|The Halo Effect|
There are many different ways and methods to go about finding a job. Before the Internet, the job search entailed printing out hundreds of resumes on expensive paper, purchasing matching envelopes, and then sending the packaged resume out to HR managers at target companies. Back in the dark ages, newspaper ads were the primary source of advertising for companies seeking job applicants. Both sending out cold resumes and answering ads were the most common methods of job search in pre-Net days, but there is another method that worked better and even today works better than all other methods - networking.
Networking is a term akin to root canal for many people. It takes time, it's painful to many, and most job seekers aren't very confident about the results when starting out. Networking is simply talking to people and allowing others to help you find the right person to talk to in the target company. It's making human connections. With the ease of the Internet for job search, it's gotten easier to ignore networking because it requires more effort than just posting your resume to job boards. Like in the old days, though, networking is still the most effective method of job search because it is job searching through personal recommendations.
Employers generally give more attention to candidates that are referred by current employees, vendors, customers, or other people who have some sort of connection to the company. Such referrals tend to produce better candidates that fit the positions better. Hiring by referral is also cheaper - no cost of advertising or tedious candidate screening. The benefits to the employer of hiring by recommendation are many.
I hear so many reports from job seekers who come to us for assistance about the results they achieve with networking versus resume posting and answering ads. Almost all report the only luck they've had with the resume is when a network contact has forwarded it to the hiring manager as a recommendation. I hesitate to say this, but those interviews are not the result of the resume as much as they are the result of the recommendation of the network contact. I've seen really bad resumes that were forwarded to hiring managers that gained an interview; in fact, one was written on notebook paper! The interview comes from the halo effect generated about the candidate by the person doing the referring, not the resume.
The competition on the job boards for candidates is brutal. Monster alone boasts several MILLION resumes in the database. A hiring manager doing a candidate search on any of the big boards literally generates hundreds or even thousands of resumes that match the keywords for the position. It is in this environment that the resume really must perform well in order to rank high enough to even be looked at by recruiters.
If you have your resume posted on the big boards, you know you can look and see how many hits your resume has received. Hits mean little to nothing in terms of effectiveness. Go to Google and enter the keyword phrase vegetable garden weeding and you will get 282,000 pages found with that phrase or combination of those words in them. Every one of those sites received a hit from the search. If you are looking for weeding ideas, you will probably only go to sites that rank in the first two, maybe three, pages. Resume databases work the same way. If your resume is not making it to the top of that huge pile, you won't receive any views.
Submitting the resume to advertisements that appear on the online job boards is not much more effective. A single job posting can receive hundreds of applicants. Most companies simply suck all incoming resumes for a posted position into the internal resume database and you are right back to the same problem as described above - getting to the top of the pile.
The odds of competition of the online job search make networking something that should be considered more effective and time efficient. If you post your resume online at all the boards and spend hours every week answering ads and you STILL haven't gotten a good job by the end of six months, what kind of time are you really saving? A few weeks of intensive networking would garner a great job for you in a much shorter time period. Take advantage of the halo effect generated by networking and get to your next job faster.