Using Online Job Boards – Best Practices for the Job Seeker

30 Mar

Every day, it seems like another job board is born. Regardless of whether you flock to a local employment web site or one of the “biggies,” like Monster or Career Builder, there is one thing they all have in common; they protect the identity of the hiring managers and decision makers you are applying to.

Initially, this may seem like no big deal. Why does it matter who you submit your resume to, right? Today, I want to show you why it matters exactly how you use a job board, and discuss the best practices you can implement today, to make your entire job search process fine tuned.

Job Board Best Practices

1. It’s a good source of leads.
Employers spend a lot of money to post their positions on these employment websites. Visit them regularly, and search for your next position, by keyword and location. Sift through the results to determine whether or not you want to submit your resume and cover letter. Do your research about the company, prior to actually applying.

2. Get new job postings emailed to you daily or weekly.
The goal here is to automate this task as much as possible. Go to your favorite employment board, and search for your target position. On this web page, there will be an option to have your search results delivered via email, or RSS feed. Depending on your personal preferences, choose either the email or the RSS feed option. Now you’ll have fresh job leads that match your specified search criteria.

3. Consider using an aggregator.
What am I talking about? An aggregator compiles the entries from all of the major job boards, and places them on one website. The best example, and my personal favorite aggregator is Indeed.com. Why bother using Monster, Career Builder, and all the others, when you can go to Indeed, perform a search, and have ALL results either emailed or sent via the RSS feed we discussed earlier. Now that’s automation!

4. Avoid posting your resume on any major employment site.
Employers are moving away from paying to access the job board resume databases, because they can find quality candidates using the social networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc. If you want to connect with the right hiring managers and recruiters who still access job boards, consider going with the board that specializes in your niche. Of course, if you’re currently working, you can seriously jeopardize your employment status by posting your resume on any job board, because your boss might be the one to find it. When in doubt – expect to target your employers; not the other way around.

5. Your first choice should always be to apply directly through an employer’s website.
If you’ve ever applied for a job on any of the major job boards, you know there is usually no contact information provided. There may be some background information about the company, but not nearly enough to determine you want to build a career with this employer. Once you have determined what organization is hiring, immediately go to the corporate website. Find out as much as you can about the position, and the stability of the employer. When you apply through a job board, this is one additional layer your resume and contact information must go through, before reaching the desk of the decision maker. What if there’s a technical failure? What if the job board’s server is down for the short period of time when you’re uploading your information? I recommend going straight to the source, and applying directly through the hiring organization’s website.

No matter how you slice it, the social networks are slowly taking the place of the job boards – just like the job boards took the place of the traditional classified advertising. While it’s still important to utilize employment and career websites as a source of leads, they become less important in actually connecting with the decision makers.


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