Avoid the “Black Hole” When Applying for Jobs Online #HUMANVSMACHINE

An estimated 70-80% of open positions are NOT published, yet most job seekers still hunt online for employment. Online job applications should make life easier- you can conduct searches 24/7 and websites such as indeed.com and simplyhired.com aggregate job openings. BUT, the system is a black hole.

My nephew, a recent college graduate, has applied for more than 2,500 jobs online. I’m not exaggerating! He spends hours diligently completing online profiles for countless companies, researching available openings and then applying for a bazillion positions. He usually gets an automated response acknowledging that he’s applied, and then…. DEAD AIR.

Online application systems allow companies to collect thousands of resumes of qualified, and maybe not so qualified applicants. But most organizations do not leverage technology appropriately to sift through applicants and select the best to interview. Smart companies hold on to resumes of talented candidates and actively build a private talent network of passive candidates to be successful.

Avoid the “Black Hole” When Applying for Jobs Online

Last week we focused on Man vs. Machine, so I’d like to offer some tips to leverage online applications:

1. Proactively set up accounts with those companies that you’re really interested in –  Take the time to set up an account with all of the required information and upload an updated resume. This can take 10-15 minutes if you don’t skip any steps! Set up an alert to receive notifications on job postings that match your profile.

2. Find connections at target companies to leverage introductions – the majority of hiring is through friends, former colleagues and acquaintances. Don’t be shy! Reach out to trusted friends; ask for their advice and introductions to their associates. Leverage Linked In and your alumnae network for connections- don’t send a bland email- ask for a 15-minute call to introduce yourself.

3. Don’t turn into a serial applicant – submitting applications for multiple positions within a company that you’re not qualified for will get you labeled as a “frequent flyer.” If you’re interested in a role but don’t have direct experience then take the time to draft a cover letter explaining why you think your skill set is transferable.

4. Check out niche job boards – for those with a specific area of expertise, you may want to peruse niche jobs sites – here’s a list of the Top 50 Niche sites complied by Smart Recruiter.

The job market is undeniably tough, especially for new graduates. Don’ t get stuck in the black hole- aggressively look for contacts in companies that you want to work with and leverage your own network for introductions.

Have you been successful applying online? What tips do you have? I look forward to your comments.

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Lisa Bonner

Lisa Bonner is an experienced change agent and Senior Vice President with Roberts Golden Consulting. She helps global Fortune 500 companies solve organizational issues and manage major changes to drive achievement of bold business objectives. Lisa is passionate about football, fitness, decorating and raising twin boys. Connect with Lisa.

Reader Interactions


  1. Henry Motyka says

    I just about completely gave up applyinh to jobs online. I got my current consulting job because I was recruited from a tech hob site after posting my resume. But as I continue to build my career, I network heavily every day. It’s the only real way to find a good job. It takes lots of hard work but it can be fun to do and opens up a whole new world for the networker. Networking has completely changed my life around.

    Networking requires the networker to be prepared with a great pitch and to first show an interest in others. I also like to help others out. That tends to get them interested in you.

    One of the great things about networking is that it can be done almost anywhere at any time. I view almost everyone I meet as a potential help to my career.

  2. Sabrina Fleming says

    Networking is critical, coupled with having several different versions of your resume. Make certain the experience highlighted on the resume speaks the same language as the job description applied to. I’ve found this to be most beneficial in my job search.

  3. Cathy Shanes says

    It seems as if HRs are losing their touch in today’s high-tech environment. For them all the candidates turn into faceless and devoid of personality mass of resumes. I don’t even know how your resume should look like in order to catch recruiter’s eye and it’s scary, because once you’re left without a job, having so many resources and tool for finding a job the real challenge is in getting it!

  4. shaEina says

    There are hundreds of online job sites but only a few of them have legit employers and companies who are hiring. I have also had my shares of depression because of denied application letters on oDesk but I am happy to say that I am now in an awesome company and I’ve been working with them for 2 years now. I think the technique is being able to know and pick out the legit job ads from bogus job posts. If you know how to identify a real one, then you’d definitely have more chance of being employed.
    I think this list of job sites with good traffic will help you out. It’s where real companies post their job ads: http://www.staff.com/blog/list-of-us-job-posting-sites/


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