Applied to hundreds of roles?

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Q:  I have applied to hundreds of roles posted online.  I never hear back.  It is supposed to be a strong job market for IT professionals.  I am so frustrated.  Companies are so rude.  They don’t even call you back.  I have had a few phone interviews but then nothing.  What is your opinion?  I have been unemployed for over 30 days now.

A: I can understand your frustration.  However, if you have applied to hundreds of roles online and you have heard nothing back, then this tactic is not working for you.  Stop.  Don’t invest more time in applying to roles posted online.

A few thoughts –

  1. Have a trusted friend or colleague review your resume. Is it outdated?  Does it include typos?  Does it accurately reflect your work experience in the most positive way?
  2. Think about contacts in your industry. Job seekers still learn about most roles through a contact, whether it be a former co-worker, a family member or a college roommate.  Share with others that you are looking for a new role.
  3. Network.  Or maybe I should say NETWORK.  A strong and healthy network is essential.  Several years ago, I met with a colleague who always seemed to magically land in a new role whenever he expressed interest in considering a new opportunity.  It was not magic or luck.  He explained that he never stopped networking.  He lost his job once about five years prior.  Since that event, he learned that a vibrant and engaged professional network was the best defense against unemployment.  And I believe him!  Never stop networking, even when you are working in your ideal job!  Offer to meet a former co-worker for coffee.  Reach out to a neighbor who is in the tech industry.  Head to the dog park on Saturday mornings when other professionals might be there too.
  4. If you are not on LinkedIn, you should be. Invest time and energy in building a strong LinkedIn profile.  Recruiters scour LinkedIn for candidates.  You want to be one of the candidates they find quickly and easily.
  5. As you have discovered, applying to hundreds of roles online is not the best use of your time. Be selective.  Who do you know at a particular company?  This is where #3 comes in again.  Networking can often help you reach roles that you may not otherwise know about.  Ideally, it is advantageous to learn about roles before they are posted.  Once a role is posted, you are competing with others, sometimes hundreds of others.
  6. Even if you are frustrated, follow up on telephone interviews. Thank the interviewer for their time.
  7. Show no frustration to those who can assist you. Share your annoyances with your parakeet, dog, cat or spouse.  But not anyone who could brand you as being an angry or negative job hunter.

Finally, 30 days is not an excessively long period of unemployment, especially over the December holidays.  Develop a plan.  Don’t sit behind your computer.  Your new job is looking for a job on a full-time basis.  Start now!

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.