Using Job Boards
Millions of people hit job boards every day. The most common comment I hear about job boards is “they are useless.” In my humble opinion, that may be a little harsh. Realize that most job boards are focused on employers, advertisers and recruiters and you, the job seeker, are unfortunately No. 4 on their priority list. Not all is lost however. Here are a few tips and tricks on making these job boards work for you.
First, focus. Focus is a tip for many aspects of a job search and applies to using job boards. What this means is that we find and use job boards that apply to our industry or areas of interest. Here’s a list of Top 100 job search websites and categories. While this is a good starting point, hit Google and look for “<your industry> jobs” – you will find some new job boards.
Build. One reason to use a job board is not necessarily to find a specific role, but to target a company. When you know your target companies, you can build and work your network for your targets. I have seen many job seekers who spend time on job boards and work hard applying for jobs listed, only to get nothing, but land at the company when something else opens up, or a position is made for their unique skill sets. So, rather than spending 20 minutes finding two jobs and applying, spend 20 minutes finding 10 companies – figure out Who’s hiring and have fun.
Location, Location, Location. Many people try to get very specific with a location. If you have a large company as a target, then don’t constrain yourself with a specific location. You may find a role in a different location where you qualify. The helpful piece of information is the company that’s hiring: Build your network with people from that company; perhaps a similar role can open up in your desired location. They key is to see the universe of opportunity, then build your network and knowledge base around that universe. Eventually the planet/state/city may fall into place.
Read the fine print! Much like Google search results, many job boards have paid advertising and paid listings. Some refer to these as “featured jobs” or other such names. More often than not, these jobs may not be for you, but, there’s an important fact: The hiring company has paid a little extra to feature this job. Why? Are they having trouble filling this job? Does this company take hiring more seriously? While the opening may not apply to you, the company may be a good one to target.
Reason for Posting the Job. A few years ago, at a team dinner, our internal recruiter was discussing a few openings within some other teams. His request to us: “Get me some candidates; I will post it on <unnamed job board> for compliance.” What does that mean? Companies want to show that the job was open to the public and a job board is the least expensive way to do that. Will they actually even look at the candidates? Don’t count on it. If the opening was on their public website, will they even look at the applications? Don’t count on it. If you find someone on the inside and get referred in, you have a much better shot.
Job boards are not evil, but they don’t necessarily focus on helping job seekers. If you have other ways of using job boards successfully, please share them in a comment below.