A Fool’s Guide to Using Job Boards
The premise seems simple: sit at home browsing through hundreds of jobs then fire off your CV when you see a role you like the look of. However, the job market is extremely competitive, and employers will receive hundreds of CVs to consider. So, to progress in your job hunt, you need to make sure you’ve done everything possible to ensure you make the cut.
Here are our tips for using a job board.
Update your CV
The majority of job boards require you to upload a CV, and regular updates to this are important. You don’t want to risk leaving out key experiences or skills. Furthermore, grammar and spelling mistakes are still one of the biggest reasons that CVs are rejected, so check – and check again – that yours is free of errors.
Bear in mind that some recruiters will only look at the most recently uploaded CVs when searching a job board for candidates, so regularly updating your CV is another way to increase its visibility.
Not only can keywords help you find the right job, they can also help your application stand out in an applicant tracking system (ATS). Companies will use an ATS to keep previous applications on file and do quick searches when they have a vacancy.
Pick some of the keywords from the job description and add them to the personal summary on your CV.
Don’t just do the minimum
Job boards enable you to apply for roles with the greatest of ease, and the temptation is often to ignore the “additional information” option and settle for the bare minimum. This can be a big mistake. Give yourself a chance to stand out from the crowd and make that extra bit of effort in your application.
Tailor your CV and application
Make sure that you change your CV to display the skills and attributes that are most relevant for each individual role. It is often these distinguishing factors that can be a deal-breaker for an employer. Copying and pasting an application is a sure-fire way to get rejected – and there’s nothing worse than addressing the wrong employer.
When searching a job website, it’s not just about typing in your ideal job title and hoping for the best. First, you should always restrict the search by location, so you don’t get a slew of jobs in other regions or countries.
Second, don’t just use job titles as your keywords. Searching for skills instead can help you find jobs you may not have thought to look at.
Last, searching by abbreviations can narrow down your job search, particularly if your industry is known to shorten a job title. For example, “quantity surveyor” may be listed as “QS”.
You can try out different searches on RICS Recruit and see how the results vary.
With potentially hundreds of applications for each vacancy, you want to make sure yours is ahead of the competition. Sending in an application early shows you’re keen and excited about the role, more than anything you can write in a cover letter.
A great way to get ahead is to sign up to job alerts so you get emailed as soon as relevant jobs are posted. Just remember not to sacrifice quality for speed.
Don’t apply to everything
While it may seem tempting to send your CV out to every employer who advertises, you can also end up shooting yourself in the foot. The best strategy is to choose the jobs that are right for you and take your time with each application. Think more sniper rifle, less shotgun.