Job Boards – The Broken System

Wake up, scour the job boards, reply to ads, repeat. This is the grind for many job seekers these days. It’s a system that is promoted heavily, but it is a massively broken system. The statistics say it all: studies report 3% of jobs are found through job boards. Yet, this is where some 95% of the 13.7 million jobless in the U.S. focus and spend the bulk of their time searching for a new opportunity. And, I understand why at first glance: they offer a plan. They have a “system (a term I use very loosely).” But, before you invest too much more time on these boards, here are some things to consider:

Job Boards are Big Business, but not Your Business – A billion dollars industry with the big backed by the bigger (Careerbuilder is tied with CNN, Monster with CNN and HotJobs is owned by Yahoo). And, they are after you because they really need you. Without high unique visitor counts daily and fresh resumes being dumped into their databases, they cannot charge the prices they want for ads and resume access. They need an overcrowded system because it benefits them — not you.

But, it’s So Easy — No doubt, the ease with which you can apply to a job is one of the attractive qualities of the boards. But, that is only because there is a lack of any barrier to entry — or application. That lack of a barrier floods the market with a deluge of resume. This high resume count means applicant tracking systems (ATS — the name and acronym sound so clinical) are necessary to search and sort through information. This gets the interview process started on the wrong foot — a process that is all about a highly personal touch. Quality is sacrificed for quantity. Sounds like the healthcare system — you become a number, not a name.

You are More Important than Your Resume — some of the best job search techniques out there rely very little on resumes. Job boards focus on your resume because it is key to them building their database. They are even offering resume writing services which guarantee “satisfaction,” but not interviews. I have had several clients that used these services before working with me. Not only did their resume re-writes not result in interviews, the job boards often came back and re-pitched their services to my clients… just adding insult to injury.

The Statistic They Don’t Want You to Know — You won’t ever hear the job boards talk about how many people are hired using their “system (again, I cringe calling it that).” Another number they never promote is the “hidden job market.” 80-85% of hires every year are made here. The kicker is that only about 5% of job seekers aggressively targets this market… and uncovering it is easier than you think. You just need a real “system.” One that works for you – and you alone.