When Using Job Boards It Pays to Go Niche
Why industry-specific sites are more useful than larger job boards
While job seekers should never rely entirely on job boards, here's a tip for when you do browse listings: Use niche sites.
Too often, job seekers turn to large, well-known job boards like Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder.com, or SimplyHired. But tapping into niche sites, which offer listings for a specific industry or location, increases your chances not only of finding the job you're looking for, but also of landing that job, experts say.
Why? Because contrary to popular belief, large job boards don't aggregate all listings. Smaller, more targeted sites usually include openings that don't show up elsewhere. They also sometimes offer contact information for the hiring manager rather than routing you to a generic application, which means your resume is less likely to disappear into a black hole. And while applicants from niche sites tend to be more qualified -- because their skill set more often matches what the employer is looking for -- you'll compete with fewer candidates there than you would on well-known sites.
"You're a bigger fish in a smaller pond," says
Smaller companies in particular often prefer using niche boards to find applicants because they tend to get responses from higher quality candidates, Russell says, which means they have to sift through fewer applications to find the right hire. If a manager is looking for a sales employee, for example, she knows she's reaching out to the right audience when she posts on Sales Gravy, a networking community for sales professionals that includes a job board. Universities that want to hire faculty often post on HigherEdJobs. And companies that need to fill programming or other tech-heavy positions are smart to turn to CrunchBoard, a job board on TechCrunch, a website that focuses on technology and Internet news.
Indeed, for every industry, there's a niche job board -- or two or three or more. But how to find them? Niche boards aren't as in your face as the massive job websites, so you have to know to go fishing for one that's relevant for your skills. To start, talk to your co-workers or other people who work in your industry about where they look for jobs, or ask hiring managers where they post open positions. Consulting
Keep your guard up for spammy sites, says
Many successful niche job boards start out as community sites, often blogs. Site owners add a job board when they realize companies could benefit from tapping into their audience, which includes experts on that particular topic. By charging companies to post openings, site administers can make some cash, typically between
That's worked for
"In time, I'm hoping this would be one of the first resources that people in this kind of field go to," says Blackman, whose blog scores about 3,000 unique visitors each month. "A lot of the smaller projects or initiatives or companies want to make sure they go after people who are like-minded."
For job seekers, that's yet another benefit of the niche job board. Simply applying via a niche site can show that you know the industry, says Ford Myers, a career coach and author of Get the Job You Want Even When No One's Hiring. "[It says] you're a member of our club," Myers says. "You wouldn't even know about our job board unless you were in our club ... You know the secret handshake."
Like many career coaches, Myers advises his clients not to put much stock into job boards because they offer so little return. "It's OK to use the job board as a research tool, to find out more about a company, to find out which companies are expanding," he says. "Then to go around to the back door and get in through networking.
Even when applying through job boards, the cardinal rule of job-hunting -- network, network, network -- still stands. If you don't already have a connection at the company where you'd like to work, make one. Figure out who the hiring manager is through
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