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May 13, 2009

Why job boards should be dropped from your job hunting regime

When I was a lad I used to get the Saturday newspaper every week without fail. This was the one with all the jobs in it. The one which I could use to try to fathom what was happening with the local job markets, who was hiring, for which roles, and what skills they needed.

It was invaluable training for the proactive career management I have practiced ever since then.

After a while this time honored tradition was replaced by regular checking of online job boards. In fact job boards such as and (In Australia) all but replaced the job classifieds in newspapers. At least they did for me and I cant recall the last time I bought a newspaper for a professional appointment.

You could set up email alerts for very specific roles, and even apply online. (Imagine that!)

But after a while, it all got very tired.

When you advertise within a state or a city, you get local interest, local applications and there is a limit to the flood of resumes, even during hard times.

But the internet knows no boundaries. From my home in Newcastle, Australia I can apply for jobs all over the globe if I like. And definitely all over Australia.

...and so can everybody else....

So suddenly there are a flood of opportunities, not all of which are strictly relevant. And there are also a flood of people applying for them, not all of who are strictly relevant.

It was convenient, but started to become like the online version of pouring through the classified ads.

Overwhelming information, overwhelming responses to candidate hunters, overwhelming choice for employers... and when the number of decisions is too great - people choose not to decide!

Bad though that is, there is yet another reason why job boards are destined for the scrap heap of history...

Ever heard someone say that "80% of jobs aren't advertised"?

In fact every single survey I have ever seen on the issue, and my own career history, supports the fact that the best candidates, and the best jobs are sourced through professional networks.

And, although great in their short time to shine, don't have "networks" - just jobs.

Enter the social media phenomena. LinkedIn contains the profiles of most people who matter in the business world today. From Bill Gates to John McCain and from the technician through to the CEO of most companies.

Everyone is there, everyone is connecting, and everyone is starting to get the idea that LinkedIn is a 24/7 trade show that everybody came to.

Alongside my profile I have jobs that relate to my main area of work.

I can search for significant people who are within my industry sectors and connected to me in some way.

Or I can peruse the groups I belong to - checking for relevant jobs in my area.

Recruiters can plumb the depths of their relationships to try to source the most suitable candidates, rather than troweling the job seekers market with a big net like a newspaper classified or Job Board post.

In fact the value of a recruiter in todays market can be directly linked (and now measured) to the breadth and depth of their sector or discipline specific network connections.

They can check recommendations in an instant, search for potential referees, and check out the candidates work history; all before they even establish contact with them!

And when they do they have one distinct advantage. This person isn't moving because they are disgruntled, unhappy, disappointed or looking for a step up. So any move for them will be positive with decidedly less baggage. Brilliant!

Job boards are suffering the same fate at the hands of LinkedIn and Twitter (to a lesser extent) that they did to Newspaper job ads less than ten years ago. I am sure there are still great jobs out there on job boards... but the odds of finding a great job, and being accepted for it are far FAR smaller than if it comes through your own network of trusted resources, contacts and connections.

Have you had any similar experiences vis a vis Job Boards and LinkedIn in particular?