Job boards have something in common with lawyers and dentists - people have decidedly mixed feelings about interacting with all of them! I've seen job boards go from being the solution to someone's job search in the early years when Monster first began to dominate, to being the hopeless black hole of desperate job seekers to - what exactly, now?
Following up on Louise Garver's interesting blog post discussing the new hybrid job boards, I started thinking about who wins with job boards and how they do it. We all know - and many job seekers have experienced - the fruitlessness of applying to jobs on job boards in general. This is because:
1. Once the idea for an open position reaches HR and then gets formulated into a job ad for posting, you become one of a mass of applicants, often hundreds. That means the competition is fierce. Much greater than in other forms of job search.
2. Nobody is 100% clear on how to write their resume so that it gets picked up in a search. Because search is what it's all about. Automation, not human eyes, determine the winners who will get interviewed. That puts a premium on getting the right keywords for the ad, a science in its own right. And that means customize every resume submission!
So why bother with job boards?
1. Despite all the recruiter activity on professional and social networking sites, a significant percentage of companies still hire from job boards. So, if you're not a senior executive, you may as well devote a limited time each day or week to customizing your resume to the specific jobs that are a close match with your skill set and background.
2. Some job boards are trying to play catch up ball to places like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. They are endeavoring to create industry and/or function-relevant conversations that take place on their site that enable recruiters to convey their employment brand and job seekers to become know to each other and recruiters.
The second IS NOT A SMALL THING if it's really happening. The idea is that both active and passive job seekers alike are actively interacting with others on the site (social).
What is it? Networking in just another guise. We all know how important networking is.
But what is the reality?
Here's a review of three job boards:
Dice.com, a premier site for technology and IT jobs, allows you to sign up for Talent Communities broken up by technology or geographical area. And job postings are also posted within your talent feed. You might sign up for cloud computing, mobile development, or Ruby on Rails. You can check the mashup daily. If you find an active group, engage with it regularly for high-quality networking.
Monster.com has "communities." They say that top ones are in Art, Nursing and Education - but when you click through there are not obvious user interactions going on. They have SalesHQ where there appears to be some conversation.
CareerBuilder says they have Talent Communities. The link doesn't come up.
Indeed.com - a jobs aggregator - has active forums organized by job, city, company etc. - it seems as though users are providing support and answers. 717 people responded to a question about medical coding. 5,000 to a question about an airline group interview.
TheLadders.com has no obvious ways for users to interact meaningfully.
The result of my fast and informal screen of top job boards? At this point in their attempts to become hybrid social, they fall far behind LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!
My advice? engage, engage, engage in...
LinkedIn Groups, LI Questions & Answers
Twitter Monitor and contribute to relevant areas: #Your Field or Function or Job. Follow recruiters and companies. Become involved in Twitter
Facebook friend companies, recruiters, and employees you want to know and be known by.