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How to not get lost in the online job maze!

It’s easy to get lost in the electronic black hole known as the resume submission process. The automated processing of applications has been a god send for HR reps, but it can be frustrating for job seekers. Unfortunately it’s a matter of numbers. Organizations receive literally hundreds of applications for every opening. The job hunting process has always been competitive, but it’s getting exponentially more difficult to get your resume through the electronic matrix. It’s hard to know rather to take the red or blue pill to make sure you on the right path.

Here are a few tips to help increase your exposure in an ever automated landscape:

1. Networking

In college I would hear about the importance of networking and blow it off as something I didn’t need to do. I could not have been more wrong, the importance of networking is critical to finding a job. Active networking is different than passively sending your old high school buddies an invite on Facebook or LinkedIn. Start with the people you know and local organizations that fit your demographic or the sector you are employed in. Go to where you can meet like minded people. The groups could include church, young professional or civic groups. Everyone you know has their own network of people they know, and that can go a long way!

An essential advantage of using your network to find a job is that you may bypass the whole online application process by finding jobs that aren’t publicly available yet. I was told by an HR professional that 80% of job openings are not posted on the big job boards. I once was actively recruited by a VP at a local insurance company. I met her an industry conference. She e-mailed me and called me for almost three months, before she finally gave me an offer I could not refuse. Thanks to my rapport with this her, I got skipped past the initial HR phone screen and got right in for a face to face interview with the hiring manager. In the end, I ended up taking the job.

2. Linkedin

Linkedin is most commonly utilized at as a networking tool, it can be very useful in other aspects of your job search. Linkedin is a digital version of your resume on steroids. More specifically you can make your Linkedin profile much more robust than a traditional resume. For examples your connections can “endorse” you for certain skills you’ve acquired. In addition, professional contacts can write recommendations of your work right there on your profile for all potential employers to see.

Linkedin is another way to bypass the black hole of corporate HR sites. IF there are prospective folks you want to work for can be searched via LinkedIn for specific points of connection. You can search for folks you that in your extended network that either worked or currently work at the company you want to work for. You can also join industry groups who may have members who work at prospective employers.

3. Recruiting Agencies

Many job applicants have a love-hate relationship with headhunters. However, that are a part of today’s job search landscape. Yes, they are often paid on commission, but that does not mean that their services don’t pay dividends. Sometimes the best way to not get lost in the shuffle is to have someone working for you. Staffing agencies such as Robert Half, Manpower, Palmer Group, Adecco and countless others have professionals who sole job it is to play matchmaker between companies that hire them and qualified people looking for jobs.

Many time these companies work closely with you to find an opportunity that matches whatever you may be looking for, and they work closely with HR departments who entrust them to present the most qualified candidates. They may require you to take skill tests and personality tests, but this all part of the matching process they go through. I actually got the first position out of college through Robert Half. It turned out to be a great entry level position for me. Without their ability to play professional match maker, I may have never found that first position which set me for a great career trajectory.