Finding a Job in a Digital World

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When I listen to a podcast, there is often an ad for ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter “is the fastest way to find great people,” or so it says on the homepage of their website. Essentially, employers post a job to ZipRecruiter and the job posting gets pushed to all sorts of job searching websites like Glassdoor, job.com, geebo, and a bunch of others I have never heard of before. You just fill out the information once and your job gets posted to 200 different sites. That’s kind of cool. But there is a big problem with that. HR now has to deal with hundreds of applications; and if you are applying to a company that uses ZipRecruiter, they are probably having a robot go through your resume and cover letter to look for words like “manage”, “teamwork”, or “synergize.”
But I don’t want my resume looked at by a bot. I want my resume to be looked at by a real human being. I have applied through these websites before and I don’t even get a rejection letter from the company in question, yet alone an idea that someone printed out my carefully crafted resume and cover letter and then read them. This is where you reach a hurdle on the path to post-graduation-job-nirvana. I want to find jobs, so I look on Glassdoor, job.com, & geebo but then I want to stand out from the pack. How do I do that? I have no idea. Instead I am offering a solution to avoid those websites.

1. The other day I was sitting, looking at a magazine, when I realized something great about the thing in my hand. Everyone in the industry takes part in the magazine. Let’s say you are a psychology major looking for an internship. Why not pick up the latest version of Psychology Today and go through the pages and check out companies that advertise? My point is that your favorite magazines already reflect your passions, why not go through the pages of your passions to look for the company that you didn’t think to apply to?

2. Now that you’ve identified where you want to apply, keep a list. There are some tutorials out there on the internet on how to keep a proper list of applications. I don’t really like those. They include things like: application deadline, if you’ve completed the cover letter, other application materials, and people in the company you may know.
I really disagree with this strategy. Most employers announce in advance when the postings are going up and most employers have already found a match by the end of the deadline. Instead of a “application deadline” field, I prefer a “check during ___ (season)” field. Then, once the application is open, I write the cover letter and send of my resume in one sitting. Just to get it out of the way. I don’t need to check in with my checklist.

3. Everyone always says that the only sure way to get a job is through people you know. While I can agree that networking is probably the most consistent way to get your foot in the door, it isn’t always possible for all people. That’s why I’ve been using UMass career fairs as pure networking opportunities. Instead of spamming my resume across the career fair, I talk to a few recruiters that I know are just as passionate as I am on finding a job that’s the right fit.

4. City websites are my other secret weapon to avoid ZipRecruiter. I will search things like “Best Places to work in Seattle” and then I apply to all of those. Or I will search “Businesses with offices in the Prudential Building, Boston” because I dream of one day working there. I am always just looking for more names to put on my list that don’t get hundreds of applicants that all sound exactly like me.

5. I also tend to look at the products around me that I don’t necessarily think about. Odwalla and IMAX are both companies that I see all the time, but I wouldn’t think of applying to those because I don’t write them down.

There are ways to avoid your resume getting lost in a stack a mile high, it just takes some planning and forethought to avoid it.