There are so many job search sites on the Internet, including Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, and Indeed.com, that it’s hard to know where to turn. Which ones are best? What’s the best way to use them?

Job boards are fantastic tools, as long as you think of them as tools and not solutions. What should you use them for?

  • Research: When you are just starting out and trying to articulate your next-job goal, use job boards to find 10 job descriptions that meet your criteria. Don’t apply!  Print them, spread them out on a table or the floor, and study them. Highlight the key words used and learn how to “speak the language.” This analysis will help you create your cover letters and may trigger word edits you want to make on your résumé. For example: if your target industry or function uses “business development” in their job descriptions, yet you have “sales development” in your résumé, change it!
  • Opportunities: Eliminate the excuse that “there are no jobs out there.” You will not only find that there are thousands of jobs, but that there are more than enough that you are qualified for. Remember, we hiring managers write job descriptions for the perfect person, someone who does not exist. Don’t rule yourself out if you meet 80% of the requirements!
  • Application: Even though networking is the best way to get your credentials on the hiring manager’s desk, you also need to go through the formal application system for the jobs you want. So do apply and log those applications in your Job Search Tracker so you can follow up.

There are so many job boards out there, including many specializing in niches, such as part time, health care, or even candidates with government security clearance! I’ve compiled a free resource guide to help you get started. Glassdoor.com is also a great free resource for salary information and much more. Don’t forget the jobs listed on your local Business Journal website under “Jobs”!