Job boards are a strong temptation. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re being productive when you sit at your computer all day and simply apply for the positions you find.

Unfortunately, your chances at landing a position through an online job board are small.  In a recent CareerXroads survey, job boards were credited for only 20% of job hires.  However, when you dig a little deeper, you will find another – more depressing – statistic.  When exclusive credit was given to a source of hire, job boards only garnered 4% of the glory.

And that is the crux of the issue.  Recruiters and hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes for every online job ad they place.  Many resumes come from job seekers who are not qualified for the job.  The internet has driven the opportunity cost of applying for a job down to almost zero.   What does this mean?  It means that unqualified job seekers figure they have “nothing to lose” by applying for a job.  Nothing at all….and in many cases they are right.

However, not all of these applications are from people unqualified for the position. Many, in fact, come from job seekers who are just as qualified as you are for the open position.  This means that if you are only using job boards as your sole search vehicle, you are fighting a losing battle to rise above the pack.

So, what are you doing to make yourself stand out?  Are you taking the steps necessary to make yourself (for lack of a better word) attractive to hiring managers?  Have you refined your resume and customized it for every job you applied for?  Have you brushed up on your interview etiquette?  Are you fully prepared to interact with the hiring manager over the phone and via e-mail when the time comes?  If not, visit Snelling’s Candidate Resource Hub to learn how to stand out from the crowded field of applicants.

But, the bigger question is, “are you pursuing all avenues in your job search?”  Are you networking (both offline and online)?  Are you attending job fairs?  Are you working with a staffing firm?  Are you researching and visiting companies’ career sites?  Are you working social media?

You are never going to locate your next job by using any one of these methods exclusively.  When I look back at my career, I have received job offers through the use of a (college) campus career office, networking, company career sites and contingent work.  Now here is the rub.  In not one of these cases, did I land a job through the exclusive use of just one job search method.  For example, a couple of years ago, I was forced to look for a new job due to my spouse’s relocation.  I was able to find a job because a friend of a friend gave me relevant job postings from the company’s internal career site.  These jobs were posted internally first before they were pushed out to the larger, external sites.  So this friend of a friend gave me a huge leg up on the competition.  But, do I give credit to the company’s career site or to my networking skills?  The answer is that I have to give credit to both.  Without the friend of a friend, I would never have gotten access to those jobs.  Without those job postings, I would never have gotten a leg up on the competition.

Job boards – in all their exclusive glory – are not going to cause a job offer to fall into your lap.  Your hard work and determination will.  So sit back and think about how you can leverage all the tools in your arsenal.  Should you

  • ask cohorts for staffing firm recommendations
  • sign up with that firm
  • learn from their tips and tricks and resume help
  • get your foot in the door somewhere?


Should you research the company that you have been assigned to?  Yes. When the job offer is made to you, should you give credit to your networking ability, the staffing firm and your ability to research the company’s career site?


NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.