A resume client asked me yesterday what my thoughts were on the effectiveness of using job boards to secure a new position. This is not really something that the job boards themselves are eager to advertise. First off, if the results are negative, there goes their business model. And, even if they could report successes, it would involve contacting all the companies who advertise on their sites and finding out if their jobs were filled directly because of placing an ad on their board. Could it be done? Sure. But, that’s a big money-splurging project that could lead to nothin’ but bad publicity.
LinkedIn does have a poll up that asks “What site did you use to find your last job?” This is helpful but it doesn’t quite answer the question. Over 4,300 participants answered the poll. But, the results fail to tell us if respondents actually secured their most recent jobs SPECIFICALLY from using a job board. It merely tells us that respondents used (or didn’t use) job boards while conducting their search. According to LinkedIn, 67% of respondents to the poll did not use a job board at all while conducting their last search. 18% used a mass reach board (i.e., Monster); 4% used a niche site (i.e., Dice); 6% used a social networking site (ala LinkedIn/Facebook) and 2% used a vertical search site (simply hired). (By the way, I don’t really understand the difference between a niche and vertical site but, hey, I’ve been known to be obtuse).
I was really quite surprised to see that nearly seven out of 10 job seekers who responded to LinkedIn’s poll did not use any job board at all. It’s one thing to choose not to post your resume on job boards for the entire universe to see, but to not peruse it yourself for jobs seems odd.
Back to the question at hand. Job Boards should be one tool in your arsenal when searching for a new position. I don’t really see the value in posting your resume on a job board and waiting to see if you get any bites. It’s just too passive. Why should any of us think that if we post it, the job offers will come? Save that for the movies. In reality, if you want to get a job, you need to be proactive about it.
I actually think that niche/vertical boards are the way to go, when it comes to job boards. If you’re an Editor, I’d be all over MediaBistro.com. If you’re a tech person, you should use Dice.com. If you’re in digital media sales, use iMedia. And, you know what? I WOULD post my resume on niche sites (vs. mass ones). You are pretty much guaranteed to have the right audience in front of you. On Monster.com, Career Builder and the likes, I’ve heard that people who post resumes get all kinds of strange solicitations and irrelevant responses. I’ve had clients tell me that digging through all the crap you get from posting a resume on Moster.com makes it more work than it’s worth.
Search the job boards regularly. If you see a posting that you are interested in, go to the company’s Web site and apply directly to the company itself. One less step. One less chance for your resume to get lost in a mix. Better yet! See if you can network your way into the company by finding a former co-worker, acquaintance or friend who works there. It might be a long shot but it’s a fantastic way to move forward and not get lost in the crowd.
In the end, I told my client, “if you want to post your resume on job boards, go ahead — as long as you have little, or no, expectations and you don’t rely on this as your primary strategy.” But don’t hold your breath in thinking anything will come out of it. The best way to use the job boards is to be proactive and search for relevant positions that are being advertised. Again, this could help but it’s not the end all. The key to getting a job? Networking. Period.