Brilliant Idea: Take a FAST from Job Boards during July

Here’s an idea I came up with a few days ago.  I think it’s brilliant.  I think it will revolutionize your job search.  I think Monster will hate me for suggesting it:

Take a 31 day fast from job boards during the month of July.

That is, from July 1 through July 31 DO NOT use job boards.

I know this sounds weird and uncomfortable.  WHAT IF there is that perfect job waiting there for me?  WHAT IF I miss out on opportunities, and someone else gets a job that has my name written all over it?

Your family will think you are crazy, and that you are a lazy job seeker, because you can’t show all the jobs you’ve applied to.

Here’s why I think this is brilliant: if you are working hard on a job search, and you take out that element (which is easy, and can tend to take up gobs of time), you will essentially force yourself to do other things.

Maybe hard things.

Maybe things you’ve been afraid to do.

Maybe things that will force you to refine your communication.

Go ahead, I dare you.  No job boards in July.  Think you are brave enough?

25 thoughts on “Brilliant Idea: Take a FAST from Job Boards during July”

  1. Hmmm . . . you pose an interesting challenge. Checking job boards is like a safety blanket that aids in “comforting” individuals who may be reeling from going to being really busy (working) and then NOT being really busy (not working). It fills in time where you might be otherwise curled up in a ball eating ice cream directly from the carton. 🙂

    In all seriousness, it is a way to feel immediately productive in the face of change and anxiety.

    At the same time, I find your challenge interesting because job boards behaviorally do allow a person to avoid more critical tasks, and more importantly, thinking/reflecting/planning. It can turn into busy work if an individual is not careful and work against the person.

    To be able to ween myself cold-turkey feels a little daunting, but I will try it for one week and see how it goes.

    Thank you for the challenge.

  2. Job seekers should only spent up to 5% of their time on job boards. Any more time spent on a job board is a colossal waste of time. I like the idea and it has my endorsement.

  3. Ditto, Jason,

    I second that challenge. Starting tomorrow, I will be joining the overcrowded club known as “the unemployed”, after having to leave a wonderful & perfect job with the best team money cannot ever buy. I had to leave it, because we’re moving. As soon as we get to our new destination, I’ll be putting my feet to the pavement, because Jobs just don’t come to you on their own! You’ve got to seek out opportunities, talk to people, make alliances, & develop positive relationships, based on what value you bring to those you meet.

    I’ll have to develop the type of relatioinships that cause others to use higher level adjectives when they describe me to someone who might be looking for someone with my particular skills. Others can just say about me, that I have a degree in IT, that I’ve worked in the field for 12 years, & that I’m looking for a job. Or, they can say about me, that “I know this amazing guy who loves what he does, he excelled in school & did some student teaching in IT. He’s always been the go-to-guy anywhere he works. My friend doesn’t stop, until the project is completed, & is quick to share credit with everyone on his team. You’ve just got to meet him!”

    Which of those two scenarios does your audience think will bring me great opportunities, that will dramatically shorten the time spent between my last success (former job), &, my next success (next job)?

    I’ve always followed you Jason, because, not only are you the most knowledgeable person I know in this field, but during the several times that I’ve had to pleasure to meet you, I’ve always found your heart to be in the game, whenever you’re guiding someone to success.


  4. I agree with your challenge. I think a lot of people kid themselves that they’re actively job hunting just by posting their CV or resume on a jobs board. To be successful, you need to do a lot more than that and go about your job hunt proactively – as Jose said, you need to put your feet on the pavement. I think many job seekers will find it refreshing to look at their job hunt from a new prospective.

  5. Jason,

    I 100% agree with you. MANY job seekers are using job boards as a crutch and are not spending nearly the time they need on real person contacts. I think a little “fasting” from the job boards could get people out and about more.

    Summer is a great time to network. Everyone is out and about, all the time – cookouts, summer camps, beach, golf, boating, etc.

  6. So what do you do instead?

    Work on your targeted job search approach. Your best strategy is to use the targeted approach. This includes:

    * Choosing a few specific companies that you would like to work for

    * Conducting research to identify a problem that you can solve for that company

    * Identifying and connecting with people in the company (no matter what level) to help you identify the executive who has the power to hire you–even if there is no opening

    * And then, either asking one of your new contacts to hand deliver your resume to the decision maker…or…calling the decision maker to schedule a time to network with him/her.

    Is this a lot of work? It most certainly is, but it is the most effective way to find your next position.

  7. Thank you Heidi.
    I’m starting to see the remnants of an Occu-Map slowly coming together. It still looks like a disjointed Occu-Landscape, but, as we zoom out and continue adding pieces to the Occu-Puzzle, at the end of the day, we’re going to end up with a clear map and a powerful legend to follow to our destination.
    Whenever I teach a workshop, one of the first things I mention, is that the Facilitator is never the only expert in the room. As evidenced by the comments on this topic, we can all share in the responsibility of connecting and guiding each other.
    Good job gang, see you again at the end of the journey.

  8. Jason: Great idea, and I absolutely agree.

    Most time spent on the job boards is a waste of time. It’s a false security blanket that makes job seekers feel like they are doing something productive, when actually they are letting the boards suck up time that could be spent on activities that have a much higher chance of getting them a great job.

    Hopefully those who follow your advice will get used to not working with the boards, and will come out of it permanently minimizing the time spent there.
    John West Hadley
    Career Search Counselor

    “Land The Job & Pay You Deserve”

    Get 100’s of Career Tips at

  9. I have a client who’s a senior manager who refuses to network and is using only job boards. His search is now entering its 8th month, and he regularly complains that “There are no openings!” when oh yes, there are, he is just ignoring their main source: people he knows or needs to meet. It’s so sad to see. He’s fallen for a terrible trap.

    So Jason is right: Instead, do the things that will get you results. Not heartache.

    Key: Networking into your target companies whether or not there are openings right now. Eventually there will be, and YOU will be the person your contacts there will think of.

  10. For the most part, I agree with you Jason. I am no fan of job sites.

    And they can be useful for research–maybe not the large boards where people have a tendency to spend most of their time, but on the aggregate sites and the smaller job sites that these aggregate sites draw from.

    These are good places to learn about those businesses that may be under most people’s radars. They may be young businesses in growth mode. These could be a job seeker’s dream company. It certainly doesn’t hurt to check them out. Learn about them. Research. Network. Discover their problems and goals and how the job seeker can be invaluable to them whether or not they are suitable for the posted job .

    Can a job seeker give that up for a month? Sure. Is it advantageous? That’s questionable.

  11. Jason –

    Job boards are a good (effective) way to gather information, to (sometimes) find organizations that are hiring and to give the job seeker alternative job ideas for themselves that they may not have considered.

    Large, generic job boards are a bad (ineffective) way to apply for jobs. Niche job boards (e.g., for engineers and technical specialists and specialty job boards for, say, microbiologists) are often a good way to find “real” jobs and sometimes to apply for them.

    And by now we should all know that potential employers are not spending time surfing job boards in hopes of finding candidates.

    I agree with you, when we are talking about people who spend all day finding and answering posted job openings using a shotgun approach. In these instances resumes (and even applications) have become the junk mail of the job-search process.

    But as many have said, using job boards as tools in an effective job search has merit and I believe they should not be rejected out of hand.

  12. Hola mi amigo. I love that you continue to make people think about the why and how they manage their job search.

    I did find it humorous the bottom of your post had the following:

    jobs by indeed

  13. There are so many great comments in response to Jason’s recommendation. I think about people in my workshops and the tension that goes through their bodies when they think of calling people, contacting people on LI, etc. I am convinced that the fear comes from “I don’t know what to say.” I think that helping our clients develop the language that will demonstrate their value (forget the job title) and helping them to create conversations that make an interpersonal connection with the the contact are some of the most important functions we perform.

  14. Hello all –

    This is from a job-search group here in Columbus, Ohio (

    This certainly applies to this excellent discussion (especially for Joanne Meehl)


    Networking is the most effective path to your next job. It’s also the hardest thing to do. Most people are scared to death to network.

    The Wall Street Journal reported recently that 94 percent of successful job hunters claimed that job networking had made all the difference for them. Sixty to 90 percent of jobs are found informally – mainly through friends, relatives, and direct contacts. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 63.4 percent of all workers use informal job finding methods. Mark S. Granovetter, a Harvard sociologist, reported to Forbes magazine that “informal contacts” account for almost 75 percent of all successful job searches. Agencies find nine percent of new jobs for professional and technical people, and advertisements yield another 10 percent or so.

    At least 60 percent of job openings in the U.S. are not filled through advertising, recruiters or other traditional methods. They are filled through job networking and informal contacts. The goal is to move into the hidden, un-advertised job market, using every available resource that contact with other people will provide you.

    Surprisingly, many well-educated professionals who find themselves in job transition have little or no network of local professional contacts. Besides relying on their family and friends for support, job seekers find themselves with no real means to re-enter the workforce other than posting their resumes on the internet.

  15. I just ran across this notation on a job posting on and it brought this thread to mind:

    Push The Who? Button
    See who you know at this company.
    With a referral you are 20x more likely to get hired.

  16. Chris, did you push it? Did it bring up people from LinkedIn, or what?

    Here’s my contention about the 20x stat… I like the concept, but is that 20 times .001, or what? Where does that stat come from? LinkedIn used to put stuff like that in their emails a few years ago but I think they got a bunch of negative feedback on the claims… which seemed too good to be true.

  17. I think this is a great idea…scary, but a great idea. I myself have been drowning in job boards for months with no success whatsoever. My questions though are where am I supposed to find positions that interest me? And why are companies even posting on job boards if they clearly pay no attention to the respondents?

  18. @Patrick

    The very short version of the answer: The best way to find a job is through networking. To get the best out of your networking, research first. Discover what companies you want to work for and seek introductions within those companies, even if there are currently no positions open in your field. Request informational interviews to learn more about the company and how you might be of service.

    Companies do pay attention to respondents on job boards. Only they receive so many applications, can be very selective about which job seekers they contact.


  19. Why are companies even posting on job boards? There are many reasons, such as:

    to gather resumes for future openings; to fake out other companies, potential investors, etc; to meet legal / policy requirements and to avoid legal / policy scrutiny; to find (they hope) perfectly-qualified candidates for existing jobs; because many HR and other departments think posting job openings on job boards is an effective / the only way to find candidates.

    And for many job boards, it’s not about matching jobs and job seekers, but about generating ad revenue.

    Where am I supposed to find positions that interest me?

    1. Start by reading What Color is Your Parachute? By Bolles. Do the exercises.

    2. Network, network, network. Conduct at least 10 formal informational interviews.

    3. Use job boards to find 20 or so jobs that *REALLY* appeal to you (this is research, so don’t apply for any of these jobs). Find common traits and themes from these jobs and from your interviews. Build two or three ideal job descriptions (based on what you want, not on what is presented to you).

    4. After you have conducted your informational interviews and developed your two or three dream job descriptions, find a library or school that can give you access to Reference USA (an on-line yellow pages). Use this application to find organizations that probably have the kind of jobs you might be interested in.

    5. Use your ideal job descriptions to network, network, network again. Conduct at least 10 more informational interviews (feel free to go back to anyone who was especially helpful before).

    6. Now you should have a list of one best possible sample job description and two or three alternates that interest you, and perhaps 20 or so organizations that might have those kinds of jobs. A special note: as you go through steps 1 through 5, you will most likely turn up and even be offered jobs – I strongly recommend you defer applying to such opportunities until step 8.

    7. Either beginning now or starting at step 4, read these four books in the order shown: Who’s Hiring Who? by Lathrop; High Probability Selling by Werth; The 2-Hour Job Search by Dalton; Ask the Headhunter by Corcodilos.

    8. Re-start your job search.

    I hope this helps. The entire process from step 1 through 8 should take no more than four weeks.

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