How many times have you applied to numerous jobs online, only to hear nothing back? Online applications are often frustrating and disheartening—and are also the least effective way to find a job.

For every job posted online, an employer will receive an average of 250 applications. Compare this to the 10 applicants they have to consider if they ask their current employees to refer suitable candidates, and you can easily see why organizations prefer to do their hiring offline.

But, I have to apply online!

For many organizations, this is true. Their HR department may have procedures requiring applicants to submit an application via the company website. If this is the case, there are steps you can take to increase the chances of your application making it through to the interview pile. 

For example, use your networking skills to make a contact in the target organization, so they can look out for your application. It’s also important to complete those annoying supplementary questions, rather than typing, “Please see my resumé.” Organizations often use the information from these questions—rather than your resumé—to filter out applicants, so make sure to complete them fully.   

Be a cold caller

Have you heard that 80 per cent of available jobs are never advertised?  This “hidden job market” needs to be accessed if you want to truly increase your chances of finding the job of your dreams.  

If there is an organization that you want to work for, but that doesn’t appear to currently be hiring, there is nothing to stop you from introducing yourself to the Hiring Manager. Send a polite, professional and concise email to let them know your skills and why you would be a good hire for their team. What is the worst that could happen?


Building, using and maintaining an effective network is the most important thing you can do to ensure a successful job search in today’s market. Networking doesn’t have to be schmoozing with a room full of suit-wearing professionals; there are alternatives for those who are intimidated by large networking events.

Volunteering is often seen as one of the best ways to land the job of your dreams. In addition to meeting new people (networking) and developing essential transferable skills, many new graduates find permanent employment after proving their worth as a volunteer. Remember, however, that you should only be doing unpaid work for a not-for-profit organization.

Informational Interviewing—also known as coffee and a chat—is another awesome way to build your network and do some valuable career research. Introduce yourself to someone who works in your dream company, role or industry. Buy them a coffee and have a 15-minute chat about their career and experience. You are not asking them to give you a job, but simply conducting career research and networking on a one-to-one basis.

We never said it would be easy…

Cold calling and networking might sound like hard work, but who ever said that a successful job search was easy? Career Services is here to help all Capilano University students and alumni with their job search strategies. A great place to start is the ‘Job Search Strategies: Going Beyond the Job Board’ workshop on Tuesday, February 16, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Library Building, room LB186. Learn how to craft a ‘cold calling’ email, where to find suitable candidates for an informational interview and what to ask during the conversation.   

The full Career Management workshop schedule can be found online. Students and alumni can drop in or register via the event at All Cap U students and alumni are welcome. Questions? Please email Career Services.

Submitted by Eilidh Sligo for Career Services