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The Truth About When & How to Rely on Job Postings


What You Need to Know About Jobs Postings for Your Job Search or Next Career Move

It is a strange time in the economy. And if you are in job search mode, it can feel uncertain and scary. A client recently expressed discouragement from seeing 200+ applicants for a role posted on LinkedIn that he thought was a good fit. And you may see career advice that says to ignore job postings entirely.

Here's what you need to know.

First, do not be put off by a large number of applicants

The number of applicants should not determine whether you apply for a posting.

For more experienced, senior, and specialized roles, the 80/20 rule applies. Even 95/5. Only a small percentage of the applicants will be attractive candidates. Most of the applicants aren’t a match. Most are over-relying on a spray-and-pray approach to their “search.”

I don’t want that to be you. I don’t want you to waste your time and energy. We want results. So, the caveat to point 1 is to only apply to jobs you feel you are a great fit for.

Second, job postings ARE a legitimate channel for career opportunities

I advise everyone not to put all their job search eggs in the same basket. There are multiple channels to career opportunities like recruiters, networks and referrals and targeting companies.

Job postings are one channel and shouldn’t be your only channel.

This is important because applying to job postings will work better for some than others.

• There are industries, roles and titles where people already in those fields can do very well with job postings.

• There are pockets of demand where there's enough supply, and postings work great.

• Candidates with matching job titles, strong brands attached to their experience and a great trajectory have an advantage.

Here’s a way to test it:

If, when you begin your job search, you see an abundance of fresh and interesting postings that you know you are a strong candidate for, then that’s a signal to start there. If the opposite is true, that’s a signal to double down on networks and targeted approaches.

You will get stronger results when you take a selective, targeted approach to job postings backed up by strong marketing materials (resume, cover letter) and a polished and compelling LinkedIn profile.

So, what should you do to optimize your job application activity?

Be selective

Is this a compelling opportunity, and are you a good match? You do NOT need to match all the requirements (companies often look for a unicorn). There should, however, be experience and expertise that you bring that’s central to the role's priorities. Use the 70% rule. Additionally, I want you to feel confident that you possess the personal qualities required. Follow this advice, and your conversion rate will increase.

Apply strongly

In some cases, create a tailored resume. And I advocate for a “why you” message that hits the key target outcomes of the role. If you are going to apply, do it well. Add a cover letter or message written in benefits language. It doesn’t have to be long. Additionally, make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished and compelling and on-target. And add the tactic below …

Send a follow LinkedIn message or email to the hiring manager or recruiter

Express your keen interest and highlight one or two areas of fit. Respect their process while using the message to bring your profile to their attention.

(Tip: when a recruiter has hundreds of applicants to wade through and receives a polite and helpful message from someone who appears to be a fit, that person will likely get more attention.)

Go beyond job postings with a proactive, multi-channel approach

Postings, in most cases, SHOULD NOT be the only channel to opportunities. This passive approach has greater risk, fewer opportunities, and the most competition. The risk is greater for those people making significant pivots, with non-standard backgrounds, or in job/industry areas with fewer opportunities.

So, be sure to …

Leverage other channels

Cultivate the relevant recruitment firms. Develop and reach out to your network. Research and target specific organizations.

Job postings only represent a fraction of the opportunities available in the market.

Be proactive, strategic, and intentional in your efforts for optimum results. Even better, create in advance the career capital, profile, and network power that generates a stream of ongoing opportunities and referrals for you.


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