Here’s a scenario. You find your dream position on Indeed and excitedly fill out an application. You think you’re well-qualified…but you never hear back.
A few weeks later, you find another interesting job posting on Monster.com. But after you send off the application, you only get radio silence.
Applying for positions on a job board can sometimes feel like screaming into the void. According to some statistics, only one percent of candidates who apply through job boards are actually offered a position.
That means applying through job boards shouldn’t be your first or only method for finding a job. Instead, your top priority should be networking, as one report suggests somewhere around 85 percent of jobs are never posted. You can also find relevant jobs through recruiters.
That means that you shouldn’t be prioritizing job boards. But good or bad, these position-posting repositories are a part of the job search. So, how can you get an interview through a job board? Here are a few tried-and-true methods.
Use the right job boards for your sector.
Some common job boards are Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed, but each board isn’t created equal. While there are commonalities with each, and sometimes you’ll find the same position posted on many of them, this isn’t always the case.
Career Advice Expert Anita Bruzzese shares a few of the differences between these boards.
“LinkedIn offers you a fee-based membership that gives you greater access to jobs and potential contacts. Sites like Glassdoor give you unlimited access to jobs for a year if you submit an anonymous review of an employer,” she notes.
Also, using job boards that are specialized in your field – like Headhunter.com – make sure that you find all the positions that are especially relevant to you.
Set position alerts on job boards – but don’t rely on them too heavily.
Most job boards let you set alerts about jobs that match specific keywords relevant to your search. For instance, if you apply to be a software engineer, you can ask to be emailed about similar jobs in your area.
But don’t limit yourself to a single job title – instead, create a list of five to 10 job roles or titles that might also return job postings that interest you. This way, you won’t miss out on positions that don’t match the exact job title you have now.
This method is anything but foolproof. Some positions at companies you’d love to work at might fall through the cracks.
That’s why you should also follow – and know about! – companies where you’d love to work. If there’s a company that interests you, follow them on social media, especially LinkedIn, and you’ll be sure to hear about the positions they have available before anyone else.
Apply through the company’s internal job board instead.
Though some job boards submit job postings to companies for you, this isn’t actually the best way to get noticed. Instead, if you find a position you want to apply to on a job board, you should navigate to the company’s internal job board to create an application.
Career coach Kanika Tolver said that fewer applicants actually create profiles on the company’s website, making those who do stand out. This is a great start to getting an interview through a job board!
Write targeted materials, not generic ones.
There’s no doubt that applying to jobs and never hearing back about them can be demoralizing. But you’re better off not applying at all if you don’t tailor your application materials to every position.
In your cover letter, describe specific ways you meet every required and preferred qualification in the job posting. Add particular examples as often as you can without making your cover letter too long.
The same is true for your resume. Make sure it’s organized in such a way that lists how the successes you had in your previous roles match the job you’re applying for.
Specifically, most job boards use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen candidates’ applications before they’re even read by a person. This software ensures that resumes list the same skills and qualifications as the posting. This means that you can and should use exactly the same keywords and phrases as the job posting wherever possible. Don’t stuff your resume, but add in the same language as the job posting wherever it feels natural.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have templates that you can modify for each posting. If you’re applying to several similar roles, you are likely to be able to alter these materials only slightly for each position. But be sure to tailor your materials to each posting to stand out from the crowd.
How to Get an Interview through a Job Board
When you’re searching for a new job, you don’t want to spend all of your time applying for roles on job boards. Instead, if you’re allotting about 25 hours a week to your hunt, you should spend about three hours searching and applying, another five hours updating your written materials, and 11 hours networking.
This is because you’re much more likely to get noticed if you can connect with colleagues at your dream company or get noticed by recruiters.
Still, job boards are not a waste of time. Candidates can and do use them to get hired. Your best bet to get an interview through a job board is to choose the right platform, write specific materials for each posting, and understand how job boards work. By using these strategies, you’ll ensure that job boards work for you and aren’t a waste of time.