There are two schools of thought around the use of resume databases in a tight economy.
Some corporate recruiters will say, “If I run an ad, I’ll get zillions of candidates now that there are so many people looking for work. Why should I go to the trouble of looking through the resumes that are already posted? Let them come to me.” Others will say, “If I run an ad, I’ll get zillions of candidates now that so many people are looking for work. Why should I do that when I can search the resume database and target only the people who really have what I’m looking for? I don’t want them coming to me, because then they’ll all pester me with follow-up calls.” I tend to be in the second camp, but I know recruiters in both sides. It’s about a 50/50 split.
You never know which camp the company you really want to work for is in, so it makes sense to post your resume in a few select places. However, there are some important things to keep in mind:
- It used to be that only employers who had a contract with a job board could get access to the resumes posted there. That’s no longer true. Anyone with a credit card can buy access to the resume databases of most big job boards for a set period of time. Don’t assume that only good corporate citizens will see your resume.
- You’ll get a ton of spam once you start posting, because people buy access to these databases and then farm them for email addresses. Set up a special email account just for your job search (more tips on this here), so that your regular email isn’t clogged up with spam for years after your job search.
- Never post your social security number, date of birth, driver’s license number, or other personal information. You’re already giving everyone who accesses the database your complete job history; if you give them that information as well, you’re asking for trouble. NO legitimate employer needs this information before you’ve become a real applicant. For the same reason, there is NO reason to post your actual street address, although most resume forms ask you for it. Just put “N/A” for the street address. You DO need to fill in the city/state/ZIP part, because most employers search within a set ZIP-code radius (e.g. 50 miles around 53202). The street address doesn’t contribute to that, though, and no employer is going to need that information until you’re much farther along in the hiring process.
- Don’t copy-and-paste your resume from Microsoft Word. It might look okay on the screen, but trust me, it probably looks screwed up from the recruiter’s view. You need a TEXT version of your resume (more on that here).
- Monster and CareerBuilder have a fair amount of overlap; many super-large employers have contracts with both. Search the postings for the employers you’re especially interested in, and see whether they post on one or the other, or both. Then post your resume accordingly.
- Don’t overlook local boards. In fact, here in Milwaukee, MilwaukeeJobs.com is a lot hotter than the “big boards,” because it’s cheaper for employers and (in my experience) gets better results. Look for niche sites in your field or industry as well; these more targeted boards are the ones corporate recruiters like to use, because the pool of candidates is smaller, more manageable, and more targeted. The best way to evaluate which boards are the best fit for you is to look at the postings; if the employers you like are posting there, they probably also search for resumes there.
- Be wary. The last time I posted my resume online, aside from the spam, I was bombarded with opportunities to sell insurance and cleaning products, partake in pyramid schemes of various sorts, and even write for a porn site. Some of these were obviously bogus, but others looked like real job opportunities at first glance. Do your homework.