Are Job Listings Actually for Vacant Positions?

Are Job Listings Actually for Vacant Positions?


I talk a lot about career tips and how to get a job in PR on the blog (here, here, here and here) and on Twitter. As a result, I often get private messages or emails with follow-up questions.

I usually answer each question directly, but I thought it might be more beneficial to start posting my answers here, so that I can reference them should someone else have a similar query.

Here’s a question from an email I got last night:

“You wrote a piece that mentioned companies posting positions that have already been filled. What’s the best way to find out if they are currently looking to fill the position?”
The post in question is one in which I advise job hunters to stop arbitrarily sending out their resume.

I wrote:

Resumes are almost obsolete. Every one is qualified on paper. If you’re blindly sending out resumes to every job ad you see, you’re hustling backwards. Posted positions have already been filled, but must still be posted for legal reasons. I know this because a position at a PR firm was created for me and the job description had to be posted for a minimum of 5 days allowing other people to vie for the title.

This underscores the need for you to be out in the field building relationships with people at the companies you want to work for.

If you want to know if a position you’re interested in is actually vacant, you have to ask. There’s no software or magic device that lets you know when a job is filled.

However, it helps to have a relationship with executives at the companies where you want to work. It’s normal not to know anyone at a particular company, but that just means you have to leverage your current network and any available resources you have, such as Twitter and/or Linkedin to find the right executive and get on their radar.

In most cases, when you’re job hunting it’s more important for people to know you then it is for you to know them because most of the conversations about prospective candidates takes place behind closed doors. So if your name comes up in a meeting and no one knows who you are, it can decrease your chances of getting the job.

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