The Truth About Online Job Applications


Straight Answers to Real Questions

Question: I was most recently CFO of a mid-sized food manufacturer in Mississauga. Due to a change in corporate ownership I’ve been on the street for the last six months or so. I haven’t actually kept track but I’d estimate that I’ve responded to more than two dozen CFO and VP Finance open positions posted on LinkedIn, Indeed Jobs and the rest.

I like to think that I’ve had a pretty marketable background but I haven’t even had a nibble from all the positions I’ve applied to. Is there any way of increasing the odds of getting some action from these job boards?

Answer: I’ll address your question generally because I don’t know the specifics of what positions you’ve applied to and how you’ve responded to these postings. There are a few basics you should know that may help you increase your odds of getting a response and if nothing else, at least help you manage your expectations.

  • This may seem incredibly obvious, but when you apply to a LinkedIn posting, attach your resume. You’d be surprised by the number of people who don’t include their resume with their online response. If I don’t see a resume attached to a LinkedIn posting, I don’t give that application a second look.
  • Have a good head and shoulders, professional photo on your LinkedIn profile. Even if you apply to a job board other than LinkedIn, whoever is giving you a closer look is going to check out your LinkedIn profile. And all other things being equal, the headhunter or hiring authority is going to be more comfortable with potential candidates with a photo than they will be with mystery candidates.
  • If you’re applying for a position far outside your particular industry (i.e. a food service CFO applying to a Tier 2 auto part manufacturer), the odds of you being called in for an interview drop quite a bit.
  • Don’t assume that because you know the headhunter posting the job that he or she is going to call you on that particular position. As much as the recruiter may like you, they have to be professionally ruthless about who goes on their short list. If you’re not a great fit, you’re not going to get a call.
  • If a position had been posted by a headhunter, the responses they get from the job board will be only a small part of the number of potential candidates they’re actually looking at. A good headhunter does just that: they headhunt. In the course of any CFO search, my team and I will look at and reach out to up to 200 profiles outside of the posting response. So unless your resume is dead solid perfect, you’re not going to be a candidate for that particular job.

The bad news about online job postings is that generally speaking, the odds of you finding your next job through one are relatively small. The good news is those online jobs postings only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of CFO and VP Finance positions actually available. If you’re willing to be pro-active and think (and act) outside the box in your job hunting campaign, you’ll have a have a decent shot at being considered for some of these non-posted positions. For detailed advice on how to access this hidden job market, you can download our free e-book, The CFO’s Guide to the Hidden Job Market here:

If you think you may be in the market for top financial talent in the next few months, call me direct or email me, for a no obligation consultation.

(416) 567-7782

Comments (0)

Related Articles