“I’ve been applying for jobs nearly every day. How many applications have I put out there?  Who knows. It doesn’t seem to matter, I haven’t gotten a single bite. What am I doing wrong? Is it me?”

If you’re like many job hunters, this narrative may sound familiar. I want to stop you right there and assure you, it’s NOT you. But it is what you are doing.

Are you applying to jobs online and waiting to hear back? That’s a very good way to torture yourself. Online job boards – it doesn’t matter which one you choose – have an important role to play in your job search. The problem is that most of us use them incorrectly because we are seduced by the simplicity of their service.

Online Job Boards Aren’t Working

Going online and reading job postings, then submitting applications allows us to feel engaged. We’re doing something! We’re serious! We’re applying!

Yes. Except using this passive, online, anonymous activity that lets you hide behind a computer to find work is misleading you. It’s hard to read through job postings. Online applications take a long time to complete and the technology is awkward. The whole thing can be exhausting, and it sure feels like work. So yeah, you’re really trying, you are. But the very likely outcome is nothing but “Thank you for your application” emails and a whole lot of frustration and disappointment.

Alternatives to Online Job Boards

So, please, please stop it. Looking at online job boards and applying anonymously for the jobs that appeal to you is not a good way to find your next job.

What do I suggest instead? To start with, target a few companies that hire people to do what you want to do. Then get on LinkedIn and reach out to people in those jobs. InMail them and tell them you’re looking into their field, then ask them 3 questions:

  1. How did you get to where you are?
  2. What do you wish you’d know when you got started?
  3. Can you recommend anyone else I should speak with?

Most people will respond to you. When they do, send a thank you note with your resume and ask for feedback. The more people you do this with, the more people will have your resume. Stay in touch. Look at the job postings on the corporate website. When you see something of interest, let your new contact know you plan to apply, and ask if they have any advice.

That’s just one way to get attention in your job search. Is it more work than a random online application? No, not really. Is it more likely to get results. Yes, indeed. Good luck out there!