Apply for a job when no opening is posted?

Mike S.

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In a different thread Golfman25 stated the following: “Don't just limit yourself to "help wanted" ads. Go after companies who may not be "hiring." Some have given up advertising. In today's environment they will pick up as many good people as they can.”

I haven’t had to look for a job in many years, but that may be changing soon. I thought I remember reading that sending resumes to a company when they are not actively advertising an opening was a waste of time or even a negative/irritating thing for the recipients.

But, as I say, I am not up-to-date on the latest trends in job hunting. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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If you haven't looked for a job in many years, you may be in for a shock.

Not only is sending in an application when no job is posted a waste of time, sending one in when a job IS posted is a waste of time.

Nowadays everything is done using "applicant tracking systems." Many companies use a keyword matching algorithm to compare your resume against their requirements. Unless there is a high percentage match, your resume gets screened out by software before a human ever thinks of looking at it.

I've come to the conclusion that the only way to get your resume looked at is to have someone on the inside who can hand it to HR or better yet, the person who makes the hiring decision. It's the old "it's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know."

You can try putting your resume on, which will get you a flood of requests that are likely irrelevant, but occasionally you might get a recruiter contact you for something that is actually a match.

Coury Ferguson

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"Who you know" has always been the main contact for any position (Networking). Recruiters are good, but I would select one that you may know or have worked with before. There are a lot of recruiters out there that are seeking to increase their database, no real positions. Sending out resumes "blindly" may work sometimes but not always. Start by contacting previous Supervisors or Managers you have worked with before. That is the best start. Using sites like Elsmar, occasionally have actual positions. Your local ASQ is another good source. The main thing here is that the source needs to be reputable.

That is my take.


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Almost every job I have held, other than the one that got me into the business world in the 1980's, was by someone within a company knowing of me by word of mouth. And that led me to consulting - all based upon recommendations from someone. I never advertised my consulting or other services. Someone in a company would call me, tell me <name> had recommended me, and ask me to talk with them and/or visit them.

I don't know how it is today, but I do believe networking is still the primary entrance for supervisory, middle and upper management positions.

I can say that we have to be careful about generalizing, and take into consideration company size, etc. And I am sure it's different these days to some degree. I mean - Linkedin has 2 basic functions. First is advertising (which is what many people use it for...), and second is for people trying to find jobs (at least as far as I understand Linkedin). :2cents:


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Ok so here goes. First, Indeed is a "fraud." Read their complaints. We were one that was "banned" for some unknown reason. You can't get any straight answers out of them. Very frustrating.

Second, in the good old days of hiring, you had basically one place to go -- your local newspaper. It was a few hundred dollars to place an ad that may run a few weeks. There was this thing called the Post Office that would deliver countless resumes and cover letters right to you office to review. Applicants actually had to put some effort into it. Sometime years ago, the newspaper was replaced by and the Post office replaced by the Fax machine and eventually email.

Fast forward to today -- there are hundreds of "Job Boards" which essentially post and repost the same jobs. They are very expensive for companies to use, usually costing several hundred dollars per month. And yes, everything is now electronic. So now it is easy for applicants to "apply" for the job -- just hit send. Problem for the employer is that most applicants are woefully under qualified. Imagine looking for a CNC operator and getting replies from some guy running a fry machine at a burger joint. So, yes jeanth says a lot of computerized screening will go on.

So my comment was based on these experiences and that a lot of companies have given up on traditional hiring. Need -- Ad -- applicant -- interview -- hire. Especially smaller companies without big time HR departments.

So yes, blindly sending resumes is a waste of time. But targeting who you send things to is not. If you target a few quality companies in you area, figure out a way to reach out to them and get connected with them. Try to connect with the biggest dog in the company you can find, like the President.

There a guy in our local association who keeps an email list of members. He know our members have a difficult time finding people. He frequently comes across candidates and sends out information on them. Interested companies provide contact information and things go from there. His "placement rate" blows away any recruiter. Find that guy.


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In addition, this just in from my Quora feed - the question was " have you ever given somebody a job just because they sent you a thank-you email after an interview ? "

After an on-site interview, the recruiter contacted me over email of the rejection (for a fresh grad software engineering position). I replied with a brief email noting that I would have love to work at the company because of the interesting work, career growth and the value of their products. Though at the end I politely thanked them for the opportunity, which was the main focus.

A week later the recruiter called me back with an offer.

Most big companies have a systematic hiring process - a no is a no and it’s final. But always keep things positive while doing the best you can for the situation with zero expectation. Do work with, and recognize, people who has the power to influence things within the organization.

The reality is there is always an element of unknown.


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In addition, this just in from my Quora feed - the question was " have you ever given somebody a job just because they sent you a thank-you email after an interview ? "

Actually, to me this is huuuuge. I want to see some demonstrated interest. If I am lucky enough to get 3-4 candidates, the ones that shoot quick thank you email are going to get called back. Unfortunately, it is the easiest way to thin the herd.


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Golfman if you know of a better way to find a new position I am all ears.

LinkedIn is useless for job seeking. It's decided that I am a civil engineer and tries to serve me up jobs based on that. No clue why - I don't have the word "civil" anywhere in my profile. :) It is good for networking and keeping up with what your colleagues are up to.

What indeed offers from the job candidate perspective is a search algorithm that lets you include words, exclude words, combine words etc. For people like me whose possible job titles fall in between the cracks, it's the only online source that works. I have found opportunities that I never would have found otherwise.

I miss the good old days, but they are gone forever so now I use tools like jobscan to tell me how well my resume will do getting past the bots. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.


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I'm about to send a thank you over linkedin. I don't know if the president of the company would find that creepy or assertive, but I think I blew the interview, so it's worth a shot.
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