Let’s get real: traditional job boards suck.
Take Indeed, for instance. The website requires you to sift through thousands of vague job descriptions until you find an open position that is only somewhat related to what you’re looking for. And then you have to leave the website to find out more about the job, the industry, and what it’s like to work at the company.
And Indeed is not the exception; it’s the rule. Most job boards are so horrible at giving you the information you want that a 2015 CareerBuilder survey found that, on average, job seekers turn to 17.7 different resources during their search. And only 1.3 of those resources are traditional job sites.
But what can you, the job seeker, do about it? You want to find the right position for you, and these outdated job boards are where many organizations post their openings. The trick is understanding how you can succeed when traditional job boards fail you.
Here are four reasons job boards suck and how you can deal with those shortcomings:
1. Traditional job boards are difficult to search through.
When looking for a post that fits your criteria, choosing the right keyword to search for can be very difficult. You can either do an industry-wide search, but that means sifting through thousands of job ads. Or you can look for a specific title or position, but since the same position is called different things at different organizations, you might miss great opportunities.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the sea of job posts on big traditional job boards, one option is to narrow your search to job boards specific to your industry. That way, you won’t have as many irrelevant listings to sift through.
Another option is to go straight to the career sites of companies that interest you. This will not only show you what positions they have open, but also give you an idea of the type of keywords used in descriptions of jobs you want. That will make it easier for you to narrow your search, should you need to return to a traditional job board.
2. Job descriptions are unclear.
There is nothing worse than wasting your time and energy applying for a job only to get an offer, start work and find out the actual job is not what you thought. And that happens to quite a few job seekers. A 2014 BambooHR survey found that 28 percent of employees had left a company because the position turned out to be different than they originally thought.
While looking through job postings, be cautious of ones that only list vague duties and responsibilities. Try to imagine what a typical day would be like working in that role for that organization. If you can’t think of specific actions you’d be doing, there’s a good chance the description isn’t a good or accurate one.
3. They only provide surface-level information.
There’s more to a job than the duties you’d be performing. Factors like company culture, advancement opportunities, and co-workers will also affect your overall happiness. You also have to consider the state of the industry the organization is in and what that can mean for its — and your — future. But in many cases, job postings don’t go that in-depth. So, it’s up to you to dive deeper and track down that information before applying.
A great resource for job seekers is social media. Checking an organization’s Twitter or Facebook page can give you a lot of insight into their culture. Looking for signs of how they recognize employees’ achievements will enable you to determine whether you’ll feel appreciated by the company.
Additionally, reach out to current employees through LinkedIn and ask if they’d be willing to share their opinion about working for that particular organization or industry. More often than not, extremely happy — or unhappy — employees will give you more reliable information than a job description.
4. They make applying for a job a pain.
Once you find a job you’re interested in, the next big hassle of job boards start: actually applying for the job. Depending on the website, you either have to go through countless steps, or it only allows you to upload your resume and then there’s no chance to provide additional information.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about how each job board chooses to accept applications. What you can do is make the best of whatever room you are given to showcase your skills. If there are character or word limits to your responses, use them wisely. Be concise and avoid unnecessary flowery language. Also, find ways to include links to your personal website or LinkedIn page, so employers can easily find out more about you.
As much as we all dislike them, traditional job boards are a part of the job search. But by recognizing what their issues are, you can do a better job of successfully navigating job descriptions they list.
What are some other problems with traditional job boards? Share in the comments below!