What do I mean by job boards? The big ones are Monster, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, and Indeed. Companies post job openings and requirements on there, with instructions for how to apply for that job.
What job seekers normally hear from me is, “Step away from the job board! Contact the hiring manager directly!” It is good advice. Jobs that are listed on the boards are seen by so many people that if you apply for them, you are one of many and it’s hard to stand out. Plus, the human resources people in charge of collecting the applications from those only choose the ones with perfect matches to their listed requirements. If your background is not letter-perfect, you won’t get chosen. The net result is that a lot of people spend a lot of time filling out online applications from job boards and never hear anything back at all. purpose not a job
Even with that said, I can never say never. I don’t think it’s a good idea to cut off any avenue in your search. But I do want you to realize that job boards probably aren’t going to be as productive as other things you could be doing and budget your time accordingly. For instance, networking and contacting hiring managers directly are both better options than job boards and you should spend a bigger percentage of your time there. It’s an 80/20-Rule thing.
One way to help you save time with the boards is to set up filtered searches. For instance, click on Indeed’s “Advanced Search” button and you can narrow it down by title, company, salary range, and location. Only apply for the jobs you KNOW you’re a great fit for; anything else is a waste of your time for sure.
So what is a job board good for?
One of my favorite uses for job listings is as a rich source of keywords to use on your resume and LinkedIn profile. How are companies in your space describing the skills and accomplishments they want? Sometimes the very same skill has a few different terms that describe it. Use those terms to describe your own skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and that boosts your chances of showing up in a search for candidates.
One final thought: I don’t ever recommend posting your resume on a job board. Stick with creating a LinkedIn profile, and don’t upload your resume to that, either. Just hit the highlights to entice recruiters and hiring managers into contacting you to ask for your resume. That way, when you find out some details about the job they are interested in you for, you can tailor your resume for that opportunity so that it’s more effective.