Q.  Are there any secrets to getting considered for elusive jobs online? Based on job specs, I seem fully qualified but I never hear back. Also is there a magic number of days that a job has been posted that I should simply avoid applying for? -JP

A.  Don’t waste your time with jobs that have been posted more than 30 days. Too many people see a job and wait too long before responding, Try to respond within first four days after a position first appears. Hiring managers usually start checking applications towards the end of the first week that a job has been posted so you want to be in that critical first round of candidates. Your prompt response shows interest, plus recruiters tell me that candidates applying within the first week or two almost always end up being selected.

Here are other online job search “secrets” that will differentiate you apart from other applicants:

Don’t apply to blind job ads. If they don’t reveal the hiring company, it very often is a come-on for a job you wouldn’t want.

Your LinkedIn profile is as important as your resume. Update your LinkedIn profile, starting with a professional-quality photo and prior position descriptions that show accomplishments and results, not simply a job description.

Use your own logical AI insights. Incorporate key words from the job posting that correspond with your job skills. This helps your resume survive the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) first round of screening that most organizations use these days for online hiring. Fewer than 25% of online applicants make it through the ATS. Key words matching job specifications significantly increases your chances.

Who do you know that knows someone? I encourage students to have 500+ LinkedIn connections before they graduate. Invariably, your next job will come through someone you know rather than an online application. In fact, surveys indicate 60% of jobs are found through networking. Find people who know someone at the hiring firm and ask them for insights on how best to stand out in the search. If they know you well, they likely will become your internal advocate for the position. Many agencies and corporations give bonuses to employees who recommend talent that is hired.

Keep your resume simple. Since most resumes are scanned, use Word rather than PDF, and forget about clever design elements. An attractively designed resume might appeal to human eyes, but it can trip up an ATS scanner.

Know the process takes time. The average length of time for a job search ranges between nine weeks and five months. That assumes you’re actively working towards landing a job.  The search length can be longer depending on your experience level and time devoted to the effort.

Don’t take it personally. Gone are the days of receiving thanks-but-no-thanks letters from prospective employers. Recruiters and human resources managers claim to be overwhelmed by the volume of applications so they seldom send courtesy letters once the search is completed and many don’t even acknowledge receipt of applications. Let me know if you’ve received a good response and we’ll try to make heroes out of those organizations that do.