It’s the dilemma faced by every job seeker: How to spend the precious hours of the day in away that will return the best results. If you’re unemployed, there’s no doubt that you should be spending the entire "work day" engaged in activities that will help move you forward and get you hired -if not spending even more than the standard eight hours on the effort.
See Also: Why Post Jobs on an Online Job Board
Still, exactly how you spend those hours can vary widely. One option is to troll the online job boards and to post your resume on the sites that seem worthy enough for someone interested in hiring to go through. But is all that time you spend creating an account, verifying it and then posting your resume really worth the effort?
If you’ve posted your resume to an online job board in the past, there’s a very good chance that all you got back was total silence, which left you wondering whether A. your resume was even received, and B. whether you’re ever going to hear anything back. So was it worth it? Should you keep posting that resume on online job boards, or should you be spending your time doing other job-hunting tasks?
The answer is not so cut and dried. To start, here are the pros and cons for using an online job board to help you get a job.
Pros to Online Job Boards
You can apply for a lot of jobs, fast
The real beauty of using an online job board is the sheer volume of jobs that are posted on them. When a company casts a wide net in order to find their ideal candidate, chances are they’re going to post their advertisement on a national or international job board. When you post your resume on a site like that, you’ll (theoretically) put yourself in the running for hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs that pertain to your industry -and in every corner of the world. If you think in terms of numbers, you’ll reach a lot of people in a very short amount of time by posting your resume to a few job boards.
You can post your resume and wait
In the quest to find a job, it’s nice to have a place where you can passively search for jobs. When you post your resume to an online job board, you’re making it possible for recruiters, human resource managers and other hiring managers to find you, without having to lift another finger to make it happen. Since the option to post your resume on job boards is out there, you might as well take advantage of it, right?
It gives you a sense of what’s out there
Perhaps the biggest advantage of online job boards is the fact that they help you figure out which companies are growing and hiring and what sort of jobs they’re hiring for. What’s more, it gives you a sense of the trends in the industry. Sometimes, you’ll even find that you’ve been searching for jobs under the wrong job title. If you’re a writer, for example, you’ll probably find many more viable jobs by searching for "copywriter" than you would by searching under the word "author."
Cons to Online Job Boards
There’s a lot of competition
The sheer number of jobs can seem like a positive thing -but it can also have its downside. Since the listings on online job boards are posted for people nationally and internationally to view, it means that every job has the potential to draw in applicants from a very wide area. With that in mind, a single job could get hundreds of applicants. Likewise, a recruiter or human resources manager might have to pore through hundreds of resumes a lot like yours when they’re searching a resume database. Unless you’re in a very, very niche field with a nuanced set of skills, chances are your resume is going to be one among many. According to the jobs research firm CareerXroads, just 15 percent of employers found their candidates on job boards as of 2013.
Your resume can get buried or expire
Not only can your resume get buried under a pile of other resumes that are similar to your own in the online database, but eventually, the system may simply boot your resume out. It may be a few months down the road, but eventually, the database may purge resumes that haven’t been updated or looked at in a while. When you submit your resume to an online job board, check the site’s policies to find out how often resumes are purged, or if they are at all.
You have to plug in the right words
Since you’re putting your resume into an online database, that database will be programmed to pick up on certain keywords in order to categorize the resumes and help them show up in search results. If your resume doesn’t have the right keywords that pertain to your industry, it’s not worth your effort to post it on that job board. This is where searching through open jobs on a particular board will come in handy. Look at the words employers use to describe certain jobs, and try to use similar words in your resume and any accompanying cover letter. Likewise, be sure to use the categories and the sub-categories to your full advantage. In other words, don’t skip over the section that asks you to group your resume and skills into a certain category. Without those essential keywords and categories, you’re wasting your time.
You may never hear a single response
Perhaps the most disheartening con of posting your resume online is that for a lot of job seekers, they’ll never hear anything back. You’ve spent the time optimizing your resume for keywords, and then posting it where you think it will get seen -so it can be really frustrating to not get any feedback at all. Just remember though that this is all part of casting your wide net, and it is just one way that you’re putting your best foot forward to land a job.
Making the Most of Job Boards
So now that you know the pros and cons of using a job board, here are some things to keep in mind, to help you make the most of them.
- Make your resume keyword searchable. Look at job postings and job descriptions on industry-related sites for help with keywords for your industry.
- Search for jobs using specific categories, as well as broad ones.
- Use job boards to find out about jobs, not necessarily to apply for them.
Where Else to Submit your Resume
As mentioned, job boards should be just one way that you go about searching for a job. According to CareerXRoads, referrals and in-company hires were among the most popular ways they found jobs, so your networking efforts will be paramount.
- Have your business card handy at all times, and pass it out to anyone who knows you’re looking for a job.
- Go to job fairs where you can meet employers and recruiters and put a face to a name.
- Contact recruiters to find out whether their services will be a good fit for you.
- Research companies in your field. Use the job boards to find out which companies are hiring, and then contact them directly after you’ve thoroughly researched their needs and how you might contribute to the organization. Look for the company leaders on LinkedIn, and try to contact them directly instead of applying only through that job board.
- Attend any and all networking events in your industry or your geographical area.
- Tap your personal network. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you’re looking for, and ask for their help.
Apply on a job board, but also try to apply through another channel. Often, a company will post a job on a job board, but will also post it on their own website or through social media channels. You’ll appear more interested and invested if you apply through the website or the more personal channel.
Searching for a job can feel like a monumental task, and if you’re only relying on job boards to do the work for you, you definitely need to be casting a wider net. What’s your experience with online job boards? Share with us in the comment section below.