Candid Career Advice #1: Why applying online isn't enough to land the job anymore.

You'll need to follow this extra step if you want that call back

TLDR: *Feeling lazy? Scroll to the bottom if you want the takeaways from this post.

You’ve found that perfect job that is calling your name. You look over the description, you polish up your resume, you painstakingly read the instructions forward and backwards to ensure that you’re set up for success. After carefully proofreading your materials, you eagerly push “apply now” and watch as your application is engulfed in a digital void, wondering when you’ll hear back.

More often than not, you’ve been ghosted completely. Or an automatic rejection email made its way to your inbox (hey, at least you received a response).

Even if you did everything correctly, here’s what’s WRONG with this process.

  1. According to Payscale, a job posting can receive upwards of 200 applications.

  2. More than half of the resumes will be screened out by the ATS (applicant tracking system) then by the recruiter. (I’ll be covering the ATS in-depth in another post).

If your resume is thrown out BEFORE it is even seen by a real person—welp—you’ve just been ghosted and rejected. This leads us back to the purpose of this post:

Applying online isn't enough to land the job anymore. Your job search isn’t over until your materials land into the hands of a real person.

“Great…how do I get my materials seen by a real person?”

If you already applied online, the extra step(s) you want to take include:

  • Emailing the hiring manager with your materials affirming your interest in the role.

  • Emailing the recruiter as the back-up if you don’t hear anything from the hiring manager.

Why am I doing these extra steps?

  1. It’s rare other people will; more power to you as you’ll be one step ahead of other applicants.

  2. The hiring manager is usually the person you will work with directly when you’re hired; NOT the recruiter, so emailing them your materials is a great way to introduce yourself and step yourself apart from the competition.

  3. The hiring manager makes the final call on who joins the team. Bypass the ATS and get your “in” by impressing a REAL person who can quickly decide if they want to interview you or not.

  4. In the event the recruiter thinks you’re not qualified enough for the role (and you already reached out to the hiring manager) there’s a chance those two will have to battle it out.

Does this actually work?

It’s worked for me on a number of occasions.

  • First outreach - I got the interview and chose to withdraw my application (compensation package was too below market for me to accept).

  • Second outreach - I got the interview + was offered the job + accepted the job.

Okay, but how do I get in touch with the hiring manager/recruiter if I don’t have their email?

Do your research. What that really means is understand where these stakeholders lurk.

  • If they are active on Twitter, @tag them letting them know you applied to a role, or are interested in applying, and that you’d love to chat with them.

  • Guess their email, which can do by 1). using their company as a base and 2). using tools like MailScoop.

  • Slide into their DMs on Linkedin - just don’t be creepy.

What if I don’t know who posted the job position?

Subscribe to my newsletter and comment below if you’d like to learn more. I’m planning to share how to locate that person in an in-depth post for paid subscribers only! Or you can always book a session with me.

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  • Your job search isn’t over until your materials land into the hands of a real person.

  • Most times, you will have to apply online (because protocol). However, you’re allowed to reach out to the hiring manager and introduce yourself; provide your materials, reaffirm your interest and it can help make the job application process go faster.

  • If possible and when time permits, try and email the hiring manager and/or recruiter BEFORE applying online so there is a higher chance your materials will be pushed through faster and so you can avoid having to apply at all.

Have you had success emailing the hiring manager or recruiter? Let me know below!