Friday, February 5, 2010

Making the Most of Online Job Board Benefits

Using job boards and posting your resume online through one or more of them can provide you with exposure to thousands of companies that access information from these boards when searching for potential job candidates. On the front end, it’s important to select the right boards for your job search and to upload your resume and set up your job board options correctly. Later, when you begin to be contacted by companies about potential openings, it’s important to be able to separate the legitimate openings from those that might be scams. (Although this content focuses only on job boards, researching and approaching individual companies directly through their websites is a whole other aspect of your job search that cannot be ignored.)

Selecting the right job boards: The job boards you choose for posting your resume depend largely on the type of work you’re looking for. It’s true that the large, well-known boards like Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder represent a lion’s share of the market when it comes to job postings in general. And most likely, you’ll want to post your resume on one or more of these sites. But depending on the type of job you’re looking for, more specialized job boards—for example those listing only accounting jobs, health care jobs, or retail jobs—may glean more targeted results. Simply typing the phrase “job boards” into Google will generate a list of hits that leads to all kinds of job boards. In addition, don’t forget professional associations. Many sponsor their own job boards, although frequently they are limited to members only.

Using job board features to aid your job search: To take full advantage of the benefits of the job boards you’ve selected, you’ll most likely want to do the following on each of them:

Register as a job board user

Upload an electronic version of your resume either by browsing to attach to a resume file on your PC or by copy/pasting your resume contents onto the website

Target specific job and/or industry categories for your search

Take advantage of job board features for “alerting” you, via e-mail, when job openings that match your criteria become available

Revisit the board periodically to refine your search criteria or make updates to your resume

Identifying legitimate company interest: It’s a fact that by participating in job boards you’re bound to receive e-mails and even phone calls from companies and individuals that don’t represent the kind of job you’re looking for. Sometimes they’re jobs that are in completely different fields than what you’re qualified for. Other times, they may be spam or disreputable companies or individuals. The important thing is to be able to tell what’s legitimate and what’s not. Of course, it helps to research the company website, but even the existence of a company website doesn’t always guarantee that the company is legitimate. Online sites like Hoovers, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and various websites covering business (for example, INC., BusinessWeek, and others) could lead to more background on a particular company. Watch for common negative indicators, like frequent typos in the messages to you, unreasonably large salaries, and promises for making lots of money from the comfort of your own home. And of course, you don’t want to disclose certain information blindly to any company, especially information combinations like your social security number, driver’s license number, and mother’s maiden name or other private information. There’s no reason for a hiring company to collect information combinations like this, especially in the early stages of a job search.

Remember, using job boards is just one aspect of your job search. In fact, a successful job search requires a multi-faceted approach that includes researching appropriate employment opportunities on individual company websites where you may wish to apply and post your resume directly or through e-mail.

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