Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » Are Job Boards the Least Successful Way to Find a Job?

As I’ve stated before, approximately 85% of jobs aren’t advertised (and that percentage could be higher). So, if you’re spending all your time looking at the job boards, that’s time wasted. We’re not saying don’t ever check the job boards—just that they shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your job search strategy. You’re far better off investing your time and effort in marketing yourself by looking for opportunities in the hidden job market. Here’s why the job boards aren’t the best places to look for work.

Is This Job Even Real?

Some jobs listed on the boards aren’t real—they’re posted as a way of recruiting candidates who have specific backgrounds. The job isn’t available right now, but could be at some point down the road. You can just as easily get your name into the inventory of potential employees by cold calling—then you’re more than just an applicant on paper or online. You’ll actually meet someone face-to-face and have a chance to make an impression.

Pool Crowded Much?

The average posted job will bring in a thousand applicants. Even small companies will see hundreds. When companies have such a heavy response, they don’t go through every single resume—they take a dozen or so off the top of the heap, and the rest are forgotten, usually not even filed away for future use. That’s why if you DO apply to a position on a job board, you should do so as soon as it’s posted.

Jobs Are Listed to Satisfy DoL Audits

Often, companies will use job boards as a means of collecting resumes in order to prove to the Department of Labor that they’re compliant with EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) requirements. They have a ready-made explanation if their practices are ever called into question—look at all the minorities we interviewed!

The 85% Rule Again

Because 85% of new hires are the result of networking – or other means, by the time a manager has approval to add staff, he or she already has two or three preferred candidates in mind. There’s a good chance that, with a posted job, you’re applying for a position that’s already as good as filled. It’s only advertised in case the desired candidates, for whatever reason, aren’t available. Then, you still won’t get called for an interview—other people will have cold called, networked, asked for information interviews, or used other strategies to make themselves known. Simply stated, the thousand or so applicants who responded to the job posting really won’t have much of a chance.

The odds are astronomically against job boards actually doing you any good in your quest for full-time employment. You’re far better off looking for a hidden job that you could actually get than chasing down a posted one. Not to completely knock job boards I do understand that there are job seekers who do find employment on job boards. In fact, many of our clients have secured interviews from positions on job boards as a result of their new resume. That being said, I’m trying to get you to see that it shouldn’t be your sole job search method.

One of the most valuable tools when tapping into the hidden job market is a Value Proposition Letter. It is tremendously successful at grabbing the hiring manager’s attention and showing them the value you offer as a candidate. Studies have shown direct mailing a Value Proposition Letter to a decision maker results in an 85% success rate securing EMPLOYMENT within 90 days. That’s pretty substantial. Want help with a great Value Proposition Letter? Get started here.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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