Montreal executive Maged Elhami: use networking for your next gig

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When searching for a new job, whether you are a full-timer or a freelance worker taking advantage of the gig economy, there are many ways you can go about it. 

In 2021, it’s almost a given that computers will be involved. So it’s no surprise that many people choose to use websites such as Indeed.com, CareerBuilder and Monster to apply for jobs online. 

You no longer have to leave the comfort of your home to find a job. Your data is likely saved, so unless the application is particularly lengthy or won’t let you autofill, an online application that might have taken 30 minutes to complete can now be done in minutes. In the case of the “Easy Apply” button, the time spent can even be less than one minute.

But is that the best way to go about your job search? 

Montreal business owner and entrepreneur Maged Elhami doesn’t think so, and here’s why.

Humans Often Don’t See Online Job Apps

Technology advances at an incredibly fast pace these days. 

“Today’s job-hunting journey is best traveled by networking,” Maged Elhami said. “Networking can be done online. But what you want to avoid with the endless online applications are the traps of the applicant tracking systems, or ATS. If you can avoid them, you’ll get your resume in front of a human person.” 

These software programs automatically scan the dozens or even hundreds of applications that may roll in for a single open position online. 

Because ATS instantly weeds out all the resumes, cover letters and applications that don’t contain specific words and phrases the company wants to see in candidates for the position, recruiters often never see your application.

ATS filters out soft and hard skills, software programs, location information — virtually anything could knock your hardworking application into the dust bin in less than the time it took you to apply.

Recruiters Spend Less than 10 Seconds Reading Your App

Recruiters are very busy people. They usually have quotas to meet in terms of matching candidates with open positions. Unsurprisingly, they spend an average of 7.4 seconds reading the resume you probably spent hours perfecting before you hit “Easy Apply” and sent it worming its way through the hive of the internet, hoping the right person will notice and reach out to you with a job offer.

Elhami did not build his business that way, and he prefers not to hire employees that way. 

He explained why.

“It’s not that I never do it, but I would much prefer a personal recommendation from a trusted colleague when it comes to who I am about to trust to perform key functions of my business,” he said.

Go the Human Route and Use Your Personal Network

Maged Elhami has worked hard to build his own professional network because he knows a company’s most important asset is human capital: the employees, not the computers.

“The most important resource I have as an entrepreneur is my employees,” he said.

If you spend hours applying to countless jobs online, chances are you’ll get responses. But using that method may leave you scratching your head when someone finally responds. You may wonder, “Which company/job was this for?” or “Am I sure I even applied to this?” 

Worse still, you might catch the attention of scam and phishing artists, unscrupulous individuals who prey on people diligently looking for a job for purposes such as laundering money — a common phishing scam in the job-hunting niche. 

These problems are far less likely if you take the time to reach out, either online through legitimate networking sites such as LinkedIn, or in person at seminars or other functions. If you network rather than apply online, you are more likely to remember personal impressions, the details about the job you could obtain, and the company where you’ll be spending your time in the near future.

“People tend to view social media invites with caution, and cold telephone calls get screened. A private email is the best way to get through to someone, but how can we do this without appearing spammy?” asked Jason Lavis of Out of the Box Innovations. “Here’s one thing that you can do: Visit the LinkedIn profiles of people who you would like to be connected to and see which contacts you have in common. Then when you next email your immediate connection, add a PS that you’d like to be introduced. Your connection will instinctively know whether this is a good idea or not, and might even praise you during the intro.”

By combining the popular hiring method of using online platforms with real-world networking, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.