I am a huge advocate of networking with new contacts and existing connections to land your next job.
Studies from CareerXRoads, JobVite and SHRM and others show networking to be the most effective way to get hired.
However, that does not mean a job seeker should ignore job boards in conducting their job search.
There is a right way – actually I’ve listed six right ways, and one wrong way to use job boards, below.
So let’s focus on the six right ways to use job boards:
(1) Take the opportunity to create your profile within the job board website, if this opportunity exists:
Having your profile set up (and I would set this to confidential when possible if you are currently working) allows recruiters to search for and find you to reach out to you for interviews.
Do not be the one who has to find opportunities all of the time – put yourself out there in a confidential manner to be found by hiring managers looking for people like you.
(2) Set Up Job Alerts:
Don’t spend hours droning over job listings looking for the right job to apply to. There is no bigger time suck than searching aimlessly and endlessly on job boards for the job that is right for you.
Instead, setup these pre-programmed alerts to have the jobs in which you are interested emailed to you. This will drastically reduce the time spent reading volumes of job postings every day – time that you can use to perform more active and personal job search activities – like making professional connections with previous and new contacts via email, phone and in person.
By defining specific search parameters in the job alert functions, you will receive email alerts when jobs that fit what you are looking for pop up on the respective job board.
(3) Introduce Yourself Directly:
Use information found in the job description to find a possible line manager (not HR). Do a search with the keywords of the department or other identifying factors in the job description using LinkedIn and Google. Find an email or phone contact info using internet research to reach out to the non-HR hiring manager directly.
(4) Find Someone Who Can Introduce You:
Network with a connection to be introduced to someone within the company to refer you into the target organization. No direct contact with a hiring manager? Aim to become an employee referral into the firm. Use LinkedIn to see who you know that may know people at your target company.
(5) Upload a Branded, Keyword Rich Resume and Be Found:
When you are going to apply for the job via a job posting, use a well-written resume that is keyword rich for the phrases and vernacular that is pertinent to the job/industry for which you are applying. This increases your chances of being found by corporate and search firm recruiters looking for people like you.
(6) Employ the “Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire” Approach:
So with this concept, if you see indirect hiring activity at a company, inquire how it may affect hiring in your direct area of expertise.
For example, If you are an accountant, and you see a company hiring a small army of sales professionals, make the deduction that the company may need to expand their accounting team soon to account for additional commissions, client revenues, related expenses and sales analysis for new business proposals.
Companies will appreciate this thought process from you as a candidate and it could help you discover unpublished job openings, as well.
The key is to stop using job boards the wrong way – which is to sit for hours searching for the right job and spending most of your job search time on job boards.