10 Ways Online Job Search Can Be Disastrous for Your Job Hunt

10 Ways Online Job Search Can Be Disastrous for Your Job Hunt

Focus too much on submitting for online jobs and your search will grind on slowly. You may end up job hunting longer than you want and settling for a job that isn’t necessarily the best fit for you. Why is that? Consider these ten problems that can have a disastrous impact on your search:

  • You’ll Face Massive Competition for Open Jobs: Online job search is one of the most common ways for candidates to seek new roles, which guarantees you maximum competition for most jobs you apply for. I often compare applying for jobs via company websites, job boards, recruiter sites, and LinkedIn to the process of waiting in line for hours or days to grab tickets to the hottest concert in town. By the time you get to the ticket desk, if you can do so at all, your chance of actually securing a ticket is poor, while if you bypass the ticket desk all together, you can often land a screening interview faster and more reliably by other means. When only 2-8 resumes out of every 100 submitted for a job are typically interviewed, it pays to make sure the odds are in your favor.
  • Only 15% of Available Jobs Are Ever Publicized: The so-called Visible Job Market is exactly that – those jobs that are visible on company or recruiter websites, job boards, and Linked, or those that are publicized in print. By focusing too much on this small segment of the job market, you’re inadvertently ensuring that you’re missing out on the 85% of open jobs that aren’t publicly advertised. That 85% represents the Hidden Job Market, and the only way to access those jobs is through some combination of online/offline, local/regional, and face-to-face networking.
  • Your Resume Tailoring Must Be Spot On: You categorically must tailor your resume for every use to maximize the number of keywords in the document and ensure the best possible alignment with the requirements of each published job you pursue. But get this process wrong by not tailoring your resume enough or too much, and you won’t get the interview calls that you should get. Resume tailoring is very much a Goldilocks dilemma in that you can all too easily do too much or too little of the right or wrong things to prepare your resume for submission.
  • Your Resume Must Be Age-Proofed: If you possess more or less experience than the amount typically requested by hiring employers in your target roles and industries, you’ll have to age-proof your resume (and LinkedIn profile). If you possess too little experience, you’ll need to maximize the amount you do have, look for legitimate ways to insert more keywords in the document, and carefully consider how to describe the experience you possess so you don’t get screened out of consideration by Applicant Tracking Systems. If you possess more experience than the amount sought in the job posting, you’ll need to revamp how you list your experience on your resume and eliminate some employment dates without reducing the number of keywords included in your document.
  • Time to Complete Job Applications: Job applications require an investment of time, the amount of which varies from employer to employer and job to job. A short application may only require an hour or so of your time, while a longer application process that includes videos, demos, questionnaires, or assessments may take you several hours to complete. If you’re job searching part-time while you work full-time, you may not have 1-2 hours per application to invest multiple evenings each week, which means that the number of submissions you can process weekly will be low. This, in turn, will slow the speed of your search and lengthen the amount of time it takes you to land a new role.
  • Being Screened Out by the ATS: If you pursue roles that you are less than 75% qualified for, there is a high likelihood that you will be screened out of consideration even everything else about your application is perfect. While many candidates apply for a wide range of roles in a misguided attempt to boost the odds of winning interviews, you’re actually better off to apply for fewer roles and do a better job of tailoring your resume to match. And, in the time it takes you to stretch your resume this way to make it appear you match every job, you could be networking instead of spinning your wheels trying to outsmart the ATS.
  • Keywords Reign Supreme: Keywords are so important in resumes that you must, simply must include them in a wide variety of locations in your document. Keep in mind, though, that while too few keywords will hurt your chances of getting an interview, so will too many. You need the right number of keywords in the right locations in your resume in the right density and with the right structure. Fail any one of these challenges and your job application will be rejected out of hand.
  • Non-Linear Career Trajectories Need Not Apply: If your career path or credentials are unusual, you may find it tough to survive the ATS screening process even if you’re a great candidate for the role. ATS systems favor candidates with traditional backgrounds, fewer job changes, and ideal credentials; they do not favor those with diverse industry experience, many jobs (including promotions), or non-traditional educational backgrounds. If one or more of these characteristics describes your career, you’ll be better off to reduce or eliminate online job search and invest your time in networking instead.
  • Automated Reviews & HR Processes: The whole point of ATS systems is to automate the candidate screening process for employers who view HR as a cost center. If your background is an ideal match with the job you want to pursue, tailor your resume and give it a go. But if you don’t possess one or more critical requirements, the automated resume review and recruiter review process will quickly screen you out. Trying to overcome this problem by applying for more jobs you’re not a great match for isn’t a great solution ~ it’s another form of insanity, i.e., doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
  • Many Online Job Listings Aren’t Real: Just because you see an online job posting doesn’t mean the job exists, is currently available, or is open to receive external applicants. Many employers post jobs online in order to fill their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) with resumes “just in case” they’re needed in a hurry. In  other cases, the job listing has closed, but the company or recruiter hasn’t yet removed it from the job board or website. Or, they have a candidate in mind for the role, but funding requirements dictate that they must advertise the role externally. The bottom line is that many of the job openings you see online are ghost listings that don’t exist.

These are but ten of the reasons that a job hunt focused predominantly on job boards, company/recruiter sites, and LinkedIn jobs may not work out as well as expect. Do yourself a favor and either learn to master/accommodate these key concerns or identify another way to get your resume into the hiring manager’s hands.

Unsure what other ways there are to get your resume into the right hands? Check out my job search articles filled with handy tips ~ just scroll down this page.

About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.