First, to clarify – there is a difference between a job board and a job search engine, although some sites (ie Indeed) function as both. A job board is a website where companies / employers list available jobs. They may post the information themselves, or submit the details for posting. Some job boards are free to use (for both employers and job searchers) whilst others are paid. Monster is one of the biggest job boards out there.
Job search engines on the other hand are, as the name suggests, search engines. They comb the Internet looking for listed vacancies on job boards and/or company websites. SimplyHired for example is a job search engine, as is LinkUp. These sites collate hundreds of thousands of vacancies, although LinkUp only looks on company websites, not job boards.
Both job boards and search engines can be very effective ways to find jobs but many people make the mistake of spending hours combing through the listed vacancies. The experts will tell you this is not the most effective way to spend your precious job-hunting time, plus the competition via online applications is usually huge. Think thousands of applications for a single job!
Is one better than the other? Search engines offer a wider range of job postings than job boards, but it can be time consuming sorting through them as there will be duplicate listings for the same jobs, and some jobs may have already been filled. On the other hand, the better search engines have effective search parameters that will considerably narrow the search – you can search by industry, country, position, salary range, and so on. However, as always with search engines, the information returned is only as good as the information in the ad so if the ad is too vague and non-specific, it may show up in your search regardless of whether it's relevant or not. There are also industry specific, and career specific, job search engines – JobsOnTheMenu (hospitality industry) and Green Job Bank (environment related positions) are 2 that spring to mind.
Job boards on the other hand can offer more targeted search results but may require registration, and even paid registration at that. You may also have to contend with advertisements and a continual flow of spam to your inbox…. However, there are also very niche specific job boards around (like CareerMine), which makes it much easier to find what you're looking for. Here for instance is a list of mining related job boards
– some of the major miners and industry recruitment agencies use some of these sites to list their vacancies as well as having their own job boards on their company web sites.
Which is more effective?
Most recruiters recommend using a combination of both, plus networking. Job boards and job search engines should be just part of a multi-pronged approach to your job search. As a rule of thumb, you probably should only be spending around a tenth of your time using these tools because, in reality, they actually account for a very minor percentage of job hires. You should also make a point of using several of each, as none of these platforms will list every single available job.
Should you use niche or broad job boards and search engines? Again, the most effective strategy is to use both to ensure you're getting a wide coverage of results. Like we mentioned earlier, some job descriptions may be too vague to get picked up by a niche search engine. You may start out with one of the big guns, like Indeed or SimplyHired. Both have advanced search filters or sections catering specifically for the mining industry. You can even filter the results down to individual companies, if you're looking for a job with a particular miner. Indeed has the functionality to search on salary ranges whilst SimplyHired also allows you to search via even more narrow filters ie 'dog friendly' employers if your pet pooch likes to go to work with you. Also try typing in your qualifications and areas of expertise to see what eventuates.
Don't spend a huge amount of time with the big guys though. Relevant niche job boards and search engines may not list as many jobs but what jobs they do list are more likely to be highly relevant to your search.
Where job boards and search engines really come in handy is as a precursor for networking, and it's networking that really reaps the rewards when it comes to landing the right job! Some sources, like this LinkedIn survey
, say the figure is as high as 85%. In other words, around 85% of jobs are filled, not through job boards, advertising, or search engines, but by networking. However, those tools are important for helping you network.
It's also networking that will uncover the 'hidden jobs'. These vacancies are never published online or made public. Figures stating that around 70-80% of available jobs are 'hidden' have been debunked but nonetheless, the fact remains that a lot of jobs are only found by word of mouth ie by networking. Networking is so important in fact that search engines like SimplyHired have a tool that will connect you with LinkedIn. Once you've logged into your LinkedIn account, any job at a company where you have a 'connection' via LinkedIn will be flagged. The tool even shows you how many 1st degree LI connections you have at those companies. 'View all connections' will open up a session of LinkedIn and you can then see all your 1st and 2nd degree LI connections to the jobs. Other sites have similar tools for other social media platforms – Glassdoor for instance will show you all your Facebook friends, and their FB friends, who work at companies with positions available.
Tools like these make it easy to contact your contacts to find out if a job is still available, how to apply for it, and so on. To more effectively network, in other words! You can also search for jobs listed on LinkedIn as well; sometimes these jobs aren't picked up by the search engines or listed on job boards so the only place you'll find them is on LI.
In addition to handy tools like these, it also pays to research company websites directly. If you do this regularly, you should spot new job listings before they have a chance to get picked up by search engines. Craigslist is another potential source, especially if you're specifically looking for local positions.
What makes an effective job search campaign?
Those in the 'know' recommend spending around 10% of your time checking online sources, 80% networking and directly reaching out to the people who are doing the hiring, and 10% contacting headhunters. The 10% spent online looking up job boards and using search engines should be done largely with a view to obtaining the information you'll need to network. Job boards are also helpful for tweaking your resume. Have a look at the most common key words and phrases advertisers are using, then consider modifying your resume to include those 'buzz' words.