Are you looking for your first job? Maybe you already have a job, but you’re tired of earning less than you deserve? You want to make career progress, but you don’t see a bright future on the position you’re currently at?
You need to start hunting for a job.
So what do you do at this point?
This would be your first instinct: go through job boards, ASAP! You’ll be going through Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, and all local job boards you can find. You actually find a sweet ad and you get really excited about applying.
But then a sudden thought comes up: “Shouldn’t I apply directly through the company’s website? Isn’t that a better way to get noticed?”
This dilemma is real. You do have two options, and your resume will be accepted either way. What should you do?
What Happens When You Apply through a Job Board?
Job boards were your first thought because of a single reason: they are convenient. They hold several ads under the category of your interest. So you don’t have to go from one website to another, trying to see if there’s an open position you could fill in.
But when you apply through a job board, where does your resume end up? – In the company’s applicant tracking system.
The applicant tracking system (ATS) is software that the organization uses to store and manage job applications. All resumes will be directed there. When the hiring manager decides to go through the applications, that’s where they will find them.
Small organizations may not have such applicant tracking systems. So where does the resume end up in such situation? It’s probably in the business owner’s or the hiring manager’s inbox. The company may also set up an official email that only handles job applications.
What If You Apply through the Company’s Website?
If you target a particular organization, you might be interested to apply directly through its website. You have greater confidence that the person in charge will get to the resume if you do thing this way.
But is that thought justified? What happens when you apply directly through the company’s website? Where does the resume go in that case? – In the applicant tracking system.
That’s right; the application goes in the very same space where all other applications are. In most cases, the hiring manager doesn’t even know you applied directly through the website. They don’t care how the application got there. They are only interested to see what’s in it.
In general, where you apply doesn’t matter. As long as the company published an ad on a job board, they won’t mind getting applications from there.
Why Do Companies Publish on Job Boards, Anyway?
If where the applicants apply doesn’t make a difference, then why would a company take its ad to a job board?
The answer is simple: it’s all about the outreach.
When people are looking for jobs, these boards give them convenience. They see multiple openings at a single website. This company’s competitors use job boards to target the same pool of workers, so it only makes sense for it to get noticed there, too.
In addition, posting on job boards gives companies another advantage: analytics. They usually start posting on multiple job boards. Then, they analyze the results they got. If, for example, they realized that the best candidates applied through LinkedIn, that’s where they will focus their employer marketing campaign in the future.
Again, it won’t make a difference for the applicants who chose to apply through the website. They get the same treatment as everyone else. But if the HR department sees that they are getting better results through a particular source, they will direct their recruiting efforts there.
In Some Cases, It Might Be Beneficial to Apply through the Website
Does this mean that you should solely focus on job boards as the most convenient option for you? Should you completely avoid browsing through the websites of different companies?
If you have a list of companies you’d like to target, it’s wise to go directly to their websites to search for work. Maybe they don’t have an open position at this moment, so you won’t find them at job boards. But you can still apply through their websites, so you’ll get your resume in their applicant tracking systems for future reference.
What benefits will you gain by doing this?
- You’ll present yourself as a proactive candidate. You’re not someone who just sits there and waits for an open position. You know that you want to work for this company, and you’re taking practical steps to get there.
- Even if you don’t apply during an active job opening, your resume will still get inside the company’s ATS. When the recruiters of this company need a new employee, they first check the resources from this system. They will use particular keywords to indicate the skills and education they want from an employee on this position. If your resume shows up through this search process, you’ll get a chance for an interview. The recruiter will contact you to see if you’re still interested to work for them.
- This process of applying through websites gives you a particular focus as a job searcher. You know what your goals are, and you’re doing something to achieve them. If you just focus on job boards, you might end up being satisfied with less than what you deserve. Do you really want that?
So How Should You Apply for Jobs?
- It’s always best to start with a list of companies you’d love to work for. Just brainstorm and name the organizations that would really make you happy as an employee.
- Check the websites of those companies to see if they have any open positions. Even if they don’t have job openings but feature an official email of the HR department, submit your resume and cover letter through that email.
- Then, start searching through job boards. Here, you’ll find many opportunities you didn’t think of. Many other companies will show up on your list. And if you find a great opening this way, submit your resume through the job board. It’s the simpler and faster alternative for you.
But remember: the resume and cover letter have to be great! It doesn’t matter where your application comes from. What matters is how good and how relevant it is.