VOL. 130 | NO. 143 | Friday, July 24, 2015
The Online Trap
By Angela Copeland
I’ll admit it; I’m an online junkie.
I’ve been on the Internet practically every day since its invention. I studied computers in college and had a long career as an online marketer.
I love the Internet. It’s a window into so many things. You can learn a new language online. You can make new friends. You can even order new furniture. Just about anything you could possibly need or want, you can find online.
The one place where we tend to exaggerate just how much the Internet can help us is in the job application process. Companies love to tell candidates, “Apply online. If we like your application, we’ll be in touch.” And, it seems easy, right? Sites like LinkedIn give us options to apply with just one click. Companies have entire websites and systems dedicated to this process that they’ve spent a lot of time and money to develop, so applying online would seem to make sense.
I often talk to job seekers who say, “I’ve applied to 100 jobs online and I haven’t gotten any interviews.” The person then gives a laundry list of reasons why the company doesn’t like them, and therefore hasn’t selected them for an interview. The list usually includes things like, “I’m too old” or “My education isn’t good enough” or “I haven’t managed enough people.”
While these things may be true, it’s more likely that the company never even saw your resume. You heard that right. When you apply online, it is possible human eyes may never see your application.
A survey performed by CareerXroads found that only 15 percent of jobs were found online. That means that 85 percent of jobs were secured offline.
What’s a job seeker to do? Should we give up on the Internet completely? No. Remember that the Internet does have a seat at the table of your job search. It just may not be at the head of the table. Use the Internet to learn what jobs companies are hiring for. Use it to learn more about a particular company, recent company news, what employees think of the organization, and how much they pay. Think of it like a research tool.
If you find a job you like, apply online first. This will allow you to check the box for the company’s process. Then, look at what you can do offline. For example, do you know someone who works at the company? Would they be willing to meet with you? In some cases, a friend may even be willing to walk a printed copy of your resume to the hiring manager’s desk.
You may think this sounds old fashioned. But, it works. First, you made it past the online system right to the hiring manager. They have officially seen your resume, and will make a conscious choice about it. Second, you were referred by a trusted source. Personal recommendations will get you further, much faster than applying to a black hole online ever will.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.