The commenters on this post (sorry, extremely old) were batting round the idea of an ideal response rate for job applications. How many jobs should you expect to apply to? How many of those would you expect a call back from?
I didn't get any of my jobs from a posted position on a
big aggregator like monster.com. I got my first environmental job, an internship, through one of my geology professors. When I was looking for full-time, permanent jobs, I did apply to posted jobs and even went on a couple of interviews. But I ended up getting a job through a recruiter because my company didn't want to go through the bother of sorting through a mountain of entry-level job applications.
Once I had a few years' experience, my job hunting was entirely via networking. Sure, I looked online, but I never found the right combination of job requirements. So either recruiters called me (with mixed results) or I asked trusted former colleagues if they knew of anything. I would send over my info, and if they liked what they saw and were reasonably optimistic about their organization's future, they would create a position.
That's not really ideal.Not everyone has an awesome network, and it's better to have a bigger pool of applicants than whoever happens to be in the know or trips over your website. I'm not sure how common it is though - maybe my corner of the environmental biz is really, really small.