When I talk to job seekers who have been unemployed for a long time, they often tell me they have been finding advertised job openings online and applying for them as their primary job search strategy–sometimes the only strategy.
Here are three problems I see with that.
1. The job you’re applying for might already be filled or almost filled.
Companies often keep a job posting up after for a while, even after they have a finalist, and sometimes even after the position is filled.
Even if the hiring manager has chosen the finalist, it’s not a done deal until the finalist accepts the offer, the employer does a background check and employment verification, and the employee starts work. This process can take weeks, and the employer may keep the job posted as a sort of “insurance policy” in case things don’t work out with the finalist.
Also, some recruiting firms and employers like to get their money’s worth out of paid job postings and continue collecting resumes for their database for the full 30 days or 60 days included in the fee they paid to the job board–even if they filled the job in the first two weeks.
2. The job might be spoken for before they’ve even posted it.
Hiring managers (eg., department/division heads) sometimes know from the start who they want to hire for a job (perhaps a networking contact, former colleague, or enterprising job seeker who cold called them effectively).
However, many companies have requirements that all jobs need to be posted no matter what. So you apply, but you never really have a chance–and there’s no way to know that. Even HR doesn’t know sometimes!
3. The competition for the job will probably be fierce.
Even though the job description might seem like it was written just for you, there could be 150 other people reading that job description thinking the same thing. Advertised job postings on the internet attract hundreds of candidates.
Despite the media’s constant crowing in 2019 about the “tight labor market,” there is still plenty of competition for desirable, high-paid leadership roles. If you want an entry-level job, you’re in luck. If you’re pursuing a manager, director, or executive role, expect competition.
I’ve had many clients get selected for interviews out of large applicant pools, so it is possible to make the cut with a strong resume and recent, relevant experience for the role. But clearly the odds aren’t in your favor when you have hundreds of competitors.
The bottom line
There’s nothing wrong with applying for advertised openings. DO apply for the ones that are a good fit. But the reasons above should compel you to not rely on advertised openings as your primary job search strategy. You have the best chance of getting results quickly if you use multiple methods for job searching, particularly leveraging relationships.
When you incorporate networking and introduction strategies, you move your job search out of reactive mode and into proactive mode.
This article originally appeared on KellyDonovan.com.