newly posted jobs.

5. Ensure that your resume contains relevant industry keywords (in context) that a recruiter may use in their search.  Keyword density also counts, so repeat certain keywords where appropriate.

6. Keep your resume up to date.

7. Follow up with employers whenever possible (certainly harder to do when applying through a job board)

Albeit, this is an abridged list of guidelines, feel free to share additional tips from your success online.

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11 Responses to “Kick the Habit”

  1. Paul B says:

    Jamie - You’ve hit on some great points, especially applying only for the jobs matching your experience. “Want-to-be” opportunities should be spared for the new college grads.

    I’d like to add some advice onto point 7. I advise that prospectors use other on-line tools readily available to them, such as LinkedIn and Google. Search out the names, email addresses, and/or phone numbers of the recruiters within target companies. Invite them to connect on LinkedIn or other on-line networking communities. Strike up an email or phone relationship. But, again, ONLY if you are truly qualified.

    Smart recuiters will be accepting of the connection, quick to assess the potential of ever hiring the applicant, and forthright in communicating that potential.

  2. Bob F says:

    I’ve used all of the above mentioned ‘tactics’ and have yet to get one single interview since June, 2008!?

  3. Rebecca says:

    This works for freelance jobs too- I’ve been on a freelance site and keep being underbid (I can’t work for $3.00/hr, sorry). Someday, I’ll get a good contract, if I stick with it. But the key words, keeping one’s resume updated, and bidding on jobs you can do (or will do) are worth paying attention to. I aim for 80% certainty or higher on average. Otherwise, I’m wasting their time and mine. Some jobs (like ghost writing) I won’t even bother with. I guess what it comes down to is: make a plan and stick to it- but be open to other options. Where do you want to be in ten or fifteen years? Then work backwards to today. Good luck all….

  4. DOUG says:

    IT TRULY AMAZES ME HOW MANY JOBS ARE POSTED ON THE INTERNET, YET, IT APPEARS THAT YOU CAN’T GET A SINGLE JOB RESPONSE WHEN YOU MEET THE CRITERIA. IT IS REALLY LIKE THOSE JOBS DON’T EVEN EXIST. I WILL TELL EVERYONE THAT I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT SOME RECRUITERS ARE INTERVIEWING SOMETIMES FOR A POSITION WEEKS BEFORE IT IS EVEN POSTED. FUNNY HUH?

  5. Linda L says:

    Paul, all good advise and I too have used them all. By the way Bob I have been looking since March and have had two interviews so all I can say is don’t let up. One thing I do in addition to what Paul posted is to attend association meetings that are in my field or closely related. I have been building my personal and professional network. I let people know I am looking and what I want. I have seen interest generated by taking some contracting positions to strut my stuff. I also send actual thank you cards with a personal note to those who help me. Bob, don’t take it personal. I say that because I have experienced indignation, anger and total discouragement at the stupidity of todays job search process and moved to great delight at my own personal growth, increased self confidence and the expanded opportunities I have mined and created.

  6. John says:

    Great! For the last 5 years all the projects I have been involved with were/are resaults of either posting my CV in company’s websites or through agencies.

    Am I lucky? No! I just manifest that the project I am busy with is coming to an end and I need another one!

    So, manifest, project, believe and expect.

  7. efosa says:

    I will like to let every one know that getting a job actually requires putting in more applications but most importantly, it requires developing yourself in line with your profession.
    No employer will not want a developed individual as this seems to mean less cost in training that individual. Get certified in line with your profession with relevant institutions and put in as many applications as you can.With this, certainly, certainly the job will come because you have a lot of negotiating power which gives you a high edge over other thousands or millions of applicants who are your competitors in this context.
    Thank you.

  8. Samuel N. says:

    l strongly agree with Linda and Efosa on attendind association meetings and getting specific certication in your profession. it surely gives you an edge over the other applicants. Don’t take it for granted that the employer is searching, it’s your responsibility to meet needs of the position if you want the job. whatever is the case, please be positive.

  9. chanda says:

    I find the article quite informative
    While sometimes it takes long to attend any interview
    Persistance pays in the long run

  10. Joe C says:

    As some have previously mentioned, it appears as though the number of jobs POSTED is rather vast. With the economy slump and the rising unemployment I find it hard to believe that the large number of job seekers are still SEEKING.
    There are plenty of QUALIFIED people out here, who for whatever reason, are not being vetted.
    If the number of posted jobs were to be filled today there would be a shortage of people to fill them!
    I think there are a large number of companies who are data-mining for their FUTURE prospects.
    I have been registered with several CHOICE job search sites and my industry specific headhunters who have yet to provide me with ANY response.
    Job-boards are a good way to view what is available or at least the job description, but until this economy begins its’ turnaround I am concerned that we all will be still in a state of wait-and-see.
    Good luck to all of us looking and keep positive!

  11. Letha says:

    I needed to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely enjoyed every
    little bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to
    check out new things you post_

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