No, I'm not suggesting that you stop using job boards to find a job (how silly would that be?). I'm simply suggesting there might be a better way to apply to the jobs you find on those big job boards. With this alternate method, you'll improve your chances of getting your resume and cover letter into the employer's hands in a way that gets you noticed.
Here's a little-known fact about the application system on major job boards: The information on your uploaded resume often gets jumbled by the time it reaches the employer. Job board systems digest the information on your resume, then spit it out in an order that doesn't necessarily match what you thought you sent. I learned this when I applied for my first job using a major job board. I couldn't believe the mess of text the employer was referring to during the interview. What had once been my pretty, neat resume had become an unattractive, plain tiny text, huge-margin, out-of-order printout.
To avoid that mess, I recommend bypassing the job board application system altogether. Use the job boards to find a job you want to apply for, but then search for the company on Google and see if the same job is posted on the company website. You can also use a site like LinkUp.com, a job board that searches only for jobs listed on company websites. If you can find the job, you can usually find out how the employer wants you to apply (like through an internal job application system, email, fax, and/or a mailing address).
This approach will increase your chances of getting hired by:
A: Ensuring the employer gets the nice version of your resume that you worked so hard to create, and
B: Impressing the employer with your drive and motivation to find a better way to apply. If you took the time to research the job, then you probably took the time to learn something about the company, too. Bonus points!
One caveat: If an employer indicates specifically that you must apply through the job board, then you had better do it their way. Otherwise, you give the impression that you can't follow directions.
Snail Mail: The 'New' Way to Get Your Resume Noticed
Plain Text Resumes: How to Make Them a Little Less Ugly
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