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Why should I not apply for positions online? 3 main reasons


Many people who contact me complain that they have completed a lot of applications online but have not heard back, or at best they’ve received a standardised rejection email . Surely all this effort must pay off at some point, they feel. All those carefully tailored CVs and Cover Letters and application forms – where have they all disappeared?

I have to explain to these hard-working and obviously passionate people that sending applications online is like throwing things into a big black hole. Of course, some people get lucky and hear back but the majority are never even notified of receipt not to speak about getting a call inviting them for a long-awaited interview.

My answer to the above is: drop online applications as the outcome (or lack of outcome) you get from them simply doesn’t justify the effort you put in. Occasionally, it can be wise to submit a few online applications – depending on the industry and companies you are applying to – but this is the exception.

So here are three reasons why you should not apply for job vacancies online:

  1. Everybody else (or most people) are doing exactly the same. So if everybody is doing the same thing and a lot of these applicants are highly competent, then how are you going to differentiate yourself from the competition? You can still be successful – but for that, your personal brand have to be very strong and your unique selling points well-defined and communicated through.


  1. It is well-known that online applications from candidates who do not know anybody from their target companies are destined for the rubbish bin in a majority of cases. Indeed, why would a hiring manager seriously consider your application if they have never met you (or been referred to speak to you) whilst they have the choice to speak to somebody highly recommended by a trusted colleague. This is particularly true for some super-competitive industries, such as sales, banking, consulting, marketing. It is who you know, not what you know that matters for getting your foot in the door. Then you still have to impress at interview of course.


  1. And finally, in a number of cases, CVs and Cover Letters are not designed to the highest standard applicable in that specific industry and are not creative or different enough to justify being invited for an interview. Plus, not many people use a well-designed video resume as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and a lot of employers appreciate this extra creative effort. And it is by talking to people directly before applying to your target company, you can understand what the latest application documents requirements are and whether it makes sense to provide some additional materials, such as video resume for instance.


Hope the above is of use and please get in touch if you require guidance on alternative application strategies, effective networking and CV, Cover Letter and Video Resume design.

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