When times are tough, job hunters face increasing pressure to find a job. Many people think job boards are a good way to find work; but how well do they really work? How many people find jobs using them? And is there anything that can go wrong if you use them?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, aside from doing a nice job for very young entry level job seekers, the big job boards do not work at all well. It has been repeatedly documented over the years that the success rate for big job boards like Monster is around 2%. And unless the job hunter refreshes his or her resume weekly, it will effectively disappear after 10 days. At the fall 2008 Kennedy Recruiting conference attended by hundreds of HR professionals and recruiters, most agreed that the big job boards will soon be extinct because they do such an inefficient and ineffective job of matching the right people with the right job. For high end jobs, the experts recommend niche boards such as execunet.com or at the lower end, transparent boards like craigslist.com.

Another problem is that what appear to be job postings, particularly high paying jobs, often turn out to be nothing more than disguised pitches for career services. According to another Wall Street Journal article, instead of being interviewed for a Vice-Presidential position, Tom Greene “found himself once again listening to a pitch for a career service, without any prospect of a job.”

Finally, there is much that can go wrong if you post your resume on a job board. For one thing there is a security issue. Even if you just post your phone number, if it’s a listed land line, that posting enables anybody to find your address. If your resume says you are still in a job, you have just told the world that you are not at home from 9-5.

Does that mean that job boards should be ignored? No: but use them carefully. Choose the best job boards for your particular situations. Surf them to discover jobs that match your qualifications then research the company and apply to them. Also send your resume to professional recruiters in your field who advertise there. But don’t post your resume on them.

The best way to find a job is still the one less traveled. Determine your target companies by careful research then network, network, network. Finally send in a short inquiry letter supported by a well written resume.

As one of the above cited Wall Street Journal articles concluded, the best advice on using job boards is “Don’t put too much time into [job boards. Instead invest] heavily in networking, in person and online.”

Author's Bio: 

Tim Cunningham is a Certified Professional Resume Writer based in Vancouver, Canada.