So, You’ve Applied to Job Boards. Now What?

Looking for a job depends on where you start. You do things differently if you are looking for work while you have a job than when you don’t. You use one approach if your employer is hitting a rough patch. It’s a whole different story when you’ve just graduated from college (and which college seems to really matter). It’s another story when you are reentering the workforce or shifting careers. Where you are in your professional development plays a role.

While it’s wonderful to think that recruiters will come hunting for you while you are gleefully enjoying your current gig, that doesn’t often happen.

A well-orchestrated job search contains elements of introspection, research, marketing, advertising, networking, sales, and negotiation. The foundation involves serious self-appraisal coupled with a good look at possibilities, opportunities, and predictable aspects of the future. While a few people can get ahead by leaping from job to job, a clear sense of what you want goes a very long way.

Don't Put All Your Eggs in the Job Board Basket

Job Boards and other online advertisements (like Company Employment pages) merit your attention in the job hunt. But, you should never devote all of your attention to this one aspect when looking for a job. While different strategies work for different kinds of people at different stages in their work life, there are no cases in which it is smart to rely on job boards alone.

Using job boards is easy. Fill in a few forms. Enter some search terms. Apply to things that look good. It’s an awful lot like building an Amazon wish-list. It’s a really good way to get a clear idea of the things that interest you.

When you do use a job board, always include a cover letter tailored to the specific job. Do enough research to show that you understand how the job fits into the business’ needs. Pepper both the cover letter and your resume with keywords drawn from the job posting. Make sure your resume is well designed visually. These for things will improve your odds.

There is little correlation between a job board’s ease of use and actually getting a job. It’s much more like buying a lottery ticket than any sort of merit-oriented process. The very easiest thing to do is spend your time submitting your resume to interesting opportunities. Sadly, it’s wasted effort beyond a certain point.

Remember to Strategically Plan Your Time

Never spend more than 15% of your time looking for work on job boards. That’s a reasonable effort for your pure advertising and marketing investment. Any more and you’re simply procrastinating the truly hard bits of work: introspection, research and networking. Keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date and well-manicured is an essential element.

The vast majority of job openings are never actually published online. Rather, they are discovered through networking. In many cases, the job is created because the right person appeared. Somewhere between 60% and 80% of jobs fall into this category. The numbers vary widely because it’s hard to count something that isn’t there. This is where research really pays off.

There are a wide range of estimates about how long it takes to get a new job. While a good rule of thumb is one month for every $10,000 in annual salary. Demand for your particular skills, time of year, and the labor market in your region all play a part. Be patient, get to know yourself better and get ready for a significant shift in your point of view.

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