5 Ways a Job Board-Focused Search Will Ruin Your Job Hunt

Whether you apply for jobs via job board sites like Indeed or Simply Hired, LinkedIn (which imports job leads from Simply Hired), or recruiter or employer websites, your submissions face the same hurdles. Take a look at what I mean in this short slideshow, then continue reading below for some strategic how-to suggestions.

If you’re serious about conducting a serious job hunt for your next career opportunity and want to do a thorough job of it, you will need to (a) avoid job boards altogether, (b) leverage a networking approach to your submissions, or (c) combine this job search strategy with others to increase the overall effectiveness of your hunt.

If you decide on options (a) or (c), it will help to know a bit more about alternative job hunt strategies, so here is a quick description of each with a few statistics.

The Low-Down on the Top 4 Non-Job Board Job Hunt Strategies


By far and away the most successful job search strategy, networking, whether online or offline, leads to interviews more than 85% of the time. The important thing to recognize, though, is that networking is much more involved than what most job seekers recognize.

It’s more than one, two, or three mass emails to everyone you know. It’s more than asking people you’re connected to for job leads. It’s more than asking one or two people for introductions to hiring managers. Job search networking is organic and iterative and unless you already do it as part of your work or have done it in a previous job hunt, you probably need to learn more before you try it.Job Search Marketing Plan

Company Targeting

Also leading to interviews more than 85% of the time, this strategy is a specialized form of networking that involves building connections in a target company, forging relationships with those connections, then leveraging those relationships to get your foot in the door and kickstart a phone call or face-to-face meeting to explore the match between your candidacy and the needs of the company.

Notice the progression here: build connections > forge relationships > leverage relationships > exploratory discussions. Like networking itself, this strategy is also organic and iterative, meaning it will take on a life of its own and each encounter will lead to more.Get your foot in the door with target companies

Thought Leadership

No stats are available on this technique that I am aware of, but thought leadership in a job search context refers to the act of employing some combination of writing, media interviews, and social media posts to boost your visibility in your target industries.

While job search thought leadership often involves status updates, discussion posts, or articles on LinkedIn, it can also include Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites relevant to your industry. Additionally, it can also include blogs, journals, or online magazines in your targeted sectors.job seeker thought leadership

Spot Opportunity Pursuits

This is probably the strategy you’re least aware of as most job seekers aren’t familiar with the term. The name refers to the fact that, if you pay attention to the publically available information on a target company or person (LinkedIn profiles, social media posts, blogs, press releases, etc.), sooner or later you will come across something you can make use of and follow up with a message, email, or letter.

In other words, by keeping your eyes open and focused on your target people and companies, you can “spot” opportunities or openings for you to potentially get your foot in the door and jumpstart an exploratory discussion. Social media, blogging, and search engines all make this technique much easier than it used to be. By it’s nature it, too, is organic and iterative, and worthy of consideration if you have a solid history of measurable achievements behind you.spot opportunity job search strategy

Recruiters, Headhunters & Executive Search Consultants

These terms are all (mostly) interchangeable and all refer to the act of being recruited by a third party hired by a company to help them source relevant candidates for an open position. Recruiters come in different flavors (retained versus contingency), levels (non-management, management, or executive), and industries, but because they are targeted by job seekers, they tend to be overwhelmed by great candidates at any given moment.

Which is why this strategy tends to lead to interviews only 20-25% of the time. It’s not that you should necessarily avoid this strategy, but if you employ it, you will need to build relationships with recruiters to get on their radar. Like the job board strategy, this one requires some extra work to make it more effective and/or should be blended with one or more of the aforementioned options for best results (i.e., the most interviews).senior executive job seekers

As is probably evident by now, there’s a lot more to job searching in the 21st century than getting your resume and LinkedIn profile ready for prime time, which is why having a job search coach can make such a difference to your job hunt success. Unless you already know how to do the above, you will likely need to learn it and the question is how to go about doing so.

You have options — blog posts/articles from experts, e-books and print books, in-person and online classes, or 1:1 or group job search coaching. Which way will you learn best? Which method will shorten your search? Which method will fit best in your budget?

If you find that you need coaching support or want expert guidance via an online workbook that provides step-by-step how-to instructions with templates for all of the above job search strategies (including the best way to submit your resume to job boards), schedule a no-cost, no-obligation phone consultation with me to review your options.

About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.