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How to find a job online

In theory, job boards are great: Search for your dream job and get a list of options. Then apply to the best of the bunch with a resume and cover letter uploaded and ready to deploy with the push of a button. In reality, the best jobs may not even be posted to these spaces. 

Job boards can also be extremely crowded places. The advantage of seeing so many listings in one place also means you’re potentially one of hundreds of applicants. So be sure to go in with reasonable expectations and line up your efforts accordingly.

What exactly is a job board?

It’s a website where employers can post their job openings or vacancies and job seekers can search for opportunities in their field of interest.

When should you use a job board?

Nearly all job searches should include some research on and applying through job board postings. It’s good practice and can help orient you to the requirements for that next level job, new industry, or re-entry type of role you are going for. 

But be careful not to be swayed by the numbers: The heavy-hitter job boards may advertise an impressively high success rate; keep in mind that you need to use the approach that’s best for you and your goals. That’s why it’s important to understand what kinds of jobs you’re most likely to be considered for. 

Job boards can be very useful for certain types of jobs, primarily for entry level, manufacturing, and service industry jobs. But they may not be an accurate representation of available jobs for seasoned workers or corporate office jobs. 

Instead of a guaranteed, one-stop shop for your next job, think of job boards to explore different organizations and do some soul-searching about the best roles for you. They can be one aspect of your job search strategy, but they shouldn’t be your only means.

How to use a job board?

A wide variety of job boards are available, from catch-all generalists to specialized industry and expert sites. Jobs posted on the bigger sites may attract hundreds of applicants but applying through lesser-known niche sites could help you get your resume seen by a recruiter or hiring manager. You can also use job boards to help inform your other job search endeavors. 

A niche job board can curate results within an industry and be helpful for unique career positions, like creative or non-profit professionals. At the end of the day, applying to jobs online is a shot in the dark. But it does work, so it’s worth the effort. Still, you may not want to rely on job boards exclusively. 

To boost your application’s chances of getting noticed, make sure you’ve optimized your cover letter and resume to the position. 

  • Include relevant keywords. Employers may use software to scan resumes. If certain keywords don’t appear, that resume may not even be read by a person. To increase the odds of passing an applicant tracking system, review the job listing and try to include some of the buzzwords within your application. 
  • Include career goals and a personal summary. This can personalize your application and help hiring managers make a quick assessment of your suitability. If your career goals show that you’re interested in a long-term career with the organization or in the industry, that could score some bonus points. 
  • Simplify your resume format. Dramatic departures from the standard format can create awkward mismatches when an applicant system is auto-populating your application. Keep your work experience straightforward, with job title, organization, and key highlights on separate lines.

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This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.