One of the reasons for this is that people are doing the online equivalent of getting newspaper ink all over their fingers by searching through the Help Wanted section. Whether that means typing your last job position in Monster's search box or asking on Facebook if anyone knows someone who's hiring, the problem with these searches is the same: they're not very focused.
It's the easy way out. I know I'm guilty of doing it. It's easier to type a sentence or keyword and wait to see what pops up than it is to search deeper for what you want and the companies where you'll fit best.
But if you're looking at job search engines, you're actually making things more difficult for yourself because when you're looking at those listings, hundreds or more likely thousands of people are doing the same thing. You've got a lot of competition.
It makes a lot more sense to narrow your search first. Your friends (or, more likely, friends of friends) may not think of a specific job opening if you say you're looking for something in the health care field. But if you have a particular job position, or, even better, a particular company you want to work for, it might trigger a thought such as, "Oh, that's right, my neighbor works for XYZ. I'll see if I can get my friend in touch with her."
Some recruiters prefer using LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media to find prospective hires. It makes sense--it's much faster to get a sense of who a candidate is by perusing their profile than by picking apart their resume. Some relevant numbers: 89 percent of US companies are now using social media to recruit. 73 percent of social media hires come from LinkedIn.
And networking doesn't just happen from profiles, either. Professional groups on LinkedIn or company pages on Facebook are great places to meet people, participate in discussions, and ask questions. This can be especially effective if you have a certain company or two in mind. When you're reading their blogs and making comments, when you're sharing your expertise about their company and their industry, when you're re-tweeting or re-posting relevant information, and when you're getting to know people who work there, it's easier for the company to see what type of job candidate you are, rather than approaching them via the dead-tree (resume) method.
Plus this can help you to get a feel for the company before you sign on the dotted new-hire line. If you're looking for family-friendly employment, you can search a company's website, social media profiles, and blog to see what kind of flexibility policies they have implemented. You could even email current employees to ask their opinions of the company.
It's great when you find a job, and it's even better when the job meets your needs. So before you go searching through online classifieds, decide what you're looking for and pick a few companies. They might not post a job opening on Monster, but if you're what they're looking for, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out they need you after all.