Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Does Your Job Application Take Light Years to Arrive?

I was a very poor student of science in high school. Thank goodness my wife has a university degree in biology; it is her task to work with our kids in these subjects. However, there is one thing that I remember from my classes in school, and I was just able to confirm it with a quick Google search: The time it takes the light from a star to arrive to earth is measured in light years, and the minimum (closest star to us other than the sun) in light years is more than four years. This means that the light that you see from the stars each evening is at least four years old, and in many cases thousands of times more than that. Stars that you see in the sky can in fact have died many years before their light reaches the earth.

So, what does this have to do with job applications? Depending upon how you are seeking job opportunities, you might be surprised to know that jobs can be filled before you even knew they were available.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:
  • On jobs internet websites, I have heard numerous times from employers that after an initial short period (sometimes 1-2 days) after their job is published, they receive a large number of responses and simply stop checking new applications.
  • Employers work with placement companies in a variety of ways. Some employers inform the placement companies at the same time that the job becomes available, while others try to fill the position on their own and transfer it to recruitment companies only when the job is proving difficult to fill. In the second case, this can mean that when you as a job seeker see the job advertised by a recruiter, it can have been on the market for some time already with a stream of candidates already in process.
What conclusions can we draw from this?

The faster you get your application in, the better your chances are to get considered for the position. Do not put off applying for jobs that are suitable for you!

Do what you can to hear about jobs as quickly as possible. If you are using Internet based sites, check then once a day. For companies that you are targeting, visit their website jobs page regularly.

Most importantly, get access to the jobs before they are publicly available, to reduce the competition. And how is it possible to do this – by networking! Not only are many jobs not publicly advertised ever, but even those that are sometimes only see the light of day after the company has engaged in more discreet methods of recruiting. For those interested in reading more about networking, you are welcome to visit the archive page of my blog, where there are a number of articles on this critical subject.

Happy job hunting, and try not to get burned by those falling stars.


  1. Thanks for the article, Ron. It seems to me that once you see a job advertisement for a post requiring very general skills, it is already too late... There are simply too many people out there at the moment competing for these type of jobs. Networking is key.

  2. Hi Ron,
    Great post, nice to see you have a blog, I will start following it on regular basis.

    Warm regards