For most job seekers, job boards are often not “The Answer” to all their job search needs, and, these days, certainly not a short cut to a job. But the good ones can be very useful, and savvy job seekers use them as a starting point and research source as well as entry points into the formal corporate recruiting systems.
Thousands of Job Sites
And, of course, not "all created equal." Some are extremely useful, and some are a waste of your time. Many are completely legitimate, and some are scams run be people who have their own plans for your resume. Be careful! (check out Job-Hunt's Avoiding Job Scams section.)
The Employment Super Sites - we all know their names from Super Bowl ads, newspaper articles, and a decade of banners and other advertisements everywhere. Most of us have posted our resumes there at least once (whether we knew it or not) and searched through the opportunities a few times. Avoiding the super sites is probably a mistake, because of their visibility to employers. Avoiding them is also difficult since they have hundreds of “partner” sites - CareerBuilder currently claims over 1,100.
[For the really REALLY big sites, check out the "Job Aggregators" which include sites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. Aggregators collect jobs from thousands of sources, including the Super Sites, but excluding Craigslist.].
The Hub Sites – often we know these names as well, by reputation if not experience. They are smaller and often less expensive for employers than the supersites, and frequently target a large group, like executives or all IT jobs, or a substantial geographic area. They often provide industry/professional news and information as well as access to job postings.
The Niche Sites - legitimate niche sites serve smaller specific constituencies: a location, profession, age group, industry, interest. Often these sites are associated with professional or industry associations or other pre-Internet face-to-face business groups.
Niche sites are popular with employers who can’t afford the costs associated with using the supersites and want to minimize the expenses associated with relocating a new employee. They are also popular with recruiters who are looking for the kind of person who is associated with a specific professional association, industry, or interest group.
The job boards that professional and industry associations offer their members can be among the best niche sites you will find. (For more information, see: Where to Search for Jobs: Assocation Web Sites.).
Criteria for Choosing Job Sites
We know about picking sites with the “fresh” jobs in the right industry/specialty and location, but the world has gotten more complex as more scams join the online job search mix.
- Know the site and the people or organization behind it. Bogus job sites DO exist – the motivation is not clear, but it is clear that they do NOT connect job seekers with legitimate jobs. Look for real contact information on the “about us” or “contact us” pages of the Website. Be very cautious of job sites which only have fill-in-the-blank forms on those pages or which are introduced through e-mail.
- A site which has been included in one of the job site directories (like Job-Hunt or the RileyGuide) should be OK, but inclusion is not a guarantee since a listed site can be sold to less ethical people between review cycles. For curated niche job board lists, see Job-Hunt's Directory of Job Search Resources by Industry or Profession which includes several hundred job boards and Job-Hunt's Directory of Job Search Sites by State which includes several hundred more.
- Check Alexa.com, and look for a site “ranking” in the “top 100,000 sites.” Numbered from 1 through 100,000, in descending order, Alexa provides as estimation of a site’s traffic rank. Yahoo is number 1; MSN is number 2; Google is 3, and so on down to sites which don’t have any ranking at all.
- Check DomainTools.com to see who owns the domain and where they are located. Use the "Whois" function. Anyone, anywhere with $10 left in the credit card's credit limit and an Internet connection can register a domain name. Be cautious of a "private" domain registration. It is used by some people to protect themselves from spam, but it may also be used as a shield for less than ethical operations.
For 16 criteria to use for evaluating job boards, read Job-Hunt’s “Choosing a Job Site” article, and for tips on using job boards most safely and effectively, read Job-Hunt's "Using a Job Site" article.
Hub and niche sites are often the “sweet spots” in the job search process where job seekers find the best opportunities without all the noise and competition associated with the giant sites. Often professional and industry associations can be an excellent source of job postings that are not widely visible. See Job-Hunt's Directory of Professional and Industry Associations which also links to association job boards.
Just "be careful out there" as the Hill St. Blues sergeant used to say at the beginning of each new watch.
Next: Finding and Using Classified Ads
© Copyright, 1998 - 2012, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author...
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+
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