Getting the most out of Employment Websites /Job Boards

Employment websites

From small and humble beginnings in the mid-nineties, employment websites / job boards have now grown to become an integral part of the employment process and a key way, people look for a job.

Today, there are thousands of job boards and employment sites worldwide.  With off the shelf software and free job board technology readily available, you will find a job board available that will enable you to locate your perfect job – with every conceivable niche accommodated for, from location, profession, job type or sector.  Job boards regularly list tens of thousands of jobs each day and cover every target demographic from mature workers, part-time workers, teenagers, through to working mums.

With the majority of job seekers using job boards during their job search, the majority of employers and recruiters also use job boards / employment websites to advertise jobs, if they can’t find suitable candidates via their network, or headhunting.  In fact for many employers, this is the only medium they advertise in, because it is an economical channel to find and secure talent.

However, for all their popularity, job boards have massive limitations for the job seeker.  Job boards are inherently tools built for employers and recruiters, rather than serving the needs of job seekers.  This is driven by the fact that job board revenue is generated by employers and recruiters advertising – not specifically by job seekers.  The reality is that the majority of job seekers don’t get their jobs from job boards (although the marketing from branded job boards suggests this is not the case).

However, you can significantly increase your success rate with job boards, by understanding more about various types of employment websites / job boards and how to successfully apply for jobs online.

Generalist Job Boards

Generalist Job Boards, tend to be the largest branded job board sites that everybody knows about, such as SEEK in Australia and Monster in the US.  They cover almost every sector, location and job type.  The disadvantage of these job boards is that due to their success, millions of job seekers use these boards, so employers can get inundated with job applications.  For job seekers, this means it will be difficult to stand out from the rest of the crowd and the competition is really stiff.

Niche Job Boards

Niche Job Boards, are smaller than the Generalist Job Boards and they focus on just one sector, or niche (be in location, profession, job type or sector).  The advantage for the job seeker is that if you want to narrow your search to a geographical or particular type of job, then you can readily locate a suitable job.  They also tend to attract job seekers within that location, or profession, so employers are not inundated with unsuitable applicants (hence a higher chance that your application will not get overlooked).

Job Search Directories/Aggregators

Job Search Directors (or aggregators) are like search engines, and simply redirect jobseekers traffic to various job boards that are advertising the jobs.  The advantage is that you can successfully search across a variety of boards for jobs.  The disadvantage is that like search engines, your search result, might not always bring up what you are looking for, so they can be really frustrating to use.  One such aggregator who has stood the test of time is Indeed.

You can find Indeed at www.indeed.com.  Simply register and receive alerts.

In fact if you have registered for alerts from other job boards, I actually suggest you deregister and just use Indeed, as you will receive alerts from across all the job boards.  This will help you streamline your job search and save you a ton of time.

Free Job Boards/Resume Posting Job Boards

There are hundreds of free classified sites, with many having job listings as long as the commercial job boards.  Like the generalist sites, as a job seeker, it will be difficult to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

There are also job boards that let you post your resume for free and these sites make their money, by letting employer search their resume database for suitable candidates.  However the disadvantage for job seekers is that your resume just goes into a large database, so you don’t stand out and your data is sold to parties in which you have no control over. You also need to realise that employers generally look at these large databases, as their last, not first option to fill a job.

Increasing your chances of success on employment websites / Job Boards

OK so now that you understand that job boards are not necessary your ticket to success, I’m sure the question you are asking is how do you increase your chances of success and how much time should you dedicate on the job boards.

In my opinion, I would commit about 20% of your time to job boards, because while it can be difficult to get a job, just by using a job boards, so many good jobs are published online.

To get the most out of job boards, I suggest the following:

  1.  Apply for jobs, as soon as they get posted, otherwise you run the risk applying for a job that is already filled.
  2. Only apply for jobs that you are qualified for.  Since employers are usually inundated with job applications online, then make sure that you are the sort of job candidate that the employer is seeking.  So for example, if the employer in the job advertisement is asking for a ‘mature’ applicant, this is simply a coded way of saying that this employer doesn’t want to employ anyone too young.  So if you are only 17, then it is unlikely you will be picked for the job, even if you are quite mature for a 17 year old.  If the job advertises for someone that has the ability to ‘lead a team’, then they are after a manger with prior experience in leading a team.  While you might feel that you are capable of leading people, unless you have this experience, it is unlikely you will be picked.  (I mean, who would you select if you were an employer?  Someone that has demonstrable experience and success in leading a team, or someone, that states they would like to have a go at leading a team?).
  3. Create a key word rich resume, so both computer readers and human readers, can determine that you have the relevant background for the job.  Include relevant key words, relating to job titles, skills and education and jargon and technical terms. For more detail on how to create a resume that passes muster with Application Tracking Systems, read our article Everything you need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems.
  4. Safeguard your privacy, when posting your resume online at job boards.  Don’t include information that could be detrimental to your privacy and the privacy of your referees.  Your referee won’t be too impressed if his or her home phone or private address is online for everyone to see.

AND remember, if you are only using job boards to find a job, you are dramatically limiting your prospects and job boards should only be one part of your job search strategy.

Other Resources you might find Useful

Find out why job boards like Seek and Monster are the WORST way to look for a job and the #1 Job Search Strategy that will triple your chances of success.  

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