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  • Indrani Stangl, M.A., Career Coach

Why keep knocking if nobody answers?

There are a lot of reasons why you may not hear anything after you apply for online job listings. Once your documents are uploaded, it is easy to keep applying with the same material. You may have applied to 30 jobs, but your resume and cover letter may only be suitable for 10% of them. I like to call this the 'slot machine' approach. Your job search should not be a gamble. Leave your luck for the lotto! Applying online is so easy these days, and hundreds of people are doing the same thing as you. Submit, submit, submit, click, click, click. Your resume is floating around in a virtual flood of job applications. Who has time to look at them all?

Other considerations that you may not have though of: What if the job posts are actually ghosts? It is possible that the employer forgot to take the job post down after it was filled. Or, the employer posted the job, but they already have someone internal in mind. You may not have any chance of getting the jobs you applied for. Remember this definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. If you go to your neighbor's door and knock once, twice, three, even five times, would you keep knocking and knocking hoping someone eventually answers? That is essentially what you are doing when you sit on the computer for hours at a time, clicking 'submit', hoping the phone will finally ring.

Depressing, right?

Don't despair yet, as there are other things you can do for real results. Yes, I am talking about the dreaded "N" word.

Networking. It's mandatory. That is how you tap into the hidden job market. The hidden job market is real, and if you are ignoring it, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

What exactly is the hidden job market? It's those jobs that have not yet been posted. The ones at a stealth start-up, the one that is being vacated next month when someone retires, the one that was just approved to be filled at a growing company.

The only way you can find these jobs is by talking to people. Take advantage of your LinkedIn connections, your relatives, the person you met at the party, the nice guy you were in line next to at the bank. Do informational interviews. Carry your business or calling card everywhere you go. Work on your elevator pitch.

Because that dream job won't be hidden forever. Snag it before someone else does.

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