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Enhance the odds of landing a job posted on a job site

Most companies list current job openings on their websites.

Popular job portals & search engines like Indeed, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, Dice, and Naukri are another rich source to locate job vacancies. There are also those which specialize in industry specific or niche roles (like for IT services go to market roles).

60% - 85% of hiring applications are received through web listings and 20% - 45% of job offers are made to those applying online (1). This includes those who may have been referred and then submitted an application online.

Companies which are job magnets (e.g., Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook) may attract sufficient candidates through postings on their own websites. The lesser-known companies may not and are more dependent on the public job portals to reach out to potential candidates

If you are seeking employment with the “happening” companies, look first for job postings on their website. For others, look at their websites and also for their job postings on the public portals.

Where to use job sites

Job and web sites are a very good source to identify most individual contributor and early supervisory roles where the required skills and experiences can be clearly defined with a few and explicit keywords. For example:

  • Python / Java / coding

  • AWS architect, certified

  • Basel II compliance lead

  • Fast food front desk work

  • Construction foreman, residential, licensed

Positions where required skills are harder to capture in a set of easily measurable keywords are less likely to be found on job sites. These could be positions where qualitative experiences and soft skills like mentoring, networking, and consensus building are very important. Also, those supervisory or leadership roles which organizations may not want to broadcast to wide audiences for reasons of confidentiality or organization sensitivity.

For these positions, Internal referrals and search firms are the more likely recruitment channel. (You might want to read Which recruitment channel will work best for your job search)

Applying through leading job portals or websites of very popular companies

Leading job portals and visible company job sites attract a high volume of applicants

Given these high volumes, the first level of screening and shortlisting is very likely being done by an application tracking system with a screening / keyword matching tool. In a 2018 study by Jobscan (2), over 98% of the Fortune 500 companies had adopted an application tracking system to track and filter applications.

If you see yourself as a good fit for a role advertised on a leading public or company jobsite, carefully read up the job description and the attributes / experiences required for the job.

The screening tool will look for these attributes / experiences and shortlist those applicants whose application / resume has mention of most if not all the required ones.

Ensure that the whichever skills / experiences you possess relevant to the job description are clearly mentioned in your application or resume being submitted through the job site.

Applying through lower volume public or company job sites

As lower cost SaaS ATS tools are becoming more available, even smaller companies and those with a lesser volume of job postings are able to access and use automated tools.

If a tool is not being used, a recruiter will screen screening and shortlist applicants.

In both cases, they are working to match the skills / experiences mentioned in the job description to those in an application or resume. While some seasoned recruiters may later look more wholistically at the skills and work experience of shortlisted candidates, the matching of the requisite skills to those mentioned in the job description is the first filter.

Relevant experience / expertise should also show under the actual jobs

Having a section in the resume with multiple “Key Skills” mentioned is one way to present the relevant skills required for a job.

The better screening tools will also look for corroboration of the required skills in the “Professional Experience” part of the resume. Did you actually do work using the skills which have been mentioned in the “Key Skills” section?

If not the tool, a recruiter who gets the resumes of shortlisted candidates will look for it.

While putting keywords in a “Key skills” section might get past a first level tool screening, supporting experience or accomplishments using the same skills in the professional chronology is essential to be shortlisted for a conversation and serious consideration.

It does not stop with the application. Networking can boost your odds

Having applied for a role through a job site, look for an opportunity to network with the recruiter who has posted the job, the hiring manager (if possible), or with someone who can act as a referral for you from within the company.

If you do manage contact with the recruiter or hiring manager, use it as an opportunity to get insight into the role, convey interest in the job, and to present relevant credentials.

Finding a contact from within the company, or in the network of the hiring manager or recruiter who knows you professionally and is willing to put in a referral can significantly boost the chances of getting recruited. (Studies cite a range that referral candidates have a 3 – 5 times higher chance of getting recruited compared to someone who just applied through a website).

The process of applying for a job through a web posting does not stop when you click “submit”. If it’s a job which you want, look for opportunities to network, and reach out to those who can share more insight into the role, give you an audience to communicate your interest, or put in a good word for you.

Once shortlisted, there is still work to be done

Your application for a job through a web portal or site has been shortlisted. Congratulations

The interviews get lined up now – with the recruiter, hiring manager and other stakeholders. Each has a different perspective on what they are looking for in potential candidates and that will drive the conversation.

The process is like a hurdle race – you need to cross one to get to the next one – hence prepare well for each discussion. You might want to read Understand the hiring cycle - and ace it

In closing

Job sites are a rich source for identifying and applying for jobs, especially those of individual contributors and early supervisory roles.

For senior roles which require skills harder to describe in easy to shortlist keywords or where confidentiality is important, employee referrals and search firms may be better avenues.

When seeking employment with the “happening” companies, look first for job postings on their website. For others, look at their websites and also for their job postings on public portals.

Be mindful that the applications are very likely to be parsed by an automation tool which will look for the key skills / experiences outlined in the job description.

Read the job description carefully and ensure that all the skills / experiences which you possess relevant to that job are mentioned both the summary & the work experience section of your resume.

Having applied, try reaching out to those who are in the hiring chain for the job. It reinforces your intent and interest. Any connect established is an opportunity to get more insight or an audience to present your case. And if there is someone in the hiring group, organization or network who can add a referral for you – it will significantly boost your chances.

Once shortlisted for discussions understand what each of the interviewers is likely to want to talk about. Do your homework. Preparation is critical. You are going to get one shot – make it count.

Happy hunting!


  1. Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report

  2. Jobscan - Report: 98% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS (


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