You’ve made up your mind: It’s time for a career change. If only applying for jobs were as easy as making that decision.
The job search process can be confusing and intimidating, to say the least. But the good news is that there are some little-known facts that can actually clear up a lot of that confusion and make the process a little more approachable.
So, check these out—they just might make a big difference in your next search:
1. Most Jobs Are a Secret
OK, they’re not a secret, per se, but 80% of jobs never get posted and are only found through networking.
Which means, scouring the web is not enough. It works great for seeing what’s out there, but for all those other jobs, you’ll need to talk to other humans.
So, make sure to supplement your online research with real-world activities. As a first step, map out who you know. You can start by creating a list of former co-workers, classmates, teammates, and more. Then, reach out to friends and acquaintances for informal advice and to learn more about their roles.
Take some time crafting your message:
Weak: “Hey, I noticed you have an open job at your company. Can you help me?”
Strong: “Hi, I’m really interested in exploring different ways to grow my career and enhance my learning. I’d love to learn more about your experiences.”
2. Knowing Someone on the Inside Can Get You Hired
Maybe the job you’re looking for is posted online, but that doesn’t mean you should keep your interest to yourself. With so many applicants, more and more companies rely on the networks of their existing employees. Especially because companies want to hire people who “get it” and who’ll click with the current staff.
Here’s the thing: Only 7% of job applicants get an employee referral, yet referrals account for 40% of all hires! So, basically, having someone put in a good word will give you a serious leg up on the competition. Luckily, asking is easier than you think.
3. Recruiters Don’t Really Read Your Resume
Well, they do, but they don’t. Recruiters spend, on average, six seconds reviewing your resume. Translation: A resume alone won’t get you a job, but a bad one can ruin your chances.
So, you need to make it as user-friendly as possible. Include relevant experience, keep it to one page, and whatever you do, don’t forget to run spell check. A quick scan might not capture all of your awesomeness, but it will catch any glaring errors that will send your application right to the trash bin.
4. Hundreds of People Are Applying for the Same Job
Did you know that a typical corporate job posting will attract 250 resumes on average? With this in mind, you might want to think twice before just throwing your resume in with the other 249 again and again. I know, that number’s scary. But it’s a good reminder of why you do need to tailor your application and put in that extra energy.
So, the first thing to do before you submit any applications is make sure you really want this position. Because if you don’t, you won’t be motivated enough to do what it takes to stand out. (Or you’ll burn out spending hours applying to jobs you don’t actually want.)
5. The Job Search Drags on (for Everyone)
On average, it takes about 52 days to fill a job opening. In other words, this won’t be a fast process. And that’s something to keep in mind when you see an opening that looks amazing. It’s better to take a few days to submit the perfect application than it is to fire off your materials right away without customizing them at all.
It’s also something to remember when you’re waiting to hear back after an interview. While “having patience” is easier said than done, it’s certainly key.
6. Your Embarrassing Email Address Will Disqualify You
Hey, firstname.lastname@example.org, unfortunately you and your friend Ih8work@aol.com, will fall into the group of 76% of resumes that are thrown out simply because their email address were unprofessional. I know that seems like an unbelievably high number, but the good news is, it should cut down on the competition from the 249 applying to the same job as you!
Please, please don’t be the person to use your email from middle school. And don’t overlook less obvious things—like if your email address is “email@example.com” and you’re trying to land a job in a completely new field.
It’s easy to get discouraged during your job search, but knowledge is power. Hopefully these facts will motivate you to switch up your process and land that job you deserve.
Photo of calculator courtesy of Shutterstock.