internet job boards – wasted effort?

loaded for bear

I have tried, over the years, to post my resume to job boards for both traditional jobs and contract positions.
I’ve also tried to get hourly consulting work through various boards, too.  I have landed jobs through the (now) unlikely source of, for example.  In 2000 I got a job through  But can you find a job through a job board today?

I’ve tried a number of boards recently, for jobs, contract consulting and “pure” consulting.  A short list:


That’s just a sampling.  I left out a few, though, which have provided me with far better leads, more calls and more interviews:


Those sites are “social media” sites and I’ve found that you’re far, far more likely to land a job via LinkedIn than via monster because of the quality of the connection. Someone who can refer you via LinkedIn can actually get your resume in front of an HR manager.  Your reference won’t be a recruiter.  Your contact will be an employee.

When I was in charge of hiring for my audit group a few years ago, I was given the OK to advertise for the position online, more as an experiment than anything. I set up a employer account and used a freshly-created Hotmail account to collect submitted resumes.  After a few days of receiving a few resumes, I started to receive dozens.  Then several dozens.  Wading through the misplaced and poorly written resumes every morning became a tedious (and fruitless) project.

I can’t see how job board submissions can be effective when I recall myself; the harried professional trying to skim 36 resumes before beginning his “real” work that day. I have to suspect that most of the time, the person reading the resumes and cover letters submitted via job boards are skimmed for seconds, not minutes, and the effort of the applicant is wasted.

Social media, on the other hand, connects me quickly with people who are wiling to talk to me because someone they know (and presumably trust) said they knew me and liked my work. I think sites like LinkedIn will be increasingly important in the job search universe, and the idea that a massive searchable database with my inexpertly written resume buried in it will result in a job for me seems quaint.

The future of work will be connectivity – networking, in person and online – and not the traditional advertise-submit-review pattern. It’s another one of those culture shifts that’s happened slowly enough that we won’t notice  it – but it will happen.  Even obtaining contract and hourly work will be more complicated.  But working within the system is a challenge, and probably always will be.

photo credit: striatic

25 Replies to “internet job boards – wasted effort?”

  1. I think it depends. My brother-in-law just landed his dream job (after a layoff) through Monster. And I've hired for positions posted through Monster, too. In some cases, a Monster posting means that the employer has exhausted his usual channels and needs to find fresh candidates.

    I think your point about resumes is powerful, though – when I was hiring, I would look at the stack trying to find reasons to toss some candidates into the “no” pile. You just can't interview 15 to 20 people every time. And if I got a phone call from a colleague encouraging me to look at a particular candidate? That person went into my “yes” pile, pretty much every time. I think, as job seekers, it is easy to panic and bulk mail out resumes, when something carefully tailored to the position is far more likely to succeed.

    And I think it is important to never, ever overlook your personal, in-the-flesh contacts. I just received an offer for a job that I heard about – literally – in my church's basement after services one Sunday. In my field, social media is not quite where it should be, and I can't imagine landing a job through, say, Twitter or a blog. But when they find out I speak social media? That's a plus in nearly every field.

  2. My husband got his current job off craigslist, of all places. Networking has got me every job I've ever had so I've never dived into monster etc, but it sure does seem to disillusion people. We also hire here through word of mouth, our ads never seem to hit the mark, even in trade publications.

    I've just started using linkedin and find it pretty good so far, I'm not sure why I waited so long to sign up. Drop me a line Steve if you'd like a Canada-based quantity surveyor in your network!

  3. I agree that social media is the new job board. It makes networking so much easier to do and connect with tons of new people. Jobs board are tough. Being a recent college grad I used the job boards and found there to be a lot of crap on them. For entry level jobs its tough, for others, maybe better. The best job board I found was craigslist but that's because it's not a recruiter really and those are directly posted from the company. Social media and making connections will help out much more.

  4. Agreed, resumes passed along by people you know have a much better chance of success. In Europe, companies large and small still work very extensively with recruiters to get people in.

  5. I'm surprise that twitter got you a lead

    I hate Monster– toooo many people are on there making impossible, I did very well with since I'm in the technology field

  6. I don't think it's a waste effort at all, I have been very lucky in this, thanks for the post, I appreciate it.

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  8. I'm looking for work in a field where I have no contacts, in a location where I have few contacts. Job boards and craigslist are my only leads, at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd gladly hear them! 🙂

    1. @StephaniePTY: I'm somewhat in the same boat, so my suggestion is to keep hitting job boards, but also if possible to start joining groups in that field if you can; or just join civic/social/whatever groups in the location and start meeting people! It's hard to do, I know. I'm searching remotely so it's not possible physically, but I am joining and staying active in online groups in that area in my field (Institute of Internal Auditors, Financial Executives Networking Group, etc. – in my case). If I was trying to become a nurse or a mechanic I'd find groups in those areas.

      Good luck, I sympathize!

    2. I have tested the waters these last few months trying to re-enter the job market (I'm a stay at home mom). IMy background is IT with a focus in EDI…as you know in technology it moves forward with or without you, its been 5 years…

      I am looking at changing fields but to what I am torn with, money and time are important to me, I have been home “working” as as real estate investor for about 4 years and have gained tons of knowledge from finance, rehabs, development and construction (small multifamily) – but with this market that's no longer an option. So it's back to the drawing board what career am I going to choose? I have to get it right this time!

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  10. I completely agree. LinkedIn is very effective for advertising / hiring / finding a job. Once I advertised on Monster and got 600 (!) responses. There was no way in hell I was going to go through all those. I ended up hiring a recruiter instead.

    I can't believe folks still try to send their resume online.

    If anything, you can use online boards to find out which jobs are available, and then try to network your way into an interview, rather than sending your resume into the Internet black hole…

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  12. I think it depends on the job board. Some mega boards (I won't mention the names but we can all fill in the blanks) have been caught taking old jobs and reposting them AND doubling current postings. An obsession of quantity, not quality. Have you given a shot yet?

  13. I think it depends on the job board. Some mega boards (I won't mention the names but we can all fill in the blanks) have been caught taking old jobs and reposting them AND doubling current postings. An obsession of quantity, not quality. Have you given a shot yet?

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