Where Are All the Jobs?

In September 2007 there were approximately 4.7 million jobs listed on job boards.

In September 2008 there were approximately 4.4 million jobs listed on job boards.

In September 2009 there were approximately 3.3 million jobs listed on job boards.

It would be very easy to conclude we are in a jobless recovery. However, that is only part of the answer to the job board listings decline. I believe there are two other core and interrelated reasons, beyond the economy, that are driving the fall in jobs listed on Job Boards.

First, let’s consider Job Boards role in the hiring process. Clearly, job boards have disintermediated newspapers as the platform for classified ads. That said, two firms that monitor job boards (CareerXroads & Weddles) and both independently surveyed the industry reported that actual jobs filled by Job Boards range from 12-14%. That means over 85% of all positions are filled through other means. This clearly raises the question: How much value do job boards bring corporations and job seekers?

The second reason for the job board listings decline can be attributed to the increased adoption of lower cost recruiting strategies. In particular many firms are cutting back on job board listings and spending more time, money and energy on leveraging social media to find new workers. In the spring of 2009, the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) conducted a poll of a subset of their membership database. Almost 60% of the respondents said they were cutting their budgets for recruitment related expenses such as advertising. A separate SHRM poll indicated the majority of companies are increasing the use of social media recruiting. Several other studies suggest social media recruiting doubled in 2008 and exponentially increased in 2009 with no signs of abating.

What is social media recruiting? Effectively, firms are data mining, their employee’s contacts, the Internet and specific social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook for candidates. When SHRM survey respondents were asked why the change, the respondents simply stated: it is a less expensive way to attract and recruit qualified applicants.

Based on this shifting landscape, the obvious question is:

What should a job seeker do in the face of this market?

The answer is to align their job search strategy with the recruiting strategies companies are deploying. This means have an integrated approach to effectively leverage employees at target companies, have a strong Internet identity and optimize the use of social networks.

At Career Brander, we feel this is best accomplished by a three pronged job search approach:

1. Establish a strong career marketing/personal branding package

This includes a well constructed resume, an elevator speech, an online profile or personal website, joining key social networks with well constructed content, have professional business cards and enhance Google and other search engine optimization.

2. Targeted networking

Select 20-30 best fit companies that fit your expertise. This may include criteria such as industry, company size, geography and specific roles. Identify key managers and cross reference these names with your personal contacts to accelerate networking. Network maniacally. This means not simply sending an email, but utilizing the telephone, snail mail letters, social events and setting up as many direct face to face meetings as possible. This is how successful corporations sell services and this how you need to “sell yourself”.

When networking; be sure to state your objective and your expertise, but just as important, get a roadmap to the company’s management structure, hiring processes and business challenges and opportunities. Be sure to end every meeting with action items that will help lead to another meeting with a person at your target company.

3. Leverage business intelligence

The beauty of the advancements in technology is the efficiency it can bring everything, including a job search. The ability to connect relationships through online social networks may be the greatest job search accelerator of the last 50 years. These social networks allow you to see relationships, both immediate ones and those one or two steps removed. If you are not fully utilizing these services, you may not be aware that the hiring manager at the company you want to work for, is the brother- in-law of your next door neighbor! Also, utilize web spiders and search engines to keep track of new job listings at target companies. Stay informed of the daily business events that may represent hiring opportunities. These could include new product releases, new technology developments, new offices opening etc… Lastly, keep all your job search information contained in a centralized organized place. A 2010 job search requires a lot of time, effort and digesting vast amounts of information. Staying organized is critical.

For many, the concepts listed above may feel overwhelming. However, we believe a coordinated effort as outlined above gives job seekers a much better chance of tapping into the 85% of all jobs not filled by job boards. At Career Brander we have automated much of this process into our automated Job Search Radar offering.

So, where are all the jobs? They are out there, but individual’s need to be careful with their time management, stay focused on best-fit opportunities, professionalize their personal branding and network like never before. The good news is technology is making every aspect of this much easier.


Guest Expert:
Ian Levine is the founder of Career Brander. The Internet’s first personal marketing portal focused on individuals in career transition. Career Brander’s site includes Job Search Radar, the ultimate database and Internet scanning system that integrates with social networks to uncover the Hidden Job Market. Career Brander also offers software tools for creating resumes, instantly building personal career websites, financial planning calculators, professional business card printing, and proprietary content & links that aid and educate for a more effective modern day job search. You can read additional personal branding and career articles by Ian Levine on the Career Brander Blog.

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