Aside from a few industries such as health care, education, government and many administrative roles where applying for jobs by answering online ads is sufficient enough to get an interview, many professional job seekers experience frustration with their resumes ending up in a black hole, with no clue of what happened to their application. In today’s job market, it has become a common knowledge that most jobs are found through networking and referrals. Who you know sometimes matters more than what your resume looks like. That being said, are job boards even useful anymore? The short answer is “Yes.”
I have known many people who told me that they never had to apply for jobs online or send out resumes, because they have found all of their previous positions through friends and acquaintances. It is true, most employers would rather consider someone referred to them by trusted sources than look through the pile of resumes that were sent to them by total strangers. However, this doesn’t mean that we should all ditch the good ole’ job boards.
First of all, job boards give us incredibly valuable information of what’s available on the market, what the current demands are in your local area and where you can apply your skills. Even if, at the worst-case scenario, your resume goes unanswered, at least you have a choice where to take your career. And if you are not successful with answering adds, doesn’t mean something is wrong with your resume or your skills, it just means you have to change your job search tactics. But if you purely rely on your network, there is a danger of being pulled into the first available job opening without any knowledge or consideration of other possibilities.
Many companies are required to post their job openings online by law. Many of them do, in spite of the fact that they have no intention of conducting interviews with any outside candidates until they have thoroughly considered all of their internal candidates and referrals. I know it can be very frustrating when your efforts to apply go unanswered but the reward comes for those who are patient. If you are not lucky enough to have a connection at your favorite company, now is the time to make one. If you can start your conversation now and keep it open, you never know how well those initial candidates work out or if the company may open up other roles in the near future, for which you could be one of the first people considered.
Job boards are not only good for learning about the state of the market right now, but also your future career planning. Reading those job descriptions (that is if you do read them thoroughly enough) can tell you a lot about the company itself, their values, their mission statement and who they typically hire. You can then make a sound decision whether or not you even want to work for this company without any pressure. If your mind is strictly set on finding a job now, it is very easy to miss all this important information for your future ongoing career.