Dear online apply: you’ve made my job search process suck…

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Show of hands for those who had a great experience with online apply in their last job search!   Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller???

I’m dating myself now, but in the olden days a person just mailed in their resume and waited, then called, and with any luck got an interview. Pretty simple right?

Along came the internet and all the cool tools meant to aid the process of applying for a job actually turned a simple process into a highly complex, frustrating, and convoluted one.  Corporate America got super excited about inserting a technology solution into a human recruiting process and forgot the one thing that should have been the primary focus: the human!

An unanticipated casuality in this tech revolution is your friendly corporate recruiter.  While automation has increased, recruiting budgets have shifted to technology – leaving the recruiter with impossible workloads under the guise of perceived efficiency that, in practice, comes up short.

Like it or no, online apply is a reality and here to stay for the foreseeable future.   That said – here’s a few ideas to game the system and stand out in a sea of applicants.

DISCLAIMER:  You will undoubtedly find recruiters who will disagree and agree with my advice.  I’m using my objective experience on both sides of the house to help Joe Smith understand the process and  reality of job search today.  The goal is to help a few more people successfully land their next gig!   

Here’s the issue:  

Corporate recruiters really want to give you a fair shake, but they are juggling 20-40 jobs at any one time – each with (conservatively) 50-75 applicants just like you.  Thats 1000-3000 applicants they’re trying to screen, evaluate, and service… Bottom line – recruiters aren’t always set up for success and can’t give the customer service they would otherwise like to.

Corporate America has made it incredibly hard for a person to just raise their their hand and say “Hey!  I’d like to work for you!” without jumping through hoops such as:

Step one – Upload your resume.

Step two – Yaaaa…. all the info on that resume you just uploaded?? Were gonna need you to manually enter that all over again in the next 3 pages.   Sorry.

As a result – some companies track a candidate fallout rate as high as 50% from their crappy online apply.  Thats some pretty good talent who said “I’m interested” then walked away after getting frustrated.

So what’s a person to do?

Here’s a few recommendations:

Recruiters all love your cover letters – but they just don’t have time to read them (see issue #1 above).  Awesome story.  Love your passion and purpose.  Recruiters simply do not have time. Soo…..  86 the cover letter. Instead – invest your time in a clear, sharp resume.

You’ve literally got 20-30 seconds to get their attention.   20-30 seconds – for a process that may have taken you 10-30 minutes to complete.  Sorry!  Totally not fair, but it’s just a fact of life.   Be targeted with your resume.  All those words in the job description need to be in your resume too. This is so the robot recruiters that screen and rank resumes for the human recruiters know that you’re a good match and you get ranked higher than the other candidates. Please be honest though… If you don’t have a skill, don’t say you do.   Long story short:  you should be tailoring your resume specifically for every single job you apply for. Recruiters will love you for making their life easier and your resume will have a better shot of seeing the light of day!

Make a connection (but be professional):  You’ve applied – cool!    But time to be proactive.  Who do you know in the company that could be an avocate for you?   Know someone who knows the recruiter?  The hiring manager?  Reach out to them but be professional.   Do it when you truly believe you’re a great candidate.  People – including recruiters and hiring managers don’t like surprises and value honesty from potential employees.  It’s a fine line that’s often the difference between getting an extra look and being deleted forever.   Aka: pestering a recruiter or hiring manager can get you blackballed.

Have a short memory:  job search is hard and without an inside  connection – it can be down right frustrating.   Understand that if you’re applying cold to companies, the ballpark average is 45 job applies will yield one job offer.  Stay positive and stay on top of the details – follow up, say thank you, and stay focused.   Your next job is out there – you just have to weed through the process  and get noticed!

Job search can be a tricky thing, but hopefully these few suggestions make your next job search more successful!

Happy (and stress free) hunting!!


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