Often, potential employers will post jobs on Workopolis, Careerbuilder, Monster, Craigslist, Kijiji, and other job boards/sites anonymously.  Even if the job description looks perfect for your skill-set, this can pose several problems for an application.

Firstly, any job-seeking professional knows that the first thing you do before applying for a job is check out the company’s website.

Not only to arm yourself with valuable information for your application and hopefully interview, but also to decide: Is this a company that you even want to work for?  Are they a big player or a one man band?  Are they ethical and financially stable?  Are they a good fit with your career path?

The second problem that anonymous job postings present occurs when it comes to the all-important cover letter and resume preparation.

It is of course imperative, as a professional, to tailor your cover letter and resume to the company and the specific role.  But if you don’t know the name of the company, how are you going to do this effectively?

If you knew what the company did, you could make a much stronger case as to why you’d be perfect for the job.

Not to mention highlighting and re-wording relevant aspects of your resume to ensure your potential employer can see that your experience is a great fit – especially if it’s an executive position. You certainly wouldn’t call on the resume writing experts to work their magic for an anonymous position.

The solution is, don’t waste your time with a killer cover letter and tailored resume.  Get their interest piqued and find out who the company is, before you let them see more about who you are.

Simply send your cover letter as the body of an email.  Explain that you are conducting a confidential job search, that you’re incredibly interested in the role, and that after reading the job description you are sure it’s a position that you are a good fit for.

Then outline that if they’re interested in connecting with you, they can call or reply with details about their company and you would love to send them your resume.  Even include a link to your LinkedIn profile, but do not include your resume.

Provide them with an incentive to call you.  There’s nothing wrong with saying “If you’re confidential, then so am I.”  Leave the ball in their court – if they’re genuine and are in a position to hire, they will have no problem disclosing more information at this stage.

Get wise to anonymous postings.

The company you are applying to could have a legitimate reason for posting a position anonymously – many do.

They may not want internal applicants.  They may be about to re-shuffle or lay off current employees and don’t want the job-holder to get wind of upcoming changes.  The position may be funded off the back of a confidential contract they’ve just won.

For every legitimate anonymous job posting, however, there’s one waiting to lead you up the proverbial garden path.  Often (perhaps unprincipled) job agencies will post fictitious job roles to hook you in as a candidate, perhaps even try to charge you a fee for finding you a genuine position.

That’s the nature of job-hunting though – and if you haven’t put a huge amount of energy into your application, by replying as a confidential applicant, you can happily chalk it down to playing the game.

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