For those with busy careers and hectic personal lives, finding a new job can feel like a job unto itself. Sometimes it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, which is a conundrum for those who really, really need a new job.
Until recently, there hasn’t been a way around it. Jobseekers who were serious about finding a new role needed to carve out the time to fill out application forms, write thoughtful cover letters, and build resumes for each opportunity. It could take hours each week, and it could mean looking for work on your days off, at night, or—gasp—during your actual workday.
Over the last few years, a somewhat controversial alternative has cropped up and gained popularity: outsourcing your job search. For a monthly or weekly fee, there are companies that will take your existing resume and cover letter and send it out to job ads it thinks might be a good fit for you. Some companies use human employees to cull through job posts, while other rely on computers to make matches for you based on keywords.
The results, according to users, are mixed. Since many of the companies who are performing these services are based in India, language difficulties can arise, leading to misguided applications. Similar problems arose with the applications generated by computer. The Wall Street Journal, for example, interviewed a gentleman who outsourced his search for a sales director position only to find that he had inadvertently applied to jobs as a hair stylist, a receptionist, and a fitness coach.
When weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing your job search, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
One of the pros for busy job seekers is the volume that outsourcing a job search can produce. Since these applications are either done automatically via computer or by a team, outsourcing your job search ensures that you will be applying to many jobs in a short period of time. In the case of the man profiled by The Wall Street Journal, the service he employed sent out 500 applications on his behalf over the course of five months, one of which he accepted. Another user reported being submitted for 711 jobs over the course of 10 days, which is far more than the average job seeker could accomplish.
However, one of the downsides of outsourcing your job search is part and parcel of the high volume of applications being sent out. Users report that outsourcing companies often apply them to jobs that are unrelated (sometimes wildly, as in the case of the man profiled in the Journal piece) to your professional goals.
Another con? While users do report finding jobs through outsourcing services, it’s not entirely hassle-free. Since applications are sent out without prior approval, jobseekers often must wade through calls and emails from recruiters about jobs that hold no interest to them. For some, this could counteract the time-saving benefit of not having to fill out your own applications.
For those who want to have more control over their job search, there are other alternatives. Using a recruitment agency—one in which you have a relationship with a recruiter or team of recruiters who have spoken to you to understand your professional goals, experience, and needs—is one option.
Another option, finally, is to bite the bullet and create a professional resume and cover letter and do the applications yourself. You’ll get less exposure, sure, but you’ll know that the jobs you are ultimately contacted about are ones that you’ve identified as being in your wheelhouse.