Online Job Boards – 101

Newspaper-job-adsIn my Dad’s generation, the job search primarily involved newspaper job ads and paper resumes. If you were looking for a new job you might spread the Saturday or Sunday paper out on the kitchen table, then with a pencil and paper you would locate job postings that were viable and then write down the contact information about the jobs you were interested in. You would then either call the person listed in the ad or put your resume in an envelope and mail it to the address listed. This was the way to do a job hunt many years ago. Yes, newspapers still list jobs, as do some professional magazines and other print media. But a very large portion of the job search has transitioned from paper print to the Internet.

This migration to the Internet started in the mid-90s with Career.com, Monsterboard.com, and Netstart.com (aka CareerBuilder) launching their various ideas of job search systems. At that time it was a niche market.  The Wall Street Journal, back in April of 2000 indicated that the various job boards of the day accounted for about 2-3 percent of all new jobs…and those were mostly in the IT or technical fields. But just five to six years later, Weedles, CareerXRoads, DirectEmployers, and other sources of job survey data indicated that 25%-50% of new hires had sourced their jobs from the Internet. In some career fields it’s much higher, in others much lower, but the point is, the Internet is a leading source of jobs today, and it will most likely continue to be so in the foreseeable future.

The number of Internet job sites is huge! Some estimate as many as 50,000 job search sites are currently active on the Internet. There are major sites (like Monster.com for a wide variety of jobs), niche sites for industries (like Dice.com for IT jobs), organization specific sites (like PMI.org for Project Managers), geographic sites (like Atlanta.craigslist.org), and many, many others. So, where do you start? How can you possibly find the right job on the Internet?

This will be the first in a series of Online Job Board articles, so let’s start with the obvious…searching for a job.

Finding a “job posting” is simple–almost too easy. You log onto a job board (let’s say CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com as an example), you locate the Search Jobs or Search by Keywords options, which are almost always right in your way on the first web page when you get on these sites. You enter a job title or a keyword specific to your job and then you limit the search based on the area you want to search. For example, I might say “Project Manager” and “Atlanta, GA”. Clicking on the Search or Find button returns job after job displayed as if I was browsing through a Google or Yahoo search. Easy!

But, now here’s the hard part. As you look through the listing and find the job you want, then what?? Unlike in the old “newspaper ad days” where they listed a phone number to call or they provided an address to send your resume, you are now prompted to log in (or register), after which the system wants to send a “stored” resume to the employer. But this means you need to have your resume entered or loaded on the system. Simplicity will have you merely uploading a Word version of your resume…but don’t be fooled, it isn’t a good idea.

Much like how you scan through a Google or Yahoo search result listing, the recruiter for this job posting is going to search through all the resumes submitted against this job. And like the major search engines, the recruiter sees the listing of submitted resumes presented to him in a “most likely to be a good match” order based on keywords. So…what’s the chance of your “generic” 1 or 2 page Word resume being among the best matches? Oh, I’d say about a 0% chance.

So, before you head off and start submitting a generic resume to dozens of jobs postings, you’ll need to spend some time getting your online resumes properly developed. Stay tuned for future lessons where I’ll cover the basic elements of getting a good online resume so your searching will be more fruitful.

Bottom Line: Searching for jobs online is easy…getting it to be an effective use of your time will take some work! We’ll need to focus on searching tricks but also online resume strategies, without which other people will be interviewed and hired for those online jobs you found. Check out  lesson 102.

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See the Index of all my Job Hunter articles on my Backlog tab.

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