Many job seekers grow frustrated with their job search after completing countless applications online and never hearing back. However, the problem often isn’t the online job search itself, but rather the way in which job seekers are conducting their search. In their 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey, Jobvite found that most applicants apply for jobs through an employer career site or an online job board. However, what led them to those websites? Thirty-five percent found job postings on social media, 37% learned about their jobs from professional networks, and 50% heard about jobs from friends.
The key is to network first and then apply. Job seekers need to maximize their online job search by following a few key steps.
Make Your Resume ATS-Friendly
Most companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help sort through resumes. An ATS, as explained by Jobscan, is a “a type of software used by companies to assist with human resources, recruiting and hiring processes.” Essentially, these systems check your resume for specific keywords and formatting. If your resume passes the check, it will be passed on to a human. If not, odds are nobody will even look at your resume.
Jobscan noted that, when it comes to Fortune 500 companies, 98% use an ATS. TopResume found that 75% of job applications are thrown out by an ATS before making it to a hiring manager’s desk.
This all means your resume needs to not only be up to date with your current experience, but also formatted for an ATS. TopResume goes on to note the following:
- Choose the correct file type for your resume. Interestingly, PDFs are not compatible with ATSs. If the application form doesn’t list PDF as a preferred document type, opt for a document in .doc or .docx format.
- If it’s important, keep it out of the header and footer. ATSs have problems scanning the header and footer, so place your contact details somewhere else.
- Keywords are key. ATSs like keywords relevant to the position. If you aren’t sure what those are, find a few job postings you like and see what words they share in common. Then take those words and incorporate them into the resume content. It is important to customize your resume for each job you apply for to the keywords listed in the information posted about the open position.
Find the Original Posting and Contact Decision Makers
If you are just interested in a certain company, find a few key decision makers on their website, like hiring managers in Human Resources. Contact them on LinkedIn and politely express your interest in the company, the type of positions you are interested in, and why you would be a good fit. If they are interested, they might ask for your resume, so make sure yours is updated and ready to go.
Leverage Your Network
As we mentioned before, most jobs are found through networking. A hiring manager is much more likely to be interested in you if they either know you personally or someone they trust referred you.
The most popular method to make connections is LinkedIn. Jobvite found that 77% of recruiters rely on the site. Having a keyword-rich profile is crucial to having recruiters reach out to you. It’s also a wonderful way to discover contacts who are employed at companies where you’d like to work. If your college friend works at XYZ company, and you just saw a job posting for that company, ask them to refer you.
Social media is another network to look into. Friends and family often share job postings on their accounts.
Finally, look into joining some sort of professional organization related to your industry. An online search can help you identify groups in your area, or you can join an online group made up of members from all over the country.
What have you done to maximize your job search? What do you look for in a potential employer? Let us know in the comments section below!