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Career Advice

Tips for Using Online Job Boards

Job boards are surely a gift from above; I mean what could be more wonderful than the ability to apply for a job with little more than a click of your mouse? You could easily apply for dozens of roles in a single day, so you’re bound to have a new job in no time right? Wrong!

This is one of the most widespread issues that the modern job seeker must contend with; job board theory vs. job board reality.

Don’t misunderstand us, we are very much in favour of job boards because they make the process of searching and applying for jobs more accessible; but if you aren’t careful they can also encourage you to become lazy and careless. They are in some ways a victim of their own success; they make it so easy to apply for jobs that they minimize what was once a momentous action into something unremarkable and commonplace.  This can really spell disaster for your job search.

Having recruited for various roles by using job boards, we have had a little brainstorm at TheEmployable HQ and come up with some key dos and don’ts that should help you stay clear of trouble when using job boards.

job-seekingDon’t apply for everything

Common sense would indicate that the more roles you apply for through a job board, the more likely it is that you will get one of them; but in our opinion this is simply not the case. If you are applying for dozens of jobs a day, it is impossible for you to give any of them the attention that they deserve, meaning your applications will seem rushed, non specific and poor quality. You would do better to select the jobs that you are most interested in and make sure that you produce an application which is as tailored and high quality as possible.

Also as an employer, job boards often have a feature which allows you to see the types of roles which an applicant has been applying for in the past, thus making it abundantly clear when someone is hitting ‘apply’ to everything with little or no consideration of what the jobs actually are, or what they entail.

Don’t just do the bare minimum

Job boards give you the option to apply for roles with the greatest of ease, often with little more than the click of a button, but they also give you the opportunity to garnish your application with further details including a cover letter, or other supporting material.

In this situation the temptation is often to simply ignore the additional information option and opt for the bare minimum requirement but this can be a big mistake. Amidst the hundreds of applications that an employer will receive via a job board, most of them will have chosen to make the bare minimum effort; by bucking this trend you can give yourself an opportunity to stand out in the employer’s mind, distinguished immediately by the extra effort which you have made in submitting your application.

Tailor your CV / application for every rolebackground

We may sound like a broken record to our regular readers I’m sure, but this is one of the most important pieces of advice that you will ever receive as a job seeker, regardless of whether you are applying for a vacancy through a job board, or more traditional route.

No matter how similar the roles that you are applying for might appear to be, there will always be some aspects in which they are distinct from one another, and it is often these distinguishing factors which can be a deal breaker for an employer. Make sure that you change your CV to display the skills and attributes which are most relevant for each individual job and make sure that you are including evidence that you meet all of the relevant criteria. As a rule of thumb, if you are unable to make at least 1 change to your CV for every job, then you haven’t tried hard enough. Taking this determined approach to job applications will force you to really think about the quality of your CV in relation to a particular role, and some of the ways in which it can be enhanced.

Apply for the most recent roles

Jobs that are advertised on popular online jobs boards can regularly receive hundreds, and sometimes even thousands of applications which means that as time goes by you could find yourself at the end of a very long list. We are not suggesting that there is no point in applying for a role which has been posted for a couple of weeks, we are just saying that your chances of being shortlisted are probably quite diminished by this point.

This is a problem that you can overcome by checking job boards regularly to identify new jobs matching your search criteria; by doing this you will be able to quickly react and apply for the roles soon after they are posted, thus maximising your chances.

But, this doesn’t mean that you need to apply for a role the second you see it. Take time to consider the duties that are involved and the specific qualities and attributes that the employer is hoping to find in a prospective employee. Making a prompt, yet well considered application, will stand very much in your favour when it comes to short listing.

Include a contact numberPhoneCall1

Remember that job boards not only allow job seekers to browse what roles are available, they also give recruiters the opportunity to headhunt people that they think could be suitable for a particular vacancy. This will normally only be used in a situation where the quality of applications for an original vacancy advertisement is too low for a suitable candidate to be found. By including a contact number and being open to approach from recruiters and employers, the right job may just fall into your lap when you least expect it.

Be sure also therefore, that the CV you have uploaded to the job board database is as comprehensive and high quality as possible, so that if this opportunity does happen to occur, you are in as good a position as possible to benefit from it.

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