A few weeks ago I talked about the need to “detox” from what I called “career credential addiction,” this affliction to spend more and more on obtaining credentials without any certain ROI or marketing strategy behind it. I ended that post by mentioning another type of “addiction” I see across the job search landscape and that has to do with an overdependence on job boards.
Job board addiction does not discriminate.
Surprisingly, this overdependence is not a problem for a select few. It is not a problem relegated to Millennials or Baby Boomers. It is not an entry-level-candidate-only issue or an executive-only issue. In fact, it has become pervasive. If you are out there in the job search realm, you are most likely overusing them.
Bottom line: We love job boards even if we say we don’t.
Most people will nod their heads and agree that job boards are not all that effective (1-7% depending on whom you believe). They will complain that submitting to online postings is, well, depressing, because so many resumes go in and so few lead to anything. Yet, most people will spend upward of 80% of their precious job search time scanning online classifieds.
Why? Because it’s easy (what other job search methods can you do at 2 am?) and it’s alluring. The jobs are right there, just waiting for you, the perfect candidate…or so it seems. [Sure, networking is nice and recruiters would be great (if they ever truly came through with anything), but job boards make things so much easier!]
Now, if you doubt job boards are truly an addiction, all you have to do is suggest that maybe a candidate would be better off spending more time on something else (almost anything else) and just a little, even if it is only a tiny little, bit of less time on job boards. Without fail, someone is sure to jump up and cry,
“But online postings worked for my [friend, spouse, colleague]! Who are you to judge?”
As I said, no one is saying they never work. They just don’t work often, and they don’t work well. Use them if you want, but use them with eyes wide open. And don’t overuse them. Statistics show they aren’t worth so much of your precious job search time. And my experience with my client members proves it over and over again.
My clients who take the longest to get jobs, who are the most frustrated in their job searches, and who land jobs at the lowest pay are the ones who rely the most on job boards.
So does all of this mean I think you should never, ever apply through a job board or online posting? No. If the job is a “perfect” match for you and you want to go for it, fine. But recognize the environment you are going into. A lot of perfect fit candidates don’t get called back.
In my mind, it would be better to use networking (social and traditional) to make connections with that employer and find a way in front of a decision maker without using the posting process.
Unfortunately, though, addictions are a hard thing to break, and that’s why 95% of job seekers won’t.
They’ll keeping playing the guessing game and hoping to get it right next time, wondering why the other 5% seem to be coming out on top.
(Stay tuned…in Part II, we’ll discuss in more detail why job boards aren’t as effective as they could be.)