I guess I'm dating myself when I remember going through the New York Times every Sunday looking for jobs. That is what millions of people did. Then, we would send cover letters and resumes to those organizations who we thought had openings which seemed to match our background. We were very confident that we would be selected since we were certain that we were the perfect match, We even shared our confidence with significant others and friends. We patted ourselves on the back that we did a great job of searching for positions that day. Days would pass and no response. We couldn't understand why you weren't selected. After all, we were perfect. Nobody else could match you. It never occurred to us that there might be another 1,000 people applying. Instead of trying something different, we continued to do the same thing over and over again getting the same results.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should sound familiar, because the same experiences are prevalent with job boards. The technology is different, but human nature remains the same. We get addicted to what is easy, not what is most effective.
Am I implying that job boards should not be part of the search? Of course, not. They are an important part of the job search process. Why are job boards important:
1. They provide knowledge about your job market. Over a relatively short time it provides information as to the requirements for positions you seek. After a while you can assess you possess the minimum requirements or skills and experience well above the minimum. For example if it is a highly desirable position and they say they want 0-2 years experience and " X skill is preferred, but not necessary" you can bet that there will be candidates that match it. You may also learn that you might need some more training or education to be a strong candidate for this type of position.
2. Many companies list their positions on line and want you to apply on line. They do this for several reasons. First, they want metrics on the application pool. They get this by asking you a number of questions so that they can assess how well their approaches are working for getting targeted matches. Second, they don't want a flurry of people contacting them who are looking for positions who don't match the requirements.
Thus, many companies require on line applications for even getting them to look at your resume.
If your job search ends with submitting your resume on line, you are making a great mistake. the next step is the most important. This is where your network comes in. I am not going to go into why you should have a strong presence on LinkedIn and develop a powerful network. I have written on it extensively. What you want to do here is tap your network for possible people who could connect you to the employer. When somebody I know well asks me to connect them to an employer that I know who is looking to fill a position that the person is qualified for, I am happy to do it. The employer is happy too. They, end up getting strong candidates and sometimes employees.