Avoiding The Job Board Trap
Every day I hear from people who tell me that they have sent out dozens of resumes and are not getting calls. Some of these people have very good resumes so what’s the problem here?
The problem is simply that the job boards have a 3-5% effectiveness rate and although it is very exciting to see a position that matches your skills, having job boards as the heart of your search strategy can lead to a lot of frustration. Let’s look at how positions come to appear on job boards.
You’ve seen this yourself in your own organization. A position is open and announced to all employees where they can post for it themselves or refer someone they know to be considered. If this referred candidate is hired, they will usually receive a bonus (and who in this market doesn’t know someone to recommend for a job)? So by the time the job is advertised on the job boards, they are already interviewing people who have been referred to them by trusted sources. And you are now competing with hundreds of other people who have also applied for the job. That’s why you often hear that a position was filled internally or by an employee referral.
So what should you do to get the maximum benefit from job board postings? There are 2 key tricks here and in both, you DO NOT SEND YOUR RESUME over the internet. First, go to Linkedin.com and search for the company. You will see the people who work there and their respective titles, so find the folks that manage or work in your desired area.
Now the most effective approach is to see if you can get into that magic circle of people who have been recommended by insiders. You do this by asking yourself “Who do I know who might know someone who works there?”. Do this by simply reaching out to your contacts and say, “I am interested in a position at XYZ. Do you know anyone there who can share some insights about the company?”.
Linkedin will also show you people who used to work there and you can contact them and ASK FOR ADVICE (not a job referral). Here you can find out who the hiring forces are, the real challenges they are facing and what they are looking for in a candidate.
Remember that the more you know about the company, the more effective your search will be. The goal here is to network your way into a meeting with the people in the firm so you can be perceived as someone recommended as opposed to a faceless piece of paper in a large pile of resumes in human resources.
If that doesn’t work, and after you’ve learned all you can about the company and the challenges, then just call the hiring manager and say something like: “A friend told me you might be interested in someone with my background. I offer (insert your 2-sentence pitch), and I have just a few questions for you.”
Then ask them some questions that show you’ve done some homework on their company. Be very friendly, down to earth and personable and get into a conversation with them to build some rapport (remember that people hire people they like). At some point they will ask you for your resume at which point your resume is now at the top of the decision maker’s pile. They will probably still want you to send the resume to human resources in order to comply with internal protocols, but you are still in the decision maker’s mind.
Job boards are not the most effective way to find a position so you should augment your search with networking which has over a 50% effectiveness rate. Nonetheless, use these tips can more than double the success rate of job boards in securing a position.