Replying to ads and posting your resume on the big job boards is a career-search strategy that most of us are all too familiar with. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to get your start in the pharmaceutical or biotech industry, it’s also a huge waste of time. What’s worse, it can put you at risk for identity theft and make your information available to people who exploit the unemployed and desperate.job board To understand why this strategy is a waste of time, you need to think like an employer – and then discover how to use job boards more effectively to help advance your career.’
The Employer Mindset
Even though it doesn’t cost you anything to post a resume or respond to an ad on most job boards, employers and recruiters pay thousands of dollars for access. Because of this, when a company posts an ad for an open position, or searches for resumes on these sites, their frame of mind is one of getting the best value for their investment. This frame of mind means that any resumes of under-qualified people that come up in a search are nothing but annoying distractions that get in the way of their goals. When a company has invested a lot of money in a search, their target isn’t someone with potential — they want someone who has already done the job. So, no matter how attractive, well-written and enthusiastic your resume may be, it won’t make the cut if you don’t closely meet the posted qualifications. For hiring managers, the process of searching a job board is generally a headache — and that’s not the attitude you want people to have the first time they run across your resume.
Identity Theft and Exploitation
Putting your resume online can also put your privacy at risk. Recently, one of the largest job boards reported that its security had been breached, and personal information belonging to millions of account holders had been stolen – and it wasn’t the first time! The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has also published a report on resume database security and privacy issues, which details the theft of thousands of resumes from several popular biotech job boards. When you consider that a job board profile typically includes a tremendous amount of personal information, from your address and phone number to the schools you’ve attended, you can begin to imagine the tremendous risks of identity theft that could result if your information is stolen.
Posting your resume online or responding to a posted advertisement can also make you vulnerable to scams. Unfortunately, many of the job boards do a very poor – or nonexistent – job of vetting the companies that use their service. As a result, many job-seekers are exploited by unscrupulous organizations after applying for jobs with legitimate-sounding companies or recruitment agencies. Typically, a job seeker receives a call or an email and is told that their application is very strong, but that they lack experience. Then, they’re given a referral to an expensive training course, which they’re told will help their career search. The truth is that the job never existed, and the expensive course provides little of value.
One of the worst things about posting a resume to a job board, or responding to an online ad is that it feels like a positive step in your job search, but actually accomplishes very little. Posting a carefully formatted profile to one of these sites, or submitting an application to a posted job takes lots of time, and after a day full of classes or an exhausting ‘survival’ job it saps your energy. It’s hard work, so it feels like you’re doing something, but the truth is that it’s actually a very passive – and therefore very ineffective – job search strategy.
Using Job Boards Effectively
Despite all their drawbacks, there are ways to get value out of job boards. They can be useful for research, as a way to find the names of companies doing the kind of work that interests you. For example, there are hundreds if not thousands of small biotech companies, and it’s possible that a job board might introduce you to one you didn’t know about before. However, once you’ve used the board to discover a possible job, you need to short-circuit the application process. Instead of sending a resume or responding online, try putting your networking skills to work to find people who work there. Push yourself to do something scary: picking up the phone and making a call. Using your network is challenging. but if you can make a human connection to the job your search will be light years ahead.