green pin needle in a haystack

The brutal statistics behind the job search—and how you can beat them

The online job search can feel like an impersonal, unwinnable numbers game, but there’s a much better way to get a great job.

Looking for a job online can feel like a never-ending churn: Hundreds of listings, resumes, cover letters, and spreadsheets—and nothing to show for it. The internet is rife with tips and hacks for maximizing what is essentially a broken process.

Here’s a hard truth: The behind-the-scenes odds of a successful online job search are stacked against you.

We pulled together a few statistics that tell the real story of how online job hunts work:

On average, there are 250+ applications for every job posting.

That translates to a 0.4% chance of getting the job. And that’s not the whole story: Artificial intelligence filters out a huge chunk of those applications before a human being even looks at them. Of course, you can try to hack your resume with keywords, but there’s no guarantee you’ll outsmart the algorithm and get a fair shot.

Thankfully, you can bypass the system altogether by connecting with someone inside the company who can advocate for you and connect you with the hiring manager directly. In other words, if you want to work for a particular company, your most valuable asset may be your friend or a new connection who works in their marketing department or is on the board.

Millennials spend an average of 2.8 years in each role.

Let’s do a little math here: 2.8 years is about 34 months. The average job hunt takes six months. That means most Millennials will spend over 600 days of a given decade looking for a job—and the numbers aren’t much different for Gen X.

Give your future self a headstart on the next job hunt by making connections and building relationships now. Even if you’re happy with your current role, invite people to meet you for lunch or connect with a quick phone call. Build a strong network, and when you’re ready to start thinking about your next step, you’ll have lots of people to call to see what opportunities are out there.

Only 20% of jobs are filled through online applications. Only 20% of job openings are posted online at all.

The vast majority of opportunities are inaccessible via the traditional internet job search. If combing through online listings is the only job hunt method you’ve ever learned, these numbers can feel discouraging—or downright bleak.

Here’s the brighter side: 80% of jobs are landed through connections. You’re far more likely to get a job thanks to someone you know. The key here is to communicate with your network.

Start with a list of fifty people you know, and reach out to each and every one to share that you’re looking for a new job. The key is to be specific about your career goals.

Let’s say one of your professional contacts works for a fast-growing startup in your industry. If a leader at that company mentions that they’d like to hire someone with your exact skills and your friend knows you’re looking, they can mention your name right away. Your friend’s endorsement is more powerful than sending dozens of resumes into cyberspace.

A single coffee meet-up is not enough: A successful job search is the result of 300 networking touches.

It’s easy to get excited about one or two job leads and then have to start all over again when they fall through. This is a common and devastating mistake in the job hunt.

Instead, think of networking like a sales funnel. Instead of going after just one or two jobs, you start with a lot of leads, knowing that some will naturally drop off. You focus more and more energy on your strongest leads over time, and end up with a solid pool of real opportunities at the end.

For example, let’s say you make 300 connections, and 25% of those people say they might know of an opening. That’s 75 leads. If 20% of those leads end up being real opportunities, then you have 15 strong prospects.

It’s a numbers game: More calls will result in more leads. And strong leads will lead to better job opportunities. Of course, some people will say that applying for jobs online is also a numbers game, but think of it this way: 15 real connections with real people are far more valuable than 150 applications to online job listings that will never get back to you.

Connections are the key to getting a better job.

Here’s the good news: These numbers don’t have to be scary when you know how to beat them. And the way to beat them is clear: Connect with people and build a network. Simply put, your network is made up of the people you know, and a rich network can open more doors for you faster.

Building a strong network takes effort, and you may want a little help to organize your connections. Thankfully, you don’t have to rely on a clunky spreadsheet—or your own memory—to keep track of all the details.

Career Club ONE is an easy-to-use system that does it all for you.

  • You can create a profile for each of your connections and keep notes about important details.
  • Career Club ONE integrates easily with Gmail, so you can see your email history with each person at a glance.
  • You can even set reminders for yourself to reach out, schedule a meeting, or follow up with a call or email, so those connections stay strong.

See how it works > link to video

Career Club ONE is modeled after the exact systems that successful salespeople use to achieve their sales targets and manage long-term business relationships. The same principles you can use to foster mutually beneficial relationships and get a better job faster.

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