Applying to Job Postings Is NOT a Waste of Time

Some have openly blogged or posted in discussion groups that applying to jobs is a waste of time. It’s understood why people often feel this way as online job postings can be very frustrating often due to the lack of personal touch from the recruiters. You find a job, your heart races with excitement, you put full effort into your cover letter, customize your resume just for this position, click submit hoping for a call or email, and instead your left feeling like it went off into some black hole. However, just because you put in the effort and can’t see the results, does not mean you have wasted your time.

Six online job posting guidelines: A job board cheat sheet | Workable

True, networking is the number one way most people find a job, but second is job postings. Of course you should network, but you don’t just ask people with whom you network for a job posting, “I’m looking for a job, are they hiring at your brothers company?” Instead you inquire if they have contacts at specific companies, or know anything about them. Mentioning specific companies by name and your function helps to better engage your contacts and makes them more willing to offer information to help. So where do you get this information? From job postings of course. Whether it is the job posting its self or the research you gathered from the job posting.

Here are 6 ways that you need to understand why job postings are not a waste of time:

Toolbox – What good is a toolbox with just a hammer? In your job search you must be prepared to use all the tools in your box and job postings are certainly one of them. Just don’t fall fool to applying, sitting and waiting. Be very aggressive about locating the decision maker and getting yourself and your resume in front of that person. Be creative and set yourself apart from the crowd by going beyond just the apply button.

Tips from Recruiters: “Consider any successful marketing strategy and it involves utilizing a range of targeted advertising channels. When it comes to job seeking it should involve using relevant online job sites as opposed to just focusing on one generic job site.”

Seeds – If you fully follow through with your online job applications then you will find you get more out of it then just some finger exercise clicking buttons. You will find that you are creating even more networking opportunities and contacts by following up with those at the company or responding to inquiry emails. These contacts may have value in ways that if not at this job at this time may grow in to an opportunity you did not think of.

Tips from Recruiters: “When I come across a great candidate that for some reason does not fit the positions, I typically share their expertise with other colleges in the possibility that they may have a need for that candidate in a job order they are working on.”

Market Research – Reviewing job postings can also provide incredible market research. By reviewing job postings you can gather data that will help you identify where there is growth by location and industry, within specific companies and job functions. All of this can help you find the right market of where you should be spending you energy applying.

Tips from Recruiters: “The true value of online postings for job seekers is to find out where the jobs are and what employers are looking for, creating terrific market intelligence.”

Cost Effective Hiring – One of the most inexpensive ways for a company to hire is through a job posting. If the company has a small or no budget for recruiting, then posting is the one way they can target a niche that suits their needs. Due to budget cuts or staffing there may not be any one person responsible for processing or marketing for applicants. So having someone from the company email people individually through a social network is not possible and is an ineffective use of time as many of these people may not be in the job market. This means the one way you can discover this job is through the posting on the net.

Tips from Recruiters: “We did not foresee the need for much hiring this year, because we just had so many layoffs, including our HR team. So when we needed to hire 9 people in a division we saw tremendous growth, we had no idea how to manage that except to post the jobs and review all the applicants.”

Applicant Tracking Systems / ATS – Larger companies are using them to be compliant and process all the applicants and jobs within the company. These companies need you to apply through the system as they sometime have no other way to process an applicant. It also helps Hiring Mangers and Recruiters save time through the use of screening software. These systems are designed with grading or screening criteria that eliminates the resumes that don’t meet some percentage of the qualifications based on what the Hiring Manager and Recruiter specifies for that specific job. Sometimes an actual hard piece of paper is better off in the trash to a busy recruiter then worth the 10 minutes they would have to take to enter your resume in the system.

Tips from Recruiters: “Read the posting and make sure your resume carries the same words and acronyms. If the job says MBA required, make sure you have MBA on your resume. If not, you will be eliminated during the screening and I will never see your resume.”

Compliance – For most major companies today, online postings are the primary mechanism they use to fill positions particularly if they have multi-site or multi-country locations. There are laws and company policies that need to be followed. Most companies require that a job be posted publicly giving anyone the fair chance to apply to them to comply with equal opportunity laws. So you have a fair opportunity to apply to these jobs, but it’s what you do beyond just apply that matters.

Tips from Recruiters: “Apply specifically for THAT job and – this is most important – USE A COVER LETTER. We posted a job for a graphic designer and we got over 2,000 resumes – most of which had nothing to do with the job posted. We got everything from accountants to copywriters and everything in between. It got to the point where everything that didn’t have a cover letter went in the recycle bin. It was really unfortunate because there could have been some really great candidates in there. But I just didn’t have the time to go through each one.”

So just because you didn’t get a thank you note for applying, a two page detailed rejection letter from an ATS, and a personal phone call from the recruiter does not mean that you wasted your time applying.