It seems logical, doesn’t it, to focus your job search effort toward applying for jobs online? With millions of jobs posted on over 10,000 job boards, you could apply 24/7/365. You could even apply without having to brush your teeth or change out of your pajamas!

Unfortunately, over 99% of online job applications do not produce any results. The stupendous ineffectiveness of all these activities has given the internet a new nickname … “the black hole.” A black hole, for those who are not astrophysicists, is a place where large amounts of matter go in and nothing comes out.

In Suzanne Lucas’ October 12, 2012, article titled How Online Job Searches Worsen the Job Crisis she wrote the following for CBS MoneyWatch:
“Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, recently noted such a case after a company’s resume-screening system concluded that none of the 29,000 applicants for an engineering job had the right qualifications.”

Here are a few fact and fiction excerpts from my book Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!) which I hope you will find helpful in using the internet as a job search tool:

Fact: You can learn a lot from reviewing online job postings. Reviewing highly relevant job postings can help you identify industry and professional trends. This can also give you ideas regarding the work content of certain positions. You can use this information to add key words into your resume…

Fiction: Applying online for posted jobs is efficient. Here are a few reasons why applying for such jobs is not efficient: (1) The typical posting on popular sites can attract 300-500 resume submissions in a few days. These are your competitors.” (There are 5 other reasons!)

Fact: Internet job postings have revolutionized the way some companies hire. For less desirable employers, this is true. Why should they pay an independent recruiter when they can post the job online and have hundreds of candidates from which to choose?

I am sharing this information because most job seekers spend the majority of their effort applying for jobs online. This can result in a huge waste of time. Factor in the cost of lost income and perhaps you can see why it is my contention that this is the most expensive way to find a job.

So, what can you do to improve your online odds if you refuse to join A.A. (Applicants Anonymous)? My best advice is that you leverage the power of networking in pursuing posted jobs. Here is a high-level outline of a process I have seen work well: (1) Identify a posted job that is a great match for you and for which the employer is identified, (2) search LinkedIn for first and second level contacts you have in the employer, (3) request direct help from your first level contacts if they are sufficiently strong and/or (4) identify desirable second level contacts and request your first level “connectors” to introduce you to them…and then attempt to make positive contact. If the employer contacts are not the decision maker, seek to get them to recommend you to them.

I hope that this article will cause you think twice before investing the majority of your job searches applying online. If I am successful, my efforts will be rewarded by saving you untold hours that you can better utilize by calling employers directly, contacting relevant recruiters, and networking with employed people.

Good luck and best wishes for landing the career you deserve!


Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).