Allison Cheston, Career Connector


Career Connector Blog

Stop Applying to Jobs Online and Other Career Advice


I love to get good questions from readers and share my answers in a post. Here’s one that addresses a few important issues:

Hi Allison,

I just read one of your articles on Forbes about how to job search on LinkedIn. I’m a twenty-something currently looking for an entry level job in NYC in the TV business.

I’ve had three interviews in 4 weeks but no offers. Responding to job ads feels like sending my cover letter/resume into a black hole (and it’s depressing). Recently, I’ve had the idea of making a 3 minute, entertaining “video resume” and sending it via email to companies I’d like to work for (and possibly HR people on LinkedIn who hire for said companies). Do you think this would be a good way to get some positive attention in a field renowned for intense competition?

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated, thank you.


Here’s my advice to Adrienne, which applies to job-seekers in all industries:

Stop Applying to Online Job Ads

If there is something you’re doing that feels depressing, you should stop doing it—and this applies in particular to online job listings. Listings put all of the power in the employer’s hands since there is no feedback mechanism for the candidate. Applying online will make you feel insecure and leave you wondering what you’re doing wrong. There is an extremely low response rate to these ads, because unless you meet every single criterion listed, it is unlikely that a human being will have in fact seen your resume.

If you do see a job of interest, try networking your way to someone at the company who can represent you there. LinkedIn makes this easy to do, but you can also send a note to a key contact list asking if anyone knows someone at the company.

Interview More than Once

Adrienne has had “three interviews in four weeks”; in my book, that’s a good rate of return. To provide more guidance I would need to know how many of those interviews were at one company. When you’re starting out, one interview may be considered enough for the employer to make a decision. But I would suggest you try to make a return visit to meet with others and judge the place with a more critical eye, when you’re not feeling as worried about being selected. Don’t forget: the hiring manager is deciding on you but you have equal power in the equation.

Create a Video Resume

If you are interested in a role in sales, PR or entertainment, promoting yourself through video is a great idea. There are a number of companies facilitating video resumes now, including Innovate CV.

Instead of sending a video resume to HR, I suggest finding the right hiring manager and sending h/er a note with your video resume. The HR department is not focused on finding candidates the right role; it’s focused on helping its managers fill their positions. So your video resume may be ignored in HR, even when a hiring manager might find it of interest.

Keep your questions coming!