Posted by: Ed Tittel
business writing, Career development, Career planning, IT careers, job seeking skills, resume writing, soft skills, Work background
If you’ve looked for a job, or even just thought about looking for a job recently, you’ve probably visited one or more of the resume posting sites on the Web. A large number of such operations exist, at the same time that more and more companies are using similar technology to field direct applications from interested parties as well. In today’s blog, I want to explore the pros and cons of using those sites that serve multiple employers (as for those that belong to a specific employer, pros and cons don’t matter: they’re now a fact of working life for anybody who wants to apply for a job nowadays).
Promising All Kinds of Pros, Delivering How Many
If you check out the hype or hyperbole that so many sites surround themselves with, there aren’t many stones that go unturned in their breathless and relentless quest to persuade you to post with them. These range from broad exposure to numerous employers, search capability by geography, job description, pay range, automatic e-mail alerts when new jobs post, plus access to job hunting advice, information, and resources to name just a few. There are even meta-sites (for example, ResumeRabbit.com) where you can upload your resume and broadcast it to over 80 different job search/resume posting Web sites.
Despite all of the aforementioned benefits, the biggest draw for these sites is that they’re convenient, relatively easy to use, and help you get the word out about your availability to a broad and geographically dispersed audience. Even with all their promises of rapid and voluminous response, be warned that your own personal results may vary as and when you use these services, and the quality of your experience will depend on how well you match the target audience and demographic that these sites seek to service.
Considerable Cons Can Pose Problems, or Cause Frustration
If you look closely at the kinds of positions that get filled through these resume posting sites, you’ll observe some interesting phenomena:
- The real action is clustered “down-market,” very much on the entry-level to mid-career side. Once you’ve put 8-10 years or more of service into IT (or whatever trade or industry you work in), opportunities become more scare and responses more sparse whether you use a resume posting site or not
- Flexibility remains the key to success: the more kinds of positions, the wider your acceptable salary range, the greater the geographic area in which you’re willing to accept a job, and so forth, the more likely it is that you’re going to generate a response. Flexibility is another quality that is relatively easier for younger, less encumbered (and experienced) workers to manifest than for older, more encumbered (and experienced) ones.
- Quantity is no substitute for quantity: just because you cover a lot of possible positions you might occupy doesn’t mean you can cut back on the quality of the materials you use to sell yourself through introduction, interview, and selection phases. You still need a strong, well-crafted resume and cover letter, and you need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively about what you can do, why you want to do it, and what appeals to you about any particular position under discussion. A foot in the door is not the same as an offer: that first foot must be followed by lots of quality information and materials to make a worthwhile offer materialize.
- Protect yourself against unwanted disclosure: If you’re currently employed, but also looking for something else, make sure you read and understand the disclosure terms for any information you share with a job site. You may not want to get too public with your resume and other information if your current employer’s recruiters or HR staff can then find you on the Web. They may do so entirely innocently in seeking to fill other positions, but you can rest assured they’ll share this news with your management once they learn about your intentions. Unless you’re ready to go public you may want to keep your postings private, and only make them available on a case-by-case basis when a particularly good match appears through your own online job search efforts.
If you keep these pros and cons in mind, you can make these sites work for you, without wasting too much of your own time, or that of prospective employers you really don’t want to hear from right now. Your consideration will not only pay off with better, more focused results, it may also pay off in the future when your situation changes and you are ready to talk to those employers.