Using a Job Search Site — and Other Tools — to Find Your Next Position

A computer cursor glove selects the "Browse Jobs" tab on a website

You've filled out an online form, uploaded your resume and cover letter, even spruced up your LinkedIn profile and connected it to your account on the job search site you're using. Now, you're waiting for the interview requests to come rolling in. But is a job board the ticket to landing a new position?

While a job search site may be a great starting point for your employment search, it likely won't drop a new job into your lap the moment you sign up. An effective job search requires multiple tactics and tools. Here are ways you can better use the job boards and boost the overall effectiveness of your job search:

Search with efficiency in mind

While a job search site can be helpful, it isn't foolproof. The number of inquiries you receive from hiring managers will be in proportion to your effort. But you don't want to get stuck in a rut of searching through these sites for hours every day.

To make time spent on a job search site as productive as possible, use any built-in tools to narrow your search as much as possible. Filter by your location, job title, industry type and other criteria. The point is to get deep. You may be able to sort results by their distance from your location, for example, or by the skills or education required. Play around with your options and see which combinations seem to yield the most promising results. Some job search sites allow you to store the criteria you use to filter the listings, so don't forget to save your search preferences.

It's also a good idea to sign up for automatic alerts that notify you when an opportunity that matches your preferences is posted to the site. This will allow you to apply right away and lessens the likelihood that a promising ad goes unnoticed.

Be selective

Keep in mind that not every job search site is the same. In addition to combing through the postings on brand-name job boards, consider niche job sites that focus on certain industries or types of positions.

Also explore aggregators. These services pull job listings from thousands of sites across the Web, including traditional job boards, professional associations and company websites. They’re a good way to amplify your online search.

Explore other tactics

Using a job search site is only one element of an effective job search. Why can't you rely on just the job boards? Because almost every other job seeker is using them too. The numbers simply aren’t in your favor. It's hard to stand out from the crowd and convince an employer you're the best person for the job.

The most effective job hunts rely on job search sites and incorporate the following tactics as well:

  • Networking — By connecting with other professionals online or in person, you're more likely to hear about unadvertised vacancies and land referrals.
  • Direct contact — Reaching out to potential employers directly can be an effective way of catching a hiring manager's attention. Try following company representatives on social media so you can learn of new opportunities and interact directly with decision makers.
  • Staffing firms — Working with a staffing agency can virtually double the effectiveness of your job search. How's that possible? Because the recruiter or staffing manager you work with will be dedicated to finding you a job. He or she spends each day matching job seekers with employers. Staffing firms also often have access to job openings that aren't being promoted publicly. And the best part is that the services of a staffing agency are free for job candidates.

Using a job search site can be effective, but it's not a silver bullet. The most effective job searches involve a mix of tactics — both online and in person.