By Don Goodman
The first thing that most people do when searching for a position is to go to the job boards.
Although this was the best thing to do in the past, the job boards are not really the most effective way to find positions today.
Here we talk about some of the best practices to optimize the impact of job boards on your job search.
Job boards can be used in two ways. You can surf through the posted jobs, and see if there are positions that interest you. And you can post your resume on the job boards so employers can find you.
If you are just looking at postings, then use the job board aggregators which are sites that scrape the postings from other sites giving you a single place where you can see most of the listings in your field. Two of the most popular aggregators are Indeed and LinkUp.
For overseas positions, Indeed has jobs in 50 countries and 26 languages, and Jobsafari is a European aggregator that is available in 10 countries and 8 languages.
Also look at craigslist which is a great place to find local job postings, but generally not for high-level positions. (See Job-Hunt's free eBook, Using Craigslist to Find a Job for advice on safely using craigslist.)
If you are posting your resume and are employed, you need to consider what would happen if your employer sees that you are looking. If that is a problem, then make your name and/or company name confidential, so they won’t know that it is you. This is a common thing to do and will not hurt your prospects.
Take off your street address and change your email address to a generic one that does not give away your identity. Whether you are posting confidentially or not, note that you can indicate whether you are willing to relocate so putting your resume on the job boards does not necessarily open you up to jobs all over the country.
Monster and CareerBuilder are not the most effective boards as they generally have less than a 1% effectiveness rate. Employers are finding that they are getting far too many resumes, many of which are not good matches, at too high of a cost to use the top boards, so many of them are moving to the less expensive niche job boards.
For $100K+ positions you should also include some of the better executive job boards like ExecuNet.
Once you have found a position that interests you, most people will send their resume in through the job board. However, when you do that, you are at the mercy of junior HR screeners and/or software designed to filter you out based on keyword density.
Here are two key tricks for you to get the maximum benefit from job board postings, and in both, you do not send your resume over the Internet.
First, go to Linkedin.com and do a Company Search for the organization. Then, find the decision maker (not the HR people) in your desired area.
Now do one of two things:
1. Ask yourself "Who do I know who might know someone who might know someone who works there?"
Check your LinkedIn contacts and reach out saying, "I am interested in a position at XYZ. Do you know anyone there who can share some insights about the company?"
This is basic networking and is how you can get into that magic circle of people who have been recommended by insiders.
Since many employers have "employee referral programs" that reward employees for referring applicants who are hired and stay, you could help your network contact get paid for helping you - a win for each of you.
2. Call the decision maker and say something like: "A friend told me you might be interested in someone with my background. I offer (insert your 2-sentence pitch), and I have just a few questions for you."
Then, ask them questions that show you know about their company. Be personable and get into a conversation with them to build some rapport (remember that people hire people they like).
At some point they will ask you for your resume, and, when they do, your resume will go to the top of the decision maker’s pile. They will probably still want you to send the resume to human resources in order to comply with internal protocols, but you are now in the decision maker’s mind.
Using these tips can more than double the success rate of job boards in securing a position.
Don Goodman is a triple-certified nationally recognized career professional (Expert Resume Writer, Certified Career Coach, and Job Search Strategist) with over 20 years of experience helping thousands of people quickly land their next job. Don graduated from the Wharton School of Business and Stanford University’s Executive Program.