by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., and Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Posting resumes to job boards is one of the major activities that job-seekers pursue on the current job-search scene, and questions persist about how to post most effectively, how to get results, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls of posting. Here are the answers to the major questions:
How can I determine the best places to post my resume?
At least 40,000 job boards -- where job-seekers can post one or more versions of their resumes -- are available.
But before you jump onto your computer, develop a strategy for deciding which job boards will be best for your job search.
There are five basic types of job boards/job sites:
- National Job Boards. There's Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and the LiveCareer job board. These sites have a massive number of job listings and resume postings. See our top 10 job boards.
- Regional, Geographic-Specific Job Boards. Just about every region, every state, and every major metropolitan area has one or more "local" job boards. If you are looking for a job in a specific location, then using one or more of these job boards makes sense. Navigate your way through geographic-specific job boards.
- Industry- or Profession-Specific Job Boards. These so-called niche sites have often been cited as more effective than the major job boards. Recruiters claim they get better results going to a marketing job site than when posting the same job on a general job board. Jeff Dickey-Chasins of The Job Board Doctor notes that posting your resume on these niche job boards "can be very important for certain sectors." Just about every industry and profession, from white to blue collar, has at least one job board. Check out these industry-specific job boards.
- Company Career Centers. More and more employers are expanding their corporate Websites to include job listings and the capability to accept resumes from job-seekers. These sites often have other great information about the employer, such as articles on its corporate culture, benefits, career tracks, and more. So, if you have a short list of employers (for example, from Fortune's Best Companies to Work For), check out The LiveCareer Company Insights and Overview.
- Social Job Boards. These are venues with primarily social functions that are also heavily used by recruiters and other hiring decision-makers to find candidates. The best example is LinkedIn.
When given the option of posting my resume and responding to job-board ads nationally or locally, which should I choose?
The major job boards can be more effective if you localize your search.
A career counselor for a state employment agency can find better response rates by avoiding out-of-state calls. Begin by sending out a letter of introduction to businesses posting job-board ads for positions in you own state. Explore geographically specific job boards.
With so many job boards out there, how can I save time in posting my resume to all of these boards?
Try one-stop shopping. If you want to leave no stone unturned and use as many online job boards as possible, you can save a lot of time by going to a site with links to large numbers of job boards.
Best Job Sites for Job-Seekers, with links to more than 900 job sites, is an excellent starting point. Most of these sites boast both job postings and the opportunity to post your resume. And if you include our employer career center links, LiveCareer links to more than 1,000 sites where you can search for -- and apply to -- jobs. Check out our directory of all the mega job boards.
What contact information should I include on my resume submission to job boards?
Because of the risk of identity theft, job-seekers today are advised to limit contact information to Website address/URL (if available), online profile links, city and state only (no street address), a single phone number (no second/third number, no fax number), and a single email address.
But once you've done that, be sure you respond when the employer contacts you. Writing in The Gladiator, a job-search "survival" newsletter, Shanna Kemp, a former recruiter, notes: "I cannot count the number of potential candidates I contacted who simply never emailed or called back. As a recruiter, I assume that if the candidate doesn't call or email in return, they are no longer interested in employment and put them on my "uninterested" list. Also, many recruiters are searching for candidates to fill a position that is currently open and being interviewed for; if you don't respond quickly, someone else will, and they will be hired."
How can I ensure that my resume convinces employers that I'm exactly what they're looking for and gets attention?
Keywords, keywords, keywords.
Be sure that your resume includes copious industry-specific keywords, and when responding to job postings, pack your resume with actual verbiage from the postings.
Include keywords on your resume so they'll be sure to be picked up by the employer's keyword-searchable software. For more about how to identify and use keywords, see our article, Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume's Effectiveness and use our Resume Keywords Worksheet.
Carefully weave keywords into the resume so that it still reads like English. Just plugging a resume full of keywords is not good -- it will get you to show up in the searches, but then your resume will not rank highly because of the way it's written."
Another way to get attention is to send your resume (with a cover letter) by postal mail to the employer simultaneously with your job-board submission. You'll grab attention because it's becoming less and less common to send resumes through snail mail.
Does it matter how quickly I respond to job postings on job boards?
While this question might seem to have an obvious answer, it's worth emphasizing that speed is of the essence.
For any who may have doubted the importance of acting quickly, a study by Startwire of more than 6,600 hires across 10 industries show that of those hired, 27 percent applied within the first two days after a job was posted, and nearly 50 percent of the hires were applicants who applied within the first week.
How often should update my resume submissions to the boards?
The way the system works dictates frequent updates.
Kemp, who suggests weekly updates, writes, "I was trained to search only for candidates who had posted in the past 24 hours first (and I always found several) then work my way back to a week." Some experts suggest as often as daily. Dickey-Chasins agrees with Kemp that weekly should be adequate. For many sites, he says, refreshing your resume weekly "will pop you to the top of the list of 'fresh' resumes."
But a big caveat here is to be cautious about how much time you're spending updating and re-submitting your resume to the job boards.
Using job boards are not necessarily the most effective way to find a job to begin with, so make sure you don't let these resume-updating activities swallow up all your precious job-hunting time.
Mix up your job-search techniques in proportion to the effectiveness of the various methods -- including networking, which is generally recognized as the best method.
It's also a good idea to check the policies of the boards you're posting to regarding how long they keep your resume active. Even if you don't update your resume submission frequently, you'll want to make sure it's still active on the boards.
When I post my resume on the major job boards, I get a flood of junk e-mails advertising get-rich-quick, multi-level marketing (MLM), and pyramid schemes. How can I avoid that?
One solution is to obtain a "throwaway" e-mail address from a provider such as Gmail or Outlook for use during job searching and then terminating the account after the search is complete to stave off these types of unwanted e-mail solicitations."
"If a job board has a lot of non-job ads, Google AdWords, etc., it's probably more likely to sell your name and resume," points out Dickey-Chasins, "and thus you'll get more junk mail. In general, focus on the job boards that are specific to your location and profession. Be careful not to 'accidentally' opt-in by leaving a box checked when you're uploading your resume. Read all forms before submitting."
And the big job boards really owe it to users to tell what they're doing to prevent job-seekers from being subjected to inappropriate solicitations and misrepresentation.
Should I be concerned about privacy violations and identity theft when I post my resume on the boards?
Unfortunately, yes, according to some studies.
Pam Dixon, head of the World Privacy Forum, warns that many job sites still let too much information from resumes posted online get into the hands of third parties through online "cookies" that monitor Web surfing.
"Although job boards have made strides in protecting privacy," Dickey-Chasins says, "there is still a risk of having your information stolen. Think about it -- if credit card companies, who devote vast amounts of money, staff, and time to preventing identity theft, still have breaches, then you can assume the same will happen on occasion with a job board. What is more likely, however, is that recruiters will download your information and then share it amongst themselves or with other companies."
To help prevent these violations, Dixon offers Privacy Tips for Online Job Seekers.
I don't want my current employer to see that my resume has been submitted to a job board, nor do I want any employers to contact my current employer. What can I do?
The most reputable job boards offer "confidential" settings. Select the identity-revealing information that you want blocked out.
Some boards enable you to set up an e-mail account with them so you don't have to reveal your real e-mail address. And to keep employers from contacting your current employer, substitute "confidential" or "current employer" for the name of your employer on your resume or resume-submission form.
I've already tried most of the suggestions in this FAQ, and I'm still not getting good results. Are there any untapped promising areas or new trends in online resume submission?
A relatively untapped venue is professional organizations. Not only do they often have job ads for your specific field, but professional organizations were ranked as the No. 1 networking venue in the survey we did for our book, A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market.
Access many professional organizations through this section of Quintessential Careers: General Professional Organizations and Associations.
Another technique -- which hardly represents a new trend but is not used often enough -- is to follow-up. It's not always easy to obtain contact information for an employer to which you're submitting your resume online, but it can be done, and your persistence can pay off. Even if you receive a rejection letter or e-mail, follow up to indicate continued interest in the employer.
I've posted my resume to just about every job board imaginable -- even in areas I wasn't really qualified for -- just to cover all the bases. But I'm still not getting good results. What am I doing wrong?
Don't submit your resume indiscriminately. Adding to the overwhelming volume of resumes employers receive online is a plethora of resumes sent for jobs the job-seeker is not remotely qualified for.
If you think you're covering all bases by responding to zillions of job postings, think again. You do yourself no favors by adding to the clutter that employers must weed through.
Managing the information glut that results from the bombardment of resumes is a major headache for employers. Some job-seekers think that even if they're not qualified, the employer will realize how much they have to offer and match them up with other company job openings.
Given the sheer volume of resumes and the speed of the screening process, the chances of such a match occurring are beyond remote, so don't waste the employer's time or your own.
"Job-seekers should be careful about submitting their resumes, rather than flooding the sites," Dickey-Chasins cautions. "If your resume pops up for all sorts of job applications, recruiters will notice -- but not in a good way. Only apply for those jobs for which you are qualified."
Maximize your career and job-search knowledge and skills! Take advantage of the Career Resources Toolkit for Jobseekers from LiveCareer, which enables site visitors to locate articles, tutorials, FAQs, and worksheets in 35 career, college, job-search topic areas.
Additional Resources for Jobseekers:
- Guide to Job Interviewing Resources and Tools
- How to Write a Resume: Expert Answers 19 Common Questions
- LiveCareer Free Resume Builder
- 13 Best Resume Designs of 2018
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her Ph.D in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market, as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes. With Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., she also authored Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Study Skills. Visit her personal website. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.