Dubai, UAE

Applying for Jobs Online with No Success? Try Doing This Instead.

“I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs online and not got a single interview. I don’t know what else to do!” Sound familiar? Looking for a new job can be challenging. And when you’re applying for jobs online and getting no response, it can be particularly frustrating. Especially if you’re unemployed.

If you’re applying to jobs online and not getting any response, you must first objectively assess all the possible reasons why. These could be:

1)   Your CV is letting you down / not up to standard.

2)   The job adverts are fake (posted by recruiters to gauge the talent pool).

3)   You’re applying to jobs you’re not qualified for, or where you don’t meet the job requirements.

4)   You’re ignoring other requested parameters (e.g. must be located in the UAE) and applying anyway.

Points 3) and 4) are significant if you fully appreciate how job portals work. And how recruiters use them.

Job portals are designed to help recruiters and companies reduce the amount of time spent on reviewing CVs. They work on a filtering system.

Recruiters can work on between 20 – 40 jobs at any time. With 50 – 1000 applications per job (higher numbers for MNCs and from what I’ve seen UAE-based companies) that’s potentially 20,000 CVs to review.

To reduce this, recruitment consultants set a list of “MUST HAVES” on the system to filter out the least relevant CVs. Reducing the 1000 CVs to e.g. 20.

Examples could be, MUST:

• Be located in the UAE.

• Speak English AND Arabic.

• Have MNC experience.

• Have specific industry experience or qualifications.

If you do not match those “MUST HAVES”, you will automatically be filtered out. The recruitment consultant won’t even receive your CV.

Many big companies, who also expect large numbers of applications, often apply similar rules when advertising jobs online. Small or medium-sized companies, or companies predicting significantly fewer applications, may or may not use a similar filtering system. Instead, they might look through the CVs manually.

LinkedIn job adverts work on a similar premise. And from what I’ve heard (albeit from a recruiter, not LinkedIn itself) only the first 100 “matched” CVs are sent to the company. So if you’re not in that first 100 – you’re out of the game.

So, if you’re thinking, “Well, I match most of the requirements. I’ll send my CV anyway”. Be warned – you might not get through the filtering system. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a response.

One piece of advice if you’re looking for jobs online.

Take note of who is advertising the job (e.g. is it a recruitment agency, MNC or SME?). Then look to see what (if anything) has been listed as a “MUST HAVE”. From this, you might be able to gauge if your CV will get through the filtering system. It doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t apply for the job. It just means applying through the job portal might not be the best way.

If you’ve had zero success applying for jobs online, then it’s probably time to redesign and implement a new job search strategy.

Here are some other ways of finding the job you want:

1)    Use job portals as a source of information

Job portals tell you which companies are hiring and the positions available. (And if they’re hiring – this might indicate they have a hiring budget and could possibly create a position for you. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get, right?)

Use Google and LinkedIn to identify the hiring/department managers, recruiters and HR managers. Then explore ways to get your profile/name/face in front of them. You might call the company and ask for a phone number or email address. Or guess their email from their website (e.g.

2)    Be creative in your approach. Instead of emailing your CV:

a)    Send examples of what you can do. PowerPoint presentations, mockups, articles, financial models, system designs etc.

b)    Redesign their website, app or logo or a revision of something they’ve created or built.

c)    Create a really unique CV. The famous GQ CV is a great example.

d)    Record a video CV – post it on social media, email it to employers etc.

e)    Send your application/CV/work samples by post. An envelope is more likely to get opened than an email!

3)    Increase your online presence

a)    Make use of all of the social media platforms to build your personal brand and online presence. Create profiles across each one – making sure your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is clear on all. Your UVP is your unique combination of skills, experiences, accomplishments, behavioural competencies and attitudes you’re bringing to the table. Essentially the value you can add.

b)    Build your own website or blog showcasing your portfolio, industry insights, knowledge and expertise, or personal/professional story. Or your video CV! Then send the relevant links to potential employers.

c)    Post useful, informative and provocative written and video content – particularly on LinkedIn – and be seen as an expert in your field.

4)    Build your online network

Spamming your LinkedIn connections with your CV, or asking them for a job when you’ve just connected is not building your online network! Instead build relationships by:

a)    Offering help or advice.

b)    Showing a genuine interest in who they are and what they do.

c)    Commenting on their content, work or something you’ve read about them.

d)    Sharing valuable, interesting, RELEVANT information and articles.

e)    Offering solutions to problems they might be facing (industry or profession related).

f)    Send them business leads or job openings they might be interested in.

g)   Ask to interview them for a podcast or blog.

h)    Read their profile BEFORE you ask for a job and make sure you’re RELEVANT to what they do.

i)     Become a source of information, advice, ideas etc.

j)     Act as a connector and introduce them to relevant people.

k)    Get involved in discussions on company social media pages.

5)    Grow your Offline network

Get out there and meet as many people as you can. You never know whom they might know. Attend relevant events, conferences, exhibitions, meetup groups, workshops etc. Start networking groups of your own.

Instead of spending 8 hours a day behind your laptop, invest that time in meeting people. It can take time to build your network. But remember – if you’re not matching the job requirements on job adverts – you might be considered a “risky hire”. The only way anyone will take that risk is if a) they know you b) have met you and seen your potential or c) you’ve been recommended by someone they trust. So investing time in networking is essential if online applications aren’t working for you.

That’s all from me folks. Hope this helps!

Your coach,


How have you got your jobs in the past? What advice would you give to jobseekers not getting any response applying for jobs online? Feel free to comment below!

Is your current job search strategy not working for you? Want to find a job but don’t know where to start? Want to figure out what next steps to take in your career? Find out how I can help by emailing me at or visiting

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About the Author

Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.

For further information and inspiration, please visit or follow on Twitter @zetayarwoodLinkedin or Facebook

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