Online Job Posts Won’t Get the Job Done, But They Make You Feel Good

hire-me-online-job-searchMembers are consistently asking us about the value of online job postings. When I talk with our Career Strategists and when I hear them speaking in our Master Classes, they commonly state that when they work with ExecuNet VIPs it’s one of the most common questions asked.

So I decided to do some investigating and found a some areas where ExecuNet Career Strategists spoke about job boards and where they should fit into an executive’s search strategy.

I learned to think of the hit rate of a job board like that of a cold call. Cold call. Berrr. Just the the term probably makes you want to try something else. That’s probably a good idea, too. Clicking “Submit” sure does make you feel productive and fills you with hope. It allows you to think, “Maybe this time,” as you check your inbox every hour, again, again, again.

Our strategists tell our VIPs to view job boards through a Marketing and Sales lens. How excited are you to receive a cold call at dinner time asking if you’d like a new roof even though it doesn’t leak or to get an insurance quote? The research on cold calling says if you get a 1% or 2% hit rate you’re doing really well. If you get a 1% or 2% hit rate on a job board you’d be doing really well too. Wouldn’t you rather try something with a higher hit rate? You know, fish where the fish are?

Put another way, searching on job boards is the equivalent of all the coupons you get in the mail that you never look at and you just dump into the recycling bin in your garage as you enter your home each night. In the online application world that’s the applicant tracking system. Your resume is far more likely to be viewed by software than a human being, and if it does make it to an actual person, they will give it 6-15 seconds. That’s it. I hate to tell you this, but like all that junk mail, your resume most likely goes right to the recycling bin.

If applying to jobs blindly on the internet is an executive’s primary job search strategy… it will be a long and frustrating search.

At the executive level, job boards are really only good for research purposes, to see what jobs are out there, what companies are hiring, and what the current keywords are. Networking is king when it comes to executive job search.

When we had in-person networking meetings all over the country, before COVID-19 changed our world, almost no one who attended had a networking strategy. So let’s modify “networking is king” to “effective networking is king.” Saying, “Hey, do you know anyone who needs a VP of Operations?” is the common approach, but that’s really not an approach that will get you very far. You need to have a (good) strategy to be a good networker.

When putting together your networking plan, don’t forget these commonly overlooked key components:

  • Know specifically what you are asking people to do for you. Typically, that’s a connection to someone in a company you’re interested in.
  • Know how you plan to ask them for help.
  • Provide them with your self-marketing materials so they can help you. There are different documents for different stages of the process.
  • The networking component of job search is a sub-marketing element that requires you to do production work.

You’re asking people who know you to tout you, make it easy for them! If you are not sure what that means, I suggest you contact our Career Services Group or our Member Success Manager Giovanna Cioppa, and we’ll get you on your way to working with one of our career advisors so that you have personal marketing materials that tell the story of the unique value you bring to  employers and why they simply have to have you. That will do a lot more for your search than the rush you get from the false hope that comes with clicking “submit” a couple dozen times a week! You can count on that!



William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Associate Director of Content Marketing, where he develops engaging job search, career path, and leadership insight to build ExecuNet's brand recognition as the leader in senior-level executive job search and all matters career.

He delivers executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand, amplifying the power of ExecuNet's expert voices and shaping the content strategy.

Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework. It is his training as an educator which allows Will to take complex ideas and make them simple for busy executives to understand and to execute.

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