How to Use Job Boards to Find Your Next Job (& Which Ones to Use)
If you’re in a job transition, you’ve probably at least poked around on a few job boards like The Muse, Indeed or LinkedIn. Maybe you’ve clicked on our Find a Job tab or sleuthed out telecommute or flexible career options on FlexJobs.
Or, perhaps you’re done a llllottt more than poking around on them. Perhaps you’ve been logging some serious hours on job boards, searching and scouring for “The One,” (or, at the very least, something that sounds reasonably cool) and applying for role after role online.
And, if the job boards are working as your primary or sole job search method, terrific.
However, many job seekers report mediocre-at-best results when they lean entirely on job boards for the hunt. Those online applications are often dubbed the “black hole” of job search — and for good reason. When you’re only applying for advertised jobs — without doing any further outreach to companies of interest — you’re competing with dozens, hundreds or … gulp … sometimes even thousands of other applicants.
And when you upload materials through an online portal, chances are, your materials probably aren’t being reviewed by humans first; they’re being scanned by resume scanning software, which is also called the applicant tracking system.
Sounds terrific, right?
Not so terrific. While job boards certainly provide an efficient means of identifying and applying for jobs, you’re going to be better served if you weave some proactive techniques in as you leverage the power of job boards.
What do we mean by “proactive techniques?”
Here’s just one example: Say you just submitted your application online. Instead of calling it a day, take this vital next step:
Go to LinkedIn and key in the name of the company you’re applying to work at. See if you have a first- or second-degree connection working there. Assuming yes, reach out.
For a first-degree connection, that note or call is pretty straightforward. But how can you approach if you see that you have a second-degree connection at a firm of interest? Send a quick note and try to get the conversation started.
It might go like this:
‘Hi Ben, I noticed you're connected to Sue at XYZ Company. How well do you know her and, would you be willing to introduce us?’
It could be a matter of hours before you’re speaking with someone on the inside of that organization you just applied for (or, that you’re preparing to apply for) — a conversation that could give you insights or introductions that put you ahead of the pack.
(You’ll find more specific details on this here: “How to Find an ‘In’ at Your Dream Company—Fast”)
All that said, the job boards can certainly be useful in helping you identify roles of interest. But, not all job boards are created equal, so be sure and do a bit of research before diving in. And, you probably shouldn’t rely on just one.
Which Job Board(s) Should You Use?
Some job boards are all-encompassing, with roles across just about every industry featured. Others are targeted to specific industries, regions or business levels. Still others are hyper-targeted toward people looking for flexible or remote jobs, people interested in startups or those in search of an internship or volunteer role.
Let’s break it down.
Yes, the social network for professionals also has a deeply robust and well-respected job board . Better still, you can apply for jobs directly through the platform and set up job alerts based on your interests and experience. If you use just one job board, make it LinkedIn.
While the user interface isn’t exactly breathtaking, Indeed is an amazing job board because the database aggregates jobs from all over the internet, kind of like Kayak.com for travel. If you’re looking for efficiency, be sure and check out Indeed.
We love The Muse. In fact, Jenny has been a columnist for this amazing careers website for several years (check out her articles right over here). The kinda-really-super cool thing about The Muse’s job board is that it’s not only robust, it also includes company profiles and behind-the-scenes stories about people working at many of their advertising employer.
This is a great, wide-reaching job board that’s fast becoming a go-to resource for job seekers across all industries and business levels. In fact, the JobJenny Find a Job tool is powered by ZipRecruiter.
The Industry Specific
While you’ll certainly find loads of sales jobs posted on the major job boards above, you may wish to supplement your search for with SalesJobs.com. They claim to be the world’s largest sales jobs website (full disclosure: we haven’t done the legwork to make sure it’s true), their user interface is appealing and jobs seem to be hyper current.
This one’s an oldie but goodie — Dice.com. It remains the go-to resource for tech sector jobs. On the day we posted this, Dice had 87,713 jobs posted, a number that is nothing to sneeze at.
The American Marketing Association has a great job board for those looking for roles in and around Marketing, as does The Creative Group, which is the marketing / creative arm of the mega recruiting agency Robert Half International.
Finance & Accounting Jobs
Billing itself as the world’s leading financial services center is EFinancialCareers. In addition to the thousands of openings listed — across just about every level and sector under the financial services umbrella — EFinancialCareers also features a meaty section with tips, info and jobs geared toward students and interns.
Perhaps the best known nonprofit job board is Idealist.org. Their user interface may not be the most glorious thing you’ll ever see, but the site is robust, current and a great resource if you’re looking for jobs in nonprofit.
Additional Option: BridgeSpan
Food & Restaurant Jobs
We absolutely love Good Food Jobs. You’ll find all kinds of interesting options (beyond “chef” or “restaurant manager”). In fact, at last glance, we found jobs for cheese mongers, artisan bakers, gardeners and the head of a farm for children with special needs.
The best-known job board for media roles is MediaBistro. Start here.
Project Management Jobs
Surprise, surprise. If you’re a current or aspiring project manager, you’ll find one of the best niche job boards on the Project Management Institute website.
Additional Option: Project-Management.com
Healthcare / Pharmaceutical Jobs
If you’re looking at sales and marketing roles within the healthcare / pharma field, MedReps is probably the best known job board for these types of roles.
If you’re a current or aspiring teacher, school administrator or someone aiming to provide support services within an educational environment, SchoolSpring is a wonderful resource.
Supply Chain Jobs
If you’re working in logistics / supply chain management, you probably already know about the Association for Supply Chain Management (ACSM). Did you know they also have a great job board? Take ‘er for a spin.
Well, they snagged the domain that ANY job board would want if they were promoting engineering roles, so that right there says something about Engineering.com. The site also has piles of additional resources for all types of engineers, both domestic and global,
Flexible / Telecommute / Remote Jobs
FlexJobs takes a different approach than other jobs boards: job seekers join the site as (paid) members and gain access to carefully vetted opportunities. As in, they do a bit of digging when an employer wants to post a role, to make sure it’s a bona fide flexible, remote or part-time opportunity — not one that * claims * to be.
Jobs at Startups
Got an itch to be a part of a fast-moving startup? If this sounds like you, VentureLoop is your resource. It’s a job board specifically dedicated to roles within venture-backed startups. You can not only view the specifics about each job, you can see who the financial backers are for each advertising organization, which may help you gauge the potential risk and rewards of each firm.
If something like this existed back when we were in college, we definitely didn’t know about it. Here’s your insider tip — If you or someone you love is sleuthing around for an internship, Internships.com is the mother ship.
And, last, but certainly not least, we must mention a favorite job board and career resource that has grown into a significant (highly valued) resource among professionals in the Pacific Northwest, Mac’s List. They not only boast a great regional job board, they also offer ongoing career and job search through their weekly podcast.
All that said…
Remember that job boards are only part of a successful job search. A great strategy, willingness to reach out to people for help and introductions, belief in yourself and a commitment to forging “in’s” at companies of interest are all vital when it comes to accelerating the time between today and the day your stroll on in to that next great job.
Got a job board that you love but don’t see here? Please tell everyone about it in the comments section below!
This post may include affiliate links. Please see our affiliate disclosure here. We only recommend people, products and services that we know and trust.