Seagulls and the Online Job Market

Seagulls and the Online Job Market
Seagulls and the Online Job Market

To the casual observer, the modern job search appears more convenient than ever. Three clicks of a mouse, a flurry of typing, and a potential applicant is whisked away into the magical world of online job postings. And it appears to be the land of plenty; there are bushels of job postings. They submit resumes and wait. And wait. And wait. And never hear back.

What did they do wrong? They were qualified for every position they applied for, their resume was immaculate, but the hiring companies never made contact. The answer, strangely enough, lies in the habits of the infamous sand rats known as seagulls. Consider a busy day at the beach: people are so tightly packed onto the narrow strip of sand that you can’t shake out a towel without earning a dirty look from someone. The internet is millions of times more crowded. Online job postings are inundated with potentially thousands of virtually identical resumes a day. Applicants applying to such listings are like seagulls flocking to a single hand spreading crumbs at the beach: you might get a taste –it might be enough to keep you hopeful—but you will not walk away satisfied from the experience.

Relying on the published job market is narrow-minded and bird-brained. Why compete with thousands when you can narrow down the field to less than one hundred with little effort? Instead of searching for job availabilities, search for specific industries, company sizes, and desired location. Once you’ve created a list of attractive companies, search for the executive that might be in charge of hiring the position that you would be seeking. Mail them your resume directly. There might not be a job opening, but if there is then you’ve managed to cut out the applicants that would only apply if the job availability was posted online. Think back to seagulls: instead of being one of the flock, be the lone maverick patrolling the beach and hunting for the whole sandwich it can snatch out of an unsuspecting individual’s hands.

It’s a higher risk approach, yes. I am not suggesting that you completely eschew the published market. However, by supplementing your search with so-called “unpublished introductions,” you can broaden your search and possibly reap greater rewards in a shorter time span.

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