If you only apply for jobs online directly through career websites, there is a high possibility that your resume would get lost in the shuffle. HR personnel usually get so many resumes in a day that they cannot keep track of all the resumes that they get.
Another reason why applying online does not work is that anyone with a resume and an internet connection can apply to any job. Therefore, in some cases, hundreds of candidates can apply to the same position although they are under qualified or sometimes overqualified for that job. Besides, if you apply to any position only to get a job for now, no one would like to call you for an interview. For example; you were working as a Senior Analyst until you got laid off and just to find work, you started applying for Analyst positions. Then, most probably employers don’t want to hire you because they know that you will switch to another company in a few months once you find a Senior Analyst position. Keep in mind that no one wants to replace employees every few months.
Most of the time recruiters prefer to give preference to referrals or to the people they met at career fairs or at networking events. By the time they get to the resumes submitted through career websites, most likely they have already identified and found a good number of potential candidates, so they don’t need to look carefully at website-generated resumes. For that reason, it is always better to find someone working for your target company to refer you to the HR personnel so that your resume can be picked up quickly. Then, if HR thinks you are a good fit for an open position, you would be invited for an interview. It is much faster to be called for an interview if you connect with other people. This is called networking.
Also, keep in mind that connecting with the hiring manager is much better than connecting with the HR personnel because hiring managers know what skills they want from an employee better than the HR personnel. If the position you are applying for is highly technical, the HR employee may not have the necessary background to identify you as a potential candidate for the position. For example, let’s assume you are a bioinformatics professional and you have applied for a very specific position related to bioinformatics. If the company’s HR employees have no information about bioinformatics, then it’s very hard for them to identify you as a good candidate for the position and they may overlook your resume and the skills you have. However, hiring managers know what skills they are looking for, so it’s easier for them to identify a good candidate to interview. It’s always better to connect with the person that you are going to work with in the future rather than with the HR personnel.