Beware the Bitta-Bang Approach to Job Boards

Beware the Bitta-Bang Approach to Job Boards

I’ve received some email recently expressing frustration about the apparent lack of results at job boards. Some of this correspondence seems to suggest that using such a site to find a new or better job should be as easy as hitting the Submit button. Click, click, bidda-bang, bitta-boom and you ought to have a better job than the one you just left. Ah, if life were only that simple.

Reality, of course, is just a little more difficult. Whether you have 20 years of experience or 20 minutes, this is one tough job market. There are far fewer openings and far more people competing for them than at any time in decades. And in that kind of environment, only the professionally fit can survive. And part of being professionally fit is knowing how to pick a job board that will serve your best interests.

Why bother? Because job boards work. Not as a substitute for all of the other things you must do to find employment today, but as a critically important complement. Said another way, you ignore job boards at your own peril.

How can I make such a claim? WEDDLE’s has been polling job seekers since 1996 on what strategies work best in a job search. Last year, almost 2,000 people responded to the poll. Here are the top five ways they found their last job:

  • 35.4% applied to a job posting or posted their resume on a job board;
  • 8.5% got a tip from a friend;
  • 6.8% received a call from a headhunter;
  • 6.6% replied to an ad in a newspaper; and
  • 4.9% were referred by a friend who was an employee of the company.

If you take the two networking options—a tip from a friend and a referral at a company—and add them together, networking comes in as the second most effective technique at 15.1%. Even with that change, however, using a job board is more than twice as effective as the next best job search technique.

Despite this solid track record, job boards aren’t without their challenges. As I’ve mentioned before, there are over 50,000 such sites currently operating in the U.S. alone so it’s easy to waste a lot of time using the wrong site.

How can you pick the right one?

  • One way is to rely on the opinions of other job board users, both employers and recruiters and individuals just like you. That’s what WEDDLE’s User’s Choice Awards are all about. You’ll find the 2009 winners listed here.
  • A second way is to check out our research at WEDDLE’s. WEDDLE’s has just selected The Top 100 job boards and career portals for its 2009/10 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. But we don’t stop there. For each of those Top 100, sites, we tell you how many jobs are posted at the site, the salary levels of those jobs, what kinds of networking and other job search resources they offer and much more. Think of it as a “consumer’s guide” that will help you pick the right job boards for you.

WEDDLE’s Guide will be out in late April, but you can order it now in our online bookstore and be the first to get it as soon as it comes out.

Thanks for reading,
Peter