Quit wasting your time on the traditional job boards. The monstrously big career building boards. If that’s where you’re spending a lot of your job search, thinking that’s where you’re going to find your next job, you’re putting a lot of time and effort into a source with a very low rate of return. If a job search were marketing, using the job boards is about as effective as selling to teenagers through newspaper classifieds.
Several years ago, I tried running my job search through these big boards, and had the worst luck ever.
If you don’t count all the calls I got from duck-quacking insurance companies and strip mall finance companies who thought I “had what it takes to be successful,” I never got a call from a single employer doing a résumé search. And there were plenty of jobs that were always posted, always open, and never filled in months. I finally concluded that these boards were a complete waste of time and server space, and I focused my job searching on other places instead.
In addition to tried and true networking, which landed me my last two jobs, these are three of my favorite job search destinations:
Corporate job boards:
Forget finding the big corporations and medium-sized companies on those big boards. While you may find some of them there, most companies just have their own internal boards and candidate software. Pick the companies you want to work for, check out their job boards, and apply. Many of them even have RSS feeds so you can run them through your RSS reader, and save yourself the need to go back every day to see if anything new has popped up.
But before you go running willy-nilly through the corporate job boards, make a few connections at the company first. Visit LinkedIn and see who you can connect with at your chose corporations, especially if you can connect with your possible hiring manager. Join their industry groups and connect there, or ask friends to make the connection for you.
Once you make these connections, start providing value to them. Refer interesting news articles to them. Write blog posts about their big industry issues. Answer questions they have in the LinkedIn groups. Do this for several weeks. Then, once you see a job open up on the corporate board, ask them about it, and ask if they would like to see a copy of your résumé.
LinkedIn has a pretty good job search function as well, so use it.
I have a few friends, including the founder of my company, who work at a non-profit member organization that posts jobs on the .jobs boards. Basically, their members are recruiters for large companies, and they use .jobs and this organization as a way to post their jobs, thus avoiding the big job boards.
Just type in an industry or niche plus .jobs, and see what you can find. Marketing.jobs, sales.jobs, finance.jobs, and so on. And because these jobs are only posted by member organizations — and they don’t let just anybody join — you can be sure that these are not spammy recruiting jobs, where they want you to sell insurance or financial services to your friends and family
Those are the strategies that Kyle Lacy (@kyleplacy) and I recommend to clients and readers of our book, Branding Yourself. Avoid the big boards, and focus on where the real recruiting is taking place. Be selective about where you search, and you’ll improve your chances, and avoid wasting a lot of unproductive time.
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, which he wrote with Jason Falls, is in bookstores and on Amazon now.