How to get value out of job boards and posted jobs (and JibberJobber email alerts)

Yesterday I blogged about the new Email Alerts feature in JibberJobber, powered by ZipRecruiter.

You probably know I’m not a huge fan of job boards.  This stems from my personal experience of not understanding the value of job boards, and spending way too much time with the wrong tactics, wasting job days away on job boards.  After all, as Nick Corcodilos said, Monster was only responsible for filling 1.3% of jobs filled.  I know I’ve said that before, but it is such a profound statistic!

So, what do you do with job boards, jobs you find posted, and the new JibberJobber Email Alerts?

Gather Intelligence

Each job posting is a piece of the puzzle.  It might be that elusive center piece that looks like 200 other pieces, or it might be the telling corner piece that helps you make real progress on the puzzle.

From a job posting you might be able to see trends happening in a company or industry.  Can you tell if a company is expanding into a new region or product line?  Can you see if an industry is starting to hire more sales or operations people?  A job seeker has a unique opportunity to better understand the landscape of their industry/profession, and job boards can provide a lot of great intelligence.  If this is a new concept to you, study this Wikipedia post about Competitive Intelligence.

Plan your entrance into a company

Sometimes job postings have a name and contact information.  This is awesome information.  At the very least I would put that information into JibberJobber… now you have a job title and a contact name.  You might have a company name (not always).  Sometimes I’ve seen postings that won’t say the company name, but the email address of the person you are supposed to contact gives it all away.

Do you send your resume and your begging, I mean, cover letter/email, to that person?  Perhaps.  What I would do is take this information (aka, intelligence) and do some research.  What can you find out about the company or the person?  The first place I would go is LinkedIn.  Who else works at the company, what are their titles, who do you know that can introduce you to someone at the company, etc.

Essentially, you are looking for ways to network into the company.  While you might have a name and number/email, that might not be the best way to network in.  If 100 (or 1,000) other people are contacting her, you will become just another number, and probably a headache since she doesn’t know how to effectively manage the onslaught of communication she is getting.

In LinkedIn I would hope to find a hiring manager (or, any manager), and a strong contact who can introduce me.  I’d rather have a 15 – 20 minute informational interview with any manager to learn what I can and perhaps get another introduction than become just another number.  Doesn’t that make sense?

Prepare for the application and interview

Job postings, even though they all seem to be written by someone who doesn’t have good written communication skills, have some interesting information that you might learn from.  Look for words and phrases that are new to you.  When I was in my job search I had been out of job search mode for so long that there were phrases and titles that I really didn’t know about.  You should open ten to twenty openings with the same title, but from different companies or industries, and see what you can learn.  Put together a list of words and phrases that you might want to use on a resume or cover letter, and in a networking or interview situation.  STUDY THESE WORDS, and know what they mean.  You can’t use insider words (aka, jargon) wrong, or it will out you as a rookie!  Study them, learn about them, ask others about them, and then use them.

The purpose of this preparation/research is not to help you see trends or find network contacts, like the two above, but it helps you talk more intelligently to people as you network closer to opportunities.  This is a great time for you to come up to speed on things within your role.  Even though you might be expert at it, and surely more expert than the HR person who wrote the job description, you can get an idea of how your role is being talked about by others.  This is important information.

Finally, my word of caution: GET AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER!

As I share above, you can get a lot of good out of posted jobs, and job boards.  But, please don’t spend hours each day doing this. I know it’s more interesting and fun to do this than to pick up the phone and call someone on your chicken list.  It’s easier to spend 3 hours doing this important research than it is to go to that networking club downtown.  But please, please do just enough of this and then turn the computer off and go meet and talk to people.

The idea of getting a job by doing research (or heaven forbid applying to jobs) on job boards is kind of like saying you are going to get rich by clipping coupons.  It’s not going to happen.  To get rich, you have to make more money than you are spending.  To get a job you have to communicate with human beings.

What am I missing?  What other value can you get from jobs posted online?


1 thought on “How to get value out of job boards and posted jobs (and JibberJobber email alerts)”

  1. Bravo! You are so right! 80% of jobs are found through networking, that is, meeting people in the real world. The online world is great for research, but it is face-to-face contact that puts us in front of a hiring manager. We hope that someone, somewhere, someday will read our detailed resume and our well-crafted cover letter and call us for an interview. Networking for the name of a person with influence can take substantial amounts of time and effort. Simply replying to a job posting online is so much easier. But hard work and careful research will always trump convenience when it comes to getting an interview with a hiring manager.

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