Why Applying Online WON'T Get You That Next Great Job

    5 min read time

    Welcome back to another episode of designing the best YOU! Today we are going to discuss one that will probably ruffle some feathers….and you know what? I’m quite ok with that, because I’m not about providing bandaids. I’m hear to tell you the truth and provide the solution!

    So, with that being said, let’s dive right in!

    There's one SUPER frustrating part of the job search that crushes people's hopes on a daily basis....


    Raise your hand if you've ever been in this situation. applying online

    Now, tell me if you can relate - you find a job you love and you know you are the PERFECT candidate for on LinkedIn - This could be THE ONE!

    You take a few hours that day to update your resume, making sure it fits the job posting....all the right keywords included. You tailor your experience bullets to make sure all is relevant, and you give it that once-over to make sure all the grammar and spelling is good. Ok....

    Next up, the cover letter. You have a pre-written draft but you need to make sure you swap out the company names, spend some time talking about why you love this new company, and really show them who you are and what you can do for them in the final paragraph. They need to know that you really want this job (not too desperate sounding). 

    Finally, you fill out all of the questions on the application (even though they are usually repetitive), upload all documents, and then......with sweaty palms and pits.... you click Submit!

    Now the wait.....you're excited but don't know what to expect next. 

    The next day, you anxiously check your email and phone (multiple times that day) and you don't hear anything. You might receive a response that your submission was successful and you'll hear back from the team "shortly" (whatever the heck that means).

    Then a week goes by, still nothing. The doubt starts to settle in - did you not include experience or skills needed? Should you have used that other bullet you were considering? Has someone EVEN looked at my application? Surely they'd send you some kind of note if they did, right?

    After another week, you've pretty much given up - feeling rejected and forced to move on from what seemed like an amazing and perfect job.

    Does that sound familiar?

    If so, you're not alone. Applying online and hearing absolutely nothing back is unfortunately the norm.

    I want to share with you a scenario many of you in big cities are familiar with. 

    Whether the Amtrak or CTA or colored train lines (in Chicago specifically), trains are assigned a track number about 10 minutes before they are scheduled to depart. As soon as the track is posted on the board, every single person races to the line or door to be first onto the train.

    Well, the same exact thing happens when a new job is posted at specifically larger companies like Amazon, Google, or Facebook. The floodgates open with hundreds - if not thousands - of online applications but here's the thing....less than 2% ever get invited for an interview....

    And ONE person will receive an offer.

    It’s true, we currently live in the most competitive job market history has ever seen, but this percentage of winning a job hasn't really changed over the years.

    I want to tell you that the number people competing isn't preventing you from landing jobs and it's also not your resume getting through an ATS.

    It’s your approach.

    According to a survey done by Jobvite, 75% of professionals apply for jobs online...and I don't know if you all know this, but per the Wall Street Journal, only 20% of available jobs are actually advertised anywhere! 

    Think about it - you're wasting your time if you're applying to jobs online!

    If you want to land your next job, you need a referral.

    So many people KNOW this, but don't know how to connect with people at the company they want to work for. Well, the good news is, it's not as tough as you think because there is a PROVEN PROCESS - one that I teach all my clients:

    1. Find the RIGHT people

    Easier said than done, right? If you're going to invest the time and energy needed to build a relationship, you want to make sure you are picking the right person! And that person needs to be someone who can refer you to a job and have decision-making abilities.

    What I recommend is to type in the LinkedIn search-bar for people at the company you want with the title you want. The reason we do this? So glad you asked! When you search for the title you want plus the company (perhaps location if that is a deciding factor for you), the people that are in the results are the ones that know exactly what it takes to get hired for that role - because they were in the same boat as you and know the role well now!

    Now a question I get asked a lot - should I work with recruiters?

    While I know a lot of recruiters and the great ones can get you in the door, they receive hundreds of emails a day, so standing out is VERY difficult. Plus, not sure if many of you know this, but they can usually only refer you into the first round interview and can't help make the actual hiring decision. 

    1. Reach Out

    This is the part everyone is like "well HOW?", and "I don't want to impose", and "How do I reach out without sounding desperate?".

    Two ways to go about reaching out to all these people you have now connected with:

    - Send a message on LinkedIn


    - Find their email address under their contact info and email them!

    Think about the approach to messaging or emailing as if you were at an in-person event or out to dinner with new colleagues. You need to be relaxed and have a casual conversation. They are people too! Don’t be afraid of what they think of you. Reach out. You never know who or what company truly needs what you have to offer!

    I was talking to some clients this week and they were living in fear about what they should do next. One said to me, well, what if I take a decent job now, and then in 6 months, the job of my dreams comes up - I’d feel bad taking a new job after being at a company for only 6 months. What does that say about me?

    What it says about you?! My goodness! My question back is “What if you DON’T take that job for 6 months? What if you hold back what you have to offer, and the value you withhold could change even ONE person’s life in that 6 months?”

    Let that sink in. 

    So what if you reach out to 25 professionals this week with your job title and at a few companies you want to work for and you end up with 2-3 GREAT relationships that can bring you to next level? Whether that’s a job or another connection or someone who encourages you?

    So what is my challenge to you? I really want you to take action. CONSISTENT, AUTHENTIC ACTION. This is what truly separates you from the rest of the crowd. NOT getting your resume all spruced up to pass the ATS. NOT having a beautiful attractive LinkedIn profile (although these are still a part of the equation). And definitely not spending your precious time applying online to all the jobs that thousands of other people are seeing, which such a low success rate.

    The professionals who go from depressed and frustrated and burned out to conquering the next step in their career the FASTEST are the ones who take immediate action....and DON'T STOP.

    Following these steps will get you started on your relationship-building journey. But turning a stranger into an advocate who is willing to vouch for you throughout the hiring process doesn't happen in one email. You have to continue the conversation and do so in a grace-filled, genuine way, adding value to THEM along the way.