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Episode 20 - Is Applying Online For Jobs a Waste of Time?

In today’s episode of Recovering Corpoholics, we're going to discuss if applying online is a waste of time. 


Find the full show notes to this episode at


So, you want to find a new job. As you’ve probably done in the past, you start looking at job sites such as or, LinkedIn, or even the career pages of those companies you want to work for. 


When you find something that catches your eye, you apply (which is uploading your resume and then basically retyping the same information from your resume). And then you wait and hope that someone reaches out to you. 


But is this worth your time? 


To me, it’s not. And I am going to share with you 4 reasons why I think that it is. 


Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t be applying for jobs online. All I want to say is this shouldn’t be your main or only strategy to get a new job. That’s why I believe networking is so important.


(To learn more about networking, listen to the Networking series I did, episodes 14, 15 and 16).


So, what are those 4 reasons? 


1. High competition / Low success rate.

First, the success rate for applying for jobs online is at most 5%, meaning that 95% of applicants will not get hired by applying online. 


Why is this? Well, applying for jobs is pretty much a straightforward and easy process. There are some people who want the job and some are just applying to see what happens. Whatever the case may be, the competition is high, hence why the success rate is so low!


We honestly could end this episode right there but let’s continue with more reasons.


2. The process sucks.

The second reason in my opinion that applying for jobs online isn’t worth your time is that the system doesn’t work in your favor. You may be the most qualified for the job but depending on when you apply, recruiters may never see your resume. 


According to, on average, every corporate job listing gets 250 applicants. However, only 4 to 6 of the applicants will be called for an interview. 


Why is this?


It’s just how the process works. When I did a tour in recruiting during non-busy season, I saw it first-hand. The hiring manager would ask for 10 resumes and I just went in the system and went from who applied first down the list. Once I found 10 good resumes, I didn’t even look at the rest of them. 


So, if you are #20 to apply for the job, your resume may never be seen if they already reached the number of resumes requested. So, unless you apply as soon as the requisite comes out, is it even worth your time?


Now, if you are an internal candidate or internal referral, they have to look at your resume (hence why referrals are so important). But if there are 10 good internal candidates or a mix of internal and internal referrals, you could still be the best qualified external applicant but again, you won’t get seen so it doesn’t matter.


Now they do have Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), software that scans resumes for selected information the hiring manager wants, but according to, 75% of applicants are still rejected with this software. 


I will do another episode on how to make your resume ATS reviewable. Sign up for my email updates at to be the first to know when that comes out!


3. It’s time consuming.

Third, applying for jobs online is tedious and time consuming. Yes, it is a straightforward process but sometimes (and most times) you should be tweaking your resume and cover letter to match the job. 


Now add that to submitting your resume (and then basically retyping it) and potentially answering those random questions take time. Time that may be better spent somewhere else, like Networking. Especially now that we know our resume has a low chance of ever being seen. 


4. The process is slow.

On to the next reason and that is the process is slow!


Maybe you get a call in a week or two, maybe it will be a month or more! But Honestly, you probably won’t even hear anything with the way applying online works! And the worst part is that you are completely in the dark the entire time.  


Sometimes they go through the entire hiring process and hire someone before letting you know you haven’t been selected. And we all know how long that process can take. 


And since the process is slow, all it does is make you feel in limbo and bring down your confidence. 


Maybe you stop applying and just give up.  And what this limbo/low confidence feeling does to you is just makes you feel hopeless. So, then you just give up and suck it up at your current job. 


I want you to remember here that it’s not you, it’s them! You are more than qualified; you just aren’t getting seen! So, the real question is, how can you get seen!


And that’s exactly why you need to be networking instead. In summary, it’s not that you shouldn’t be applying for jobs online, it just shouldn’t be the only or the main strategy you use. 



Stay tuned for next week when I go over how you should apply for jobs instead. 


Stay inspired and live powerfully,


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