Photo: Robert Libetti/Business Insider
Recently, we did a poll which found that connections through family and friends are the single most important factor in getting people jobs.But it’s not the only way.
I’ve gotten my last two jobs through internet job listings. Currently, I work as the Contributors Editor at Business Insider. I ended up here after responding to a job listing on Indeed.com. Before that, I worked at a media company called WorldNow, as a Channel Editor. I found this job through Craigslist and worked for the company for almost three years.
Many job-seekers feel that sending their resume and cover letter into the abyss that is the internet is a waste of time. I probably applied to around 30 jobs on each search and only got responses from a handful. Yet to make the endeavour fruitful, you only need one conversation that moves forward. Here’s what I think helped me to stand out.
1. Be focused. I had specific skills and experience that were directly related to each job that I ended up getting. WorldNow took an interest, because they were looking for someone to produce content for their Lifestyle verticals — Food in particular. I was currently working for Wiley’s Cookbooks when I applied for this job, and I highlighted my experience doing market research for recipe Web sites, assisting to develop cookbooks and assessing trends in the food world.
2. Be Open. When I applied for a Lifestyle editor position at Business Insider, the managing editor responded that the position had been filled but suggested that I might be interested in an internship for the new Life section. Even though I was completing my Master’s and had five years of experience, I said that I would be interested in learning more about the opening. After further reviewing my materials, the managing editor suggested that I might be a good fit for the contributors editor position. If I had simply said no to the internship because I thought I was overqualified, I would have missed out on the opportunity. You never know where a conversation will lead.
3. Keep it simple. Part of the art of applying to job ads online is writing cover letters in email form that grab HR’s attention. Because online job postings yield hundreds if not thousands of responses, it’s necessary to stand out. My advice is to write a brief note in the body of an email. You save someone the trouble of having to open an attachment and read an intro email as well. Next, I’d write three paragraphs in the traditional format but keep them brief:
- I’m applying for this position that I found _________.
- I’m qualfied because ________.
- I’m attaching my resume and appreciate your time, will follow up, etc.
When you’re looking for a job you obviously want to make sure you’re using your time in the most effective manner. Definitely work your connections and reach out to colleagues. But don’t discount the internet if you know what you’re looking for and you have something specific to offer.
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