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A Career Coach Shares The Single Most Unproductive Way To Look For A Job Right Now & Way Too Many People Are Doing It

Photo: Alexander Suhorucov / Pexels 
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If there’s one thing in life that’s universally stressful, it’s looking for a job. Whether you’re currently employed but seeking something different, or unemployed and searching for work, the job hunt is a taxing and anxiety-inducing process.

There’s one particular technique that people tend to use when looking for work, but it doesn’t garner the results one might hope for.

A career coach shared the single most unproductive way to look for a job that way too many people are doing.

J.T. O’Donnell is a career coach who advocates for workers. In a TikTok video, she revealed the one way many people try to find work that is entirely ineffective: Applying for jobs online. 

   

   

As O’Donnell explained it, “You are not hearing from companies because literally, applying online is the single most unproductive way to look for work right now. It’s essentially like you aren’t looking for work.”

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She also noted that online applications have made it so easy to apply for jobs that companies are flooded with applicants — so many that they can’t possibly go through them all. 

“Right now, companies are getting hundreds, sometimes thousands of applicants for jobs online," she shared. "It’s just too easy to apply... They literally have ‘Easy Apply’ buttons.”

She continued, “When companies get that many applicants, it takes them forever to go through them all and they have to just screen people out for the littlest of reasons." 

   

   

The numbers just aren’t in job seekers’ favor, she said, detailing how “If a hundred people apply to a job, a company’s ultimately only going to interview maybe five or six of them to find the right person. So, you have a very small percentage chance that you’re ever going to hear from that employer.”

Oversaturating your job search by applying to huge numbers of open positions isn’t actually helping your chances. O’Donnell explained that “applying to hundreds of jobs, thinking, ‘Okay, I’ll play the numbers,’ is not going to improve your odds.”

Instead, O’Donnell recommends a more strategic job search.

"Applying online seems easy, but it’s going to get you poor results," she said. "The solution is to learn how to do a proactive job search."

O’Donnell shared her perspective on how people should approach the job hunt, saying, “I want you to think of yourself as a job shopper, not a job seeker. When you apply the right techniques, and you’re more discriminatory in terms of who you approach and how you approach them, you can stand out.”

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She also shared that updating your LinkedIn profile and resume to stand out is a crucial part of being job-hunt-ready. She ended her video with a message of solidarity, saying, “I’m telling you, you’re not alone. So many people are saying, ‘What’s going on, I’m applying and not hearing back.’”

A Career Coach Shares The Single Most Unproductive Way To Look For A Job Right NowPhoto: fizkes / Shutterstock

O’Donnell noted that the explosion of online applications and technological advances in job hunting have actually made it harder to find open positions. “People don’t understand that technology’s actually made it more challenging, it’s created more barriers for you to be able to speak to somebody,” she revealed.

She advised people who are looking for work to avoid online job boards because they’re so oversaturated. She recommended following companies on social media to get a sense of their brand, and then writing what she calls “a disruptive cover letter” to stand out from the pack.

   

   

Finding a job in our current economy might feel like an uphill battle, but as O’Donnell makes clear, you’re not imagining how hard it is — it really is just that hard.

Having the practical, social and financial resources to break away from the standard procedure of finding work isn’t accessible to everyone, but there’s some slight comfort in the solidarity of knowing that you’re doing all you can in a flawed system. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers issues in the workplace, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.