How to use job boards effectively

You may have heard of job boards, but do you know how to use one effectively?

Whether you know them as a job board or a job site, these online job hunting platforms should be an essential component to your job search strategy.

Here’s everything you need to know about job boards and how to use them to aid your search.

What is a job board?

Job boards sit pretty much at the top of the recruitment chain in terms of advertising jobs and many job hunters mistake them for recruitment agencies. This is no bad thing because their purposes do overlap.

Job boards have two main purposes.

The first purpose

The first is to host vacancies on behalf of recruitment agencies and employers. This is to give job postings as much visibility as possible and increase the chances of job hunters finding the jobs and applying.

As a result, when searching for jobs, you’ll see thousands of roles on job boards from all kinds of employers and recruitment agencies. If you’re using multiple job boards to aid your search, you might even see the same vacancies cropping up. This is because employers are trying to increase the exposure of their job and find their next hire by putting their vacancies on several job boards.

The second purpose

The second purpose of a job board is to help those seeking employment find a job. Job hunters can search through thousands of adverts on a job board from agencies and employers and apply directly via the job board.

To apply for the job, all you have to do is register with the job board, upload your CV and click apply.

It really is that simple.

How can a job board help me find a job?

Job boards can help you find a job in a couple of different ways. Let’s explore:

Search and apply for jobs

There are many job boards out there to help you find a new position. Some are generalist, like CV-Library, and are therefore intended for all job hunters of all ages. Others are industry or level-specific.

The beauty is you can use as many job boards as you like to aid your search for free. You also don’t need to register with the job board until you want to apply for a job advertised on their site. However, we strongly recommend registering and uploading your CV as you’ll receive many additional benefits.

Get headhunted

Once you register and upload your CV to a job board, your CV will enter what’s called a CV database. Recruitment agencies and employers paying to use the job board’s services will be able to view your CV via the database and may contact your if they think you’re suitable for one of their vacancies.

This is a huge benefit to your job search as recruiters are effectively carrying out the job search for you!

If you’d rather not receive calls out of the blue regarding brand new job opportunities, there is the option to hide your CV. If you choose to hide your CV, recruiters using the database won’t be able to view your CV, but you’ll still be able to apply for jobs if you wish.

Tips for success

Now that you’re familiar with how job boards work and how they benefit your search, here’s how to use one effectively.

Conduct a job search with Boolean

Job boards are great for looking for a job because you can get specific with your search. When conducting a search, you can input a range of criteria such as: keywords, job title, location, distance, salary, job type, industry and the date the advert was posted.

But getting clever with the criteria you’re inputting and conducting a Boolean search will help you limit, widen or define it.

To conduct a Boolean search, all you need to do is combine keywords and phrases relevant to your search with the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT, “speech marks” and (brackets).

Here are some examples to get your started:

AND e.g. marketing AND Cardiff

This will retrieve jobs containing both of these keywords.

OR e.g. Cardiff OR Bristol

This will retrieve jobs containing one of the keywords entered.

NOT e.g. Cardiff NOT Bristol

This search will retrieve jobs containing Cardiff, but not if they also mention Bristol.

“…” speech marks e.g. “marketing assistant”

This will retrieve jobs containing the phrase marketing assistant. It won’t pull jobs with the phrase marketing, or assistant, or assistant marketing. Only jobs featuring the key phrase “marketing assistant” in that order.

(…) brackets e.g. marketing AND (Cardiff OR Bristol)

This search will retrieve jobs if they feature marketing and one of the keywords contained in the brackets.

Here’s a complex example to keep you on your toes:

If you’re looking for a marketing executive or a PR job

“marketing exec” OR “marketing consultant” OR “marketing and PR exec” OR “marketing and communications exec” OR “marketing professional” OR “marketing and communications professional” OR “marketing and public relations exec” OR “marketing and public relations professional”

While Boolean searches can look intense, with a bit of practise, you’ll be an expert in no time.

Optimise your CV with keywords

If you really want to use job boards effectively, you should also optimise your CV with industry keywords.

As said earlier, recruiters use the job board’s CV database to find job hunters perfect for their roles. However, they are unlikely to find your CV if you haven’t referenced relevant keywords. And that’s because recruiters are carrying out Boolean searches too.

If your CV is full of searchable keywords related to the job you’re looking for, for example “Bristol”, “Cardiff”, “marketing” or “PR”, recruiters with matching roles will find you and contact you with a great opportunity in no time.

Set up Job Alerts

Once you’re registered with a job board, you can set up this useful feature called a Job Alert. Job Alerts email you brand new vacancies matching your criteria. They essentially do the searching for you.

For example, if you’re looking for a marketing job in Cardiff, your Job Alert may contain the criteria “marketing” AND “Cardiff”.

With Job Alerts, you can keep an eye on certain locations, industries and job titles and you can set them up with a range of combinations. You’ll never miss a job again!

Discover useful career advice

Job boards are with you every step of the way when it comes to looking for a job via their career advice blogs. Plus, their advice is written by experts, so you know it’s advice you can trust.

If you’re looking for a job, you’ll find a range of job search, CV and interview tips. If you’re looking to progress in your career, there’s a whole host of information on career development and career changes. Job boards’ career advice pages also cater to those satisfied with their jobs through articles on work life matters and practices.

About the author: Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

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