Why You Can’t Find Your Dream Job Posted Online

Have you ever come home from a tough day at work and surfed the web for your dream job? You scoured all the hottest job boards and the “Careers” pages of the companies for which you would love to work, and you can’t seem to find that ideal job at the executive level posted anywhere.

There are plenty of instances in which people find the ideal job posted online. They are qualified, apply, get a response, an interview and a job offer but the circumstances are very specific. Your success rate in landing a job from a posting can be determined by understanding the “Job Opportunity Bell Curve.”

Three Stages of the Job Opportunity Bell Curve

1. In the first stage of your career, with nothing but your academics and a few internships, the playing field is quite level, and the competition is steep. At this stage, securing that first job out of college is difficult and the stress is high, because that job could shape the direction of your career. It is imperative that you take a job that will give your career the trajectory you need to achieve your career goals.

2. In the mid-stage of your career, you are at the height of the Job Opportunity Bell Curve. At this stage, you will feel like your career opportunities are endless and companies are begging you to interview right and left. You are very in demand because everyone wants to hire someone who knows enough to jump right in. This is also known as the “worker-bee” stage. The world will always need worker-bees and lots of them.

3. The final stage of the Job Opportunity Bell Curve is approximately upper management/executive level. At this stage, there are far fewer opportunities by nature of the corporate org. chart. Supply and demand have never been stacked so high against you, so the competition is thicker than it ever has been. Another qualifier for the third stage is being highly compensated. Once your salary passes $200k, depending on the industry and discipline, the criteria to hire needs to be met precisely to make the business case for the spend. Different from a hire at mid-management, at the executive level, this business case is based on value to the company, not experience. If you try to sell yourself with your experience, you will lose the role to the competitor leading with his or her value to the company.

Here is why finding the ideal job for you posted, in the third stage of the Job Opportunity Bell Curve, is highly unlikely

  • Before a job is even written, stakeholders will begin the information gathering phase to determine what is actually needed to solve the problem. They do this to understand what the talent profile might look like. Most of the time, it is one of the individuals that stakeholders consulted within this phase that they determine to be the ideal subject matter expert to turn their vision into a reality.
  • Much of the details surrounding highly compensated jobs can be very confidential due to company activity. Therefore, publishing these details is not an option. If they do not “know someone who knows someone” the talent search will be outsourced to a retained firm. Also, the company will waste less time with unqualified talent and fill the job quicker.
  • If the job is posted, the company has come to the conclusion that they cannot settle for less than an “apples to apples” hire and there is no rush. This is the worst scenario for the job seeker…unless you are that particular apple they are looking for.

In studying how executives get jobs through two recessions, strong bull markets and disruptive economies, I have observed that those who snag the opportunities that were never posted maximize every relationship, never let themselves become complacent, and are continuously focused on building their skills, experience, brand awareness and value proposition. In the economy of disruption, you must be cognizant of your career track, skill sets and potential job opportunities 100% of the time.


Saundra Botts

Saundra Botts

Saundra is an ExecuNet Career Strategist and Career Coach. Working 1:1 with high-level senior executives, Saundra provides strategic guidance and coaching to help ExecuNet members land their next great opportunity. This includes uncovering their unique personal value proposition and defining competitive differentiators to advance their careers. Additionally, she provides detailed feedback for improving a personal marketing collateral—well beyond their résumé. Leveraging her expertise, Saundra guides executives through the entire process from entering the job market, which for most is their first time, identifying the path to success, to onboarding with their new company and beyond to create job security.

Saundra is known for “opening doors” and has also facilitated Job Search and Transition Workshops for universities, FENG (Financial Executive Networking Group), and various executive leadership groups. Her depth of experience includes has over 15 years in Retained Search and contingency placement within corporate accounting and finance sector with First Call Search, Dubin & Lee and WinterWyman Search. Saundra has consulted with clients, ranging from start-ups to multi-billion-dollar conglomerates. She has worked with $12 billion companies building accounting and finance teams, succession planning, and hiring, as well as filling key positions at many medium-sized, publicly-traded companies; non-profits; and universities in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles.

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