Finding a new job is stressful. Finding a new job when you’re already employed is a full-time job. The preparation, resume writing, skills assessments and interviews are nothing short of a juggling act. Yet, before you ever get the chance to speak to someone, you have to apply. Ideally, every application would come with a response, but in reality, applicants regularly receive no acknowledgement of their application let alone a thanks, but no thanks.
It feels intentionally difficult, as if the entire process is a guessing game as to whether you’ve thrown your resume into a black hole of applications. And in lieu of pushing out dozens of applications (which isn’t very effective anymore due to AI screening), it’s important to devise a way to recognize which jobs are worth the research and application.
Make Sure the Job is Real
If your job search is yielding lots of appropriate results, but you aren’t hearing back from anyone, take a quick look around to make sure that the jobs you are applying for are real. Some companies are required to post jobs for internal positions even if they only intend to hire foreign talent. This is especially prevalent in high-value technology roles where skilled engineers are more plentiful (and cheaper!) outside of the United States. It’s possible that while the job is technically real, they aren’t actually hiring local talent.
Verify the date that the job was posted on their website or on a third-party site like LinkedIn. If you can’t find the job outside of the company’s website – i.e. a paid job site, it’s likely that they aren’t motivated to fill it or it isn’t active.
Unfortunately, there are also companies that post job descriptions to drum up interest. It’s frustrating and difficult to recognize these postings.
Connect with a Real Person
Look for a human connection. Is there a recruiter or an HR manager attached to the job description? Can you connect with them on LinkedIn or do a quick search to find their contact information? Identifying someone to speak to can make the biggest difference in the efficiency of your job search. Whether you can network your way to the right person or you take a chance and connect with them on LinkedIn, every opportunity to make a human connection is one step closer to a job application that doesn’t find its way to the bottom of a digital pile.
Even a canned rejection allows you to put an application to bed rather than waiting days or weeks before finally giving up on that particular job.
Recognize the Red Flags
If a job looks too good to be true, it probably is. Job descriptions should have details that you would want to know upfront – salary information, general benefits, location, expectations, and experience level. Broad job descriptions without details are suspicious at best, especially if you are looking at mid to senior level positions.
Many third-party sites indicate the number of applicants as well as whether the job is actively being recruited for. Though many jobs can have hundreds of applicants, this shouldn’t be the case for positions that are highly technical or have specialized skillsets.
Use a Staffing Agency
A reputable staffing agency will be able to help you bypass the application black hole through vetted job descriptions with posted dates and active communication. It is in the staffing agency’s best interest to post and fill jobs quickly for their clients. This means that they have all of the pertinent details, direct lines of communication to the TA team, and can prepare you to present the best version of yourself on your resume.
Instead of clicking submit on dozens of jobs, you are able to focus on the ones that you really want. And in the end, whether you are given an offer or not, at least you can close the book on a position and receive feedback from your recruiter.