No perfect job in that hat!If you're reading this post, you're probably a job seeker who has exhausted all of the "fresh" online job postings for the day, but feel obligated to stay in front of the computer to fulfill your daily quota of job hunt time. It's okay. You're not alone, but that's also part of the reason so many people are still unemployed. Applying to online job postings is unlikely to land you a job. Yes, your cousin's brother knows someone in Alabama who just got a great job through an online job board. I'm sure others have too, but it's still not the best way to look. Networking is the best way to get employed and stay employed and it involves more than creating a LinkedIn profile.
Actually, I kind of fibbed. Cold calling is often regarded as the statistically most effective way to find work as in flipping through the yellow pages and calling every company that might be able to use someone with your skill set. Time consuming and difficult? You bet! So is networking and filling out the typical online job application form. Given that all of the methods take time and effort, wouldn't you be happier knowing you're spending your time doing something that is likely to land you a job or at least help you in your career down the line?
Even though job seekers complain about the annoying and time-consuming nature of online applications, they're strangely addicted to them. It's like watching a teenage girl with an obsession with bad boys. Everyone agrees that online job boards are annoying and boring time-wasters and yet most job seekers spend eight hours a day on them! I was puzzled by this phenomenon until one job seeker said, "Well, I know there's a job when I apply online because it's posted." For those of you who remember the TV show Monk, think of that episode in the insane asylum with the patient who believes he sees Santa everywhere. Remember when he says, "I read it on the Internet, so I know it's true"? Same thing with job postings. Actually, I have more definitive proof that the job postings are fake than I do that Santa isn't real. If you can't help yourself and insist on relying on job postings, please read these tips from Weddles.com about distinguishing the good leads from the crummy ones.
Remember though, most of the job postings online are not going to lead you to an actual position any faster than meeting with people and working your network, and that's assuming the job posting is legit. Most of the job postings aren't.
As for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and all the other social media sites, they can be excellent tools for reconnecting with colleagues and other professionals you meet, but they won't get the job for you. While some career counseling professionals might argue that not having a presence on LinkedIn could cost you opportunities, that is not the same as saying LinkedIn will get you a job.
Getting meetings with people who can hire you is what gets you a job. If you aren't getting called in for interviews, set up your own. Of course the meetings you can set up usually won't be official job interviews, but any contact with a decision maker is better than none. For tips on creative ways to get your foot in the door with the right people try Shortcut Your Job Search: The Best Way to Get Meetings by Kate Wendleton.
Also, remember that building a solid network of people who can be helpful to you in your career takes time and effort just like a good job search takes time and effort. If you are currently unemployed, and you're not spending 40 hours a week looking for work, it's time to re-evaluate your strategy. Set up as many meetings as possible, research companies, and take advantage of some of the free classes and public programs offered by NYPL. While you can't control whether or not a particular employer will call you in for an interview or whether or not an interviewer decides you're the best candidate for the job, you can control the way you present yourself and the amount of effort you put into the process.