Career Fitness: The Social Job Application

Career Fitness: The Social Job Application

Career Fitness: The Social Job Application

Ask a hundred job seekers what their single worst job search experience has been and ninety-nine will say “the application black hole.” It happens to just about everyone and just about all the time: you send your resume to an employer for an advertised job opening and all you get back is a big fat nothing. It’s frustrating and dispiriting and it’s also avoidable … if you use a technique I call the social job application.

In today’s job market, your application for an advertised job has three strikes against it from the moment you hit the Submit button.

  • First, it will fall into a tsunami of dozens or even hundreds of other applications, every one of which claims that it describes a person who is a perfect match for the job’s requirements;
  • Second, your application and all of the others that have been submitted will be shunted directly into a computerized database that can only be searched by keywords;
  • And third, the recruiter who is supposed to search the database and review all those applications will also be responsible for filling twenty or more other job openings.

So, connect the dots and the cause of the black hole is immediately apparent: there’s very little chance that your application will ever be read by a human recruiter.

There’s no excuse for this situation, and employers should be ashamed that they permit it to continue. However, while placing the blame for the black hole may lead to a future correction, it doesn’t provide any relief if you’re looking for a job in the present. What you need for today’s job market is a technique that enables you to avoid the black hole so your resume gets the attention it deserves. You need to use a social job application.

The Application Two-Step

Unlike the one-and-done approach of most applications, a social job application is composed of two steps. Yes, that makes it more time-consuming and probably a bit more difficult, but that’s a small price to pay to have your credentials actually reviewed by the human recruiter who is responsible for filling the job you want.

Step 1 is simple enough. Apply for the job. Get your resume into the employer’s application tracking system.

Step 2 is the secret to success. Get social. Search your networks for any connection you may have to an employee of the company. Then, ask those contacts to refer you to the recruiter who’s filling the opening.

Why do that? Because many recruiters believe referrals are their best source of quality applicants. So, if you can get one contact to make such a referral, your application will magically move from that computerized database to the top of the stack on the recruiter’s desk. And if you can get several contacts to refer you, you’ll probably get a call from the recruiter the next day.

The key to using this technique successfully, of course, is finding those contacts. Unfortunately, many job seekers fall short because they under utilize their networks. They focus on their social media contacts – their friends, followers and connections – and don’t look any further afield.

To avoid this shortcoming, make sure you probe all of the following:

  • Former coworkers
  • Former bosses
  • Fellow alumni of both your undergraduate and graduate academic institutions
  • Fellow members of affinity groups (e.g., veterans, fraternities/sororities)
  • Fellow members of your professional society or association.

The social job application won’t guarantee that you get a particular job, but it will ensure that you avoid the application black hole and get the consideration you deserve.

Thanks for reading,


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Career Fitness: The Book

Are you frustrated by the hundreds of job search and career building techniques you’ve read and heard about? For many of us, all those options can be totally overwhelming. How do you know which are the most effective? And what’s the best way to perform them? And how often should you use them to find a great new job or a better one?

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Make Your Job Search Headquarters

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