If you’re a career changer or job seeker, job board searches can be frustrating. Read this article to learn how to use job boards more effectively and reach your career goals more quickly.
Even if you’re in the early stages of your career change and job search, it’s likely you have already browsed job boards. What’s your personal experience of using job boards?
Already using job boards? Download this 10-point checklist for effective job board use.
Here are common questions and concerns that I hear from career changers and job seekers about their job board use:
- How do I know if the jobs are real jobs?
- My application has “disappeared.” I didn’t hear back. Am I wasting my time?
- I see the same positions posted for ages. Does that mean they’re still open?
- There’s nothing in my field. What should I do?
If you’re fortunate, you find a position of interest, apply, and get a response. But more often than not, this doesn’t happen. What then?
Job boards can support your job search and career change in two ways:
– directly through search
– indirectly through research
Let’s begin with direct search, the primary purpose of job boards.
But before investing your time, consider your overall career change and job search plan. If you want to get more from the time you spend, it’s not enough to browse and hope for the best.
Customize your Job Search Strategy
Here are 3 questions to help you design a strategy that will work for your particular career situation. Spend 10 minutes now to save yourself a lot of frustration and wasted time in the future.
1. How are positions in your field typically filled?
How familiar are you with current hiring practices in your field? Reflect on your own career history. If you’ve been in the same position for a while, ask friends and colleagues how they got their current positions. Job boards are more effective in some fields that others. What about the field you are targeting?
If there are relevant niche job boards, all the better. That’s a good place to start.
2. What are your career goals?
In the early stages of your search, you may still be refining your goals. But as you progress, it’s important to limit what you search for.
Employers posting positions on a job board typically have an opening that they want to fill quickly. Are you changing direction in your career? This makes direct search less useful. It’s difficult to compete against others who match the job specification.
3. How can I use the technology to save time?
The third question is about efficient time use. It’s easy to get sucked into browsing. As you clarify your career goal and find the right search terms for your target positons, you can be a lot more efficient.
Use the platform tools to your advantage. Customize your own search. If a comprehensive search is important, use an aggregator site such as Indeed. There are plenty of reviews of job boards available to help you choose the best one for you.
Make use of filters. For example, if you plan to stay in the same location, use geographic filters to limit your results. Set you email alerts for direct notifications. Limit the frequency of your site visits to once a week or so.
Answering these three questions will help search job boards more effectively and more efficiently. Now, let’s consider indirect ways to use job boards to support your career change and job search.
Indirect Uses of Job Boards for Career Changers and Job Seekers
Direct search of job boards may not work well for your career situation. Maybe you are changing direction, have gaps in your work history or have not been getting a response to you applications.
Here are some ideas.
Do you need help with career research? Job boards can help.
1. Do your written career materials include relevant keywords?
Checking that you have the right keywords is particularly important if you plan to work with recruiters, or if your target employers use ATS (applicant tracking systems).
You can use relevant job descriptions to identify the most important keywords for your target positions. Review your resume or CV and your online profile on LinkedIn or other platforms.
Don’t rely on getting found as your only job search strategy. But without much effort, you can expand opportunities by including the right keywords in your career documents. Use the information freely available on job boards to help.
2. What do you need to know about potential employers or industry changes?
You can also use job boards to support research on organizations you are targeting. For example, you might notice a company that employs people in your field is posting several open positions.
Even if there are no current opportunities in your field, it may be worth digging deeper. Look for clues and follow up. Think about the reasons that employers have open positions.
Do they have expansion plans? Maybe they have won some new projects. Maybe they are expanding to a new geographic location.
Even if they are not currently recruiting for your particular skills, they may be in the future. You can do some more research and talk to people in your network to find out more. Based on what you have learned, you can then begin to build relationships to network into the company.
If you have the right skills, being an “early bird” will benefit both you and the company.
Summary: How To Get More from Using Job Boards when Changing Careers and Finding your Next Job
Job seekers and career changers can find job boards frustrating and a waste of time. Consider direct and indirect ways that using job boards can help you reach your career goals more quickly.
For direct search, be sure to design your strategy so that you can be more efficient and more effective in your job search. For indirect use of job boards, find creative ways to use the information. Identify pertinent keywords to improve your career documents. Learn more about potential employers and changes that may be relevant to your career.
By selecting the best approach, job boards can help you reach your career goals more quickly and with less stress.
Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 8, no. 5
About the Author
Jennifer Bradley, Ph.D. helps professionals lead their own careers, empowered with the information, tools, and resources that they need. She offers individual coaching and consulting, teaches classes, and publishes articles on career development and career transition.
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