I recently did a google search that started the with the phrase “how many” and google in its helpful way suggested “how many jobs should I apply for”.  So, of course,  I now had a burning need to know the answer  – how many jobs should I apply for.  Google told me I had 2,310,000,000 results.   Over 2 billion ways to say “a bunch”. 

But what struck me most was that they all gave (no, I didn’t read all 2,310,000,000) good advice for getting through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), tailoring your resume, writing the perfect cover letter, etc.  Virtually none of them spoke to the futility of conducting your search by trolling job boards.  The statistics are that for every job posted there are thousands of responses and only a handful ever get an interview and only one gets hired for the job.  It is a long frustrating and demoralizing process that makes all applicants feel less qualified. 

So, I must have a better way right?  I do!  I think that by leveraging your personal contacts you can increase the odds that you will be the one selected.  Overwhelmingly decision makers say they hire a person that they know; or has been referred to them by someone they trust.  Seek out those influencers and let them be your guide through the process.  Have them introduce you to the decision maker, now you are no longer one of thousands, you are one of one.  A known quantity that has the credibility of a referral.  Not only is it more effective, it is lots more fun!

By the way, my experience points out another great delusion of online search.  I was searching for something specific, but Google’s helpful auto fill took me in a direction that I wasn’t planning on and that frankly wasted a chunk of my morning.  There are so many enticing things to see, read and experience on the internet that one must be very disciplined to not be drawn away from our primary mission.  Use the internet as a tool, don’t be distracted – move on to being with “real people”.  That is the joy of job search, having the opportunity to form relationships with people you would have never met except for through your search.


Rick Christensen

Rick Christensen: Director, Career Transition Practice Rick has been a career consultant for over 25 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

Rick’s passion is coaching individuals through career transitions, developing career management strategies and in identifying and sharpening competencies to open doors to new opportunities. His efforts have assisted thousands of individuals achieve their full potential.

Contact Rick at: Rick@CareerDevelopmentPartners.com