should you post your resume on online job boards?

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A reader writes:

I have a job I really enjoy, but with a few critical caveats. My boss is a little . . . recession-conscious (salary in bottom 5-7% of salary range for my industry and area), and also a tad nutty. Ok, very nutty. (Cameras installed throughout the office so he can monitor conversation, etc. while traveling; he also occasionally remotely accesses our browser history and any personal files employees save on their desktops. Oh, and a few weeks ago he “surprised” us by going in over the weekend and moving us all into different offices, going through all of our drawers and commenting on the contents when we came in Monday morning. Really.)

However, the work is awesome, but turnover is still very high. We’re constantly hiring as people cycle out–mostly through school job sites, but also largely through one particular recruiter, though she’s become less responsive as the turnover has stayed so high. I’m learning a ton so I want to stay awhile longer. However, mine is a really burgeoning field, so I’d also love to keep my ears open for other opportunities.

How does it work from the manager side when people post resumes on Careerbuilder and similar websites? I want to post my resume so I can be visible to recruiters and bigger firms, but I’m a nervous wreck my boss would stumble across it. My field is growing, but growth is starting with partner hiring (3-5 years out). With just one year of experience, I’m still too junior to make the right move, so as much as I’d like to move up, I can’t afford to be fired (or to quit). Do you recommend that passive job seekers post resumes on job search sites? Is “passive” job seeking a figment of my imagination? People get recruited away from my firm *all the time*. I just want to make sure to jump on every opportunity to make sure I can be recruited next!

I’m not a fan of posting your resume online, for a few reasons:

1. It can make you look a little stale or like you’re not being choosy. And hiring managers tend to love candidates who are being choosy. If you look like you’ve posted your resume all over the Internet, you risk turning off some employers — and there IS a school of thought among some hiring managers that only desperate or unfocused candidates post their resume on job sites, because if you were great at what you do, you wouldn’t need to. (You can dispute that logic if you want, but the mindset very much exists.)

2. You risk what’s known as a recruiter clusterfudge. If a recruiter spots your resume online and submits it for an opening, that recruiter now has the “rights” to your candidacy whether you know it or not, meaning that if that company hired you, they’d need to pay the recruiter’s fee. But if that company doesn’t use outside recruiters (and many don’t), they may automatically remove you from the pool of candidates to avoid that charge.

3. You’ll get a ton of spam. A ton.

But there is a more accepted way to publicize your information online — LinkedIn. And it has the advantage of not broadcasting your search to your employer, too.

But I’d rather see you conduct a carefully targeted job search anyway, rather than passively waiting for employers to find you. That allows you to be choosy about where you apply, to write a customized cover letter that will strengthen your chances far more than a standalone resume, and to avoid the issues above.

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Chinook

    Don’t forget that you have a contact in the recruiter that your company uses. She would be good to contact because a) she knows your field and b) she understands the high turn over at your company and won’t be surprised if you are looking to go elsewhere.

    And while I understand that there is no right to privacy in a workplace, I think your boss jumped way past the “slightly nutty” line when he physically moved everyone one weekend and went through your desks in the process. What was that Monday like? Was it a scavenger hunt to find your new desk or were there moments of panic as employees thought they had been fired without being told because there stuff was no longer at “their” desk?

    Reply
    1. Liz in a library

      Yeah, this struck me as something that would have me job hunting away. That’s beyond nutty.

      Reply
    2. Windchime

      Yeah, this kind of reminds me of the time in an old office where we played harmless pranks to make our boring jobs more fun. One morning we came in and a co-worker had swapped pictures of our families all around….instead of my two boys, I had pictures of someone’s daughter on my desk. Another person had a picture of a family from a magazine ad.

      Except when she did it, it was a joke. I’d be freaked out if I came to work and my cube was occupied by someone else. Big time.

      Reply
  2. Felicia

    A couple of websites have the option where if you apply for a job, there’s an option to then post your resume online, which is sometimes automatically selected and you have to unselect it. So once I didn’t realize that and accidentally posted my resume online for a while. I got sooo many calls from people in different cities and provinces, asking me to come for next day interviews for jobs that I had no experience or interest in.

    My dad actually did the same thing by accident and recently got a decent job that way, but that really shouldn’t be your only method, especially with a nutty boss. I think my experience is more likely to happen, and it’s more effective to target specific places, or even specific recruiters with postings you’re interested in.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      The problem, though, is that the employer doesn’t know if it was authorized or not and employers who don’t want to work with recruiters will often just discard the candidate (I know I certainly have in that situation — it wouldn’t occur to me to contact the candidate and ask).

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        This seems so messed up, how in the hell should some blood-sucking third party get to come between me and a job I’m interested in simply because they’ve seen my resume? I really don’t like the idea of some recruiter trying to make a buck by playing chicken with my career.

        Is there a business appropriate way to say, “I’m not being represented by a recruiter, please disregard them” without coming across poorly?

        Reply
      2. Jessa

        Yeh and how on earth would the company know? There’s no way to tell when getting the resume whether it’s authorised or not. The hard part is when you HAVE to put the thing up (people on unemployment are often required to post it by their state agencies.)

        Reply
    2. Kathy

      This happened to my husband. He applied to a position that was a great fit. A few minutes after applying his application was kicked back and he was informed he already applied to the position. He had not. A recruiting company he had limited contact with early in his job search submitted him to the position without his knowledge or consent. The company would not work with him directly because he was being “represented”. It was very unfortunate and frustrating.

      Reply
      1. Annoyed

        I’ve found recruiters to be worthless at best and impeding at worst. Unfortunately, some companies require you to work thru a recruiter even if you approach them directly! Crazy.

        Reply
        1. Rod

          Recruiters are the gate keepers of the organization. They are tasked with locating the most qualified person candidates for the job. Conversley, they are also in place to deflect those candidates that aren’t qualified.

          Reply
  3. Elaine

    I made the accident of posting my resume on Career Builder and immediately took it down 2 weeks later after I received copious amounts of spam and very shady offers. I figured the employers who I want to work for probably wouldn’t notice my resume up on Career Builder anyways, and I’d rather apply for a position directly or go through more reputable channels to get a position I know I would be interested in.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth West

      Exactly. You can apply to jobs through CareerBuilder without putting your resume on it. It just attaches like an email and goes to the employer. They are infested with spam ads, like most internet job boards. I even saw them on the state career center’s listings, and the ones from the community college here. :P

      Reply
  4. Anon

    As always AAM is spot on.

    However, given the general insanity that your boss seems to have exhibited I would find a way out sooner rather than later. Experience is a great thing but I’d hate to see you send in another email in 6 months that wins the crazy boss of the year award because you stuck it out for experience.

    Reply
  5. Time to Get Real

    Whoa. I can’t imagine anyone saying they enjoy working at a place like that or saying the work is awesome. I’m pretty sure I could be playing with dogs (one of my favorite things in the world!) and I’d eventually snap and hate it being treated like that.

    Props to you for letting something so intrusive roll off your back! I’m envious of people that can let crap like that go.

    Reply
  6. kristinyc

    I posted my resume on Careerbuilder and Monster 3 years ago, and I STILL get spam from them (even though I disabled my resume). I did find a job through one of the sites, but I still don’t recommend it. When you’re ready to look, apply to specific jobs. I agree with Alison on the Linkedin page – you may get contacted by recruiters there too, but it’ll be a LOT more relevant/targeted.

    Reply
  7. pktechgirl

    I think this varies by industry. I used dice when I was a software contractor, and while it did generate a lot of cruft, I also found good positions startlingly quickly.

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, my vague, not-at-all-fully-formed sense is that this can sometimes work better in I.T. (but that you’ll get a ton of crap contacts in addition to good ones).

      Reply
    2. Meg

      I agree with Dice for IT professionals. I’ll admit I got some random job opportunities for skills I don’t have listed (like, okay HTML/CSS/JS with some Python and PHP/MySQL experience… and I’ll get everything from Java to C++ to .NET to Ruby to whatever), and I’m like… even if it was automated, that stuff should have filtered out.

      At least it was related to my field and not like, “Oh you have scripting and some programming skills? How about a manager position at Dunkin Donuts!” like I’d get on CareerBuilder or Monster.

      But yeah, really good opportunities REALLY fast. The in-house recruiter for my contracting company found my info within a day or two of me posting it, and we got the ball rolling fast.

      Reply
  8. Rin

    Stupid Questions:
    Is posting online the same as agreeing to the “Allow employers to view your resume”? How would one undo that?

    Reply
    1. LV

      But don’t people post their resumes online because they *want* potential employers to view said resumes? What would be the point otherwise?

      Reply
      1. Rin

        For all of the reasons Alison has stated. I have gotten a lot of spam for a lot of industries I don’t want,a nd I don’t want to look “unchoosy.”

        Reply
  9. WWWONKA

    As for the totally intrusive boss. I would stay as long as possible to get all the experience you can. Knowledge is power.

    As for the resume posting. I have had mine on Career and Monster for a long while and have only received 1 or 2 legit calls. After reading this I will be taking them down. I really think companies do not bother with these site for anything more than posting their jobs. A lot of companies let you post your profile into their data base.

    Reply
  10. Brett

    “And [LinkedIn] has the advantage of not broadcasting your search to your employer, too.”

    Unless your employer is a 3rd degree connection and uses a business level or higher account. While you have a little bit of control over 2nd degree connections (who also have full profile access), it is difficult to control 3rd degree connections. And executive level accounts give access to full names and profiles of even group connections, which should essentially cover an entire professional field.
    While executive level accounts are expensive, LinkedIn runs a promo every 6 to 12 months that gives you free executive level access for 30 days. If this employer is that paranoid, I could easily see them using the 30 day trial to snoop their employees’ LinkedIn profiles.

    Reply
    1. NBB

      “I could easily see them using the 30 day trial to snoop their employees’ LinkedIn profiles.”

      Why would you not want your employer to see your LinkedIn profile? They already know where you worked in the past and where you work currently. That isn’t a big deal at all, in fact, it’s quite common to be connected with co-workers and bosses.

      Reply
      1. Ruffingit

        If you are actively job searching and you have posted your resume on LinkedIn and/or mentioned in your profile that you’re looking, you would not want your current employer to see that.

        Reply
    2. Brett

      Most people do not post their resumes on LinkedIn though (via the Rich Media tag). So posting a resume is an activity that a snoopy employer would probably via as job hunting. Presumably if you are planning to post your resume on linkedin, you would not want your current employer as a 1st or 2nd degree connection if you did not want them to know you were job hunting.

      Reply
        1. Cara Carroll

          I was going to make a comment similar to Brett’s. I have a Linkedin profile. My employer is a 1st connection. My situation is that my employer saw that I was connecting with lots of Recruiters and asked me not to. Obviously, I know they cannot dictate who I connect with, but they did notice the activity on my account and probably thought something was up. Since then I have modified my settings so it doesn’t publish when I connect with someone or edit my profile. I do not advertise I am looking for a job on my profile but I do a lot of networking on my own time so I am making new connections a lot. In my experience this could be a warning sign to some of the paranoid employers out there like mine…

          Reply
      1. Brett

        Might want to clarify that you just mean filling out your profile, since LinkedIn does allow resume posting now.

        As Cara mentioned, your connection and profile activity can be noticeably visible to connections (and is still fully visible to premium users even if you hide it).

        Reply
        1. Cara Carroll

          This was just having a profile, without posting a resume. Having no indication I was looking, other than that I was making connections and obviously networking.

          Reply
  11. Pussyfooter

    Off topic…. LinkedIn Question?

    Is it really a good idea to post my photo there?
    I thought having *any* image of yourself on the internet was a bad idea ( ie. fuels creepy behavior)? Am I being too paranoid?

    Also, if anyone can recommend a good place to learn how to get savvy and really run my LinkedIn account well, I would appreciate the advice.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I added mine to my LI. Due to blogging and other professional activities I’m engaged in, my picture is already all over the Internet, so I didn’t see the point in trying to hide it on LI.

      Reply
    2. Meg

      I think it’s really your personal preference here. For myself, I don’t have a problem with posting my picture online (my Facebook has plenty of photos of me, and my picture is up on my company’s website), but others may feel differently.I think the idea of avoiding putting your picture online at all just to avoid creepy behavior is a *little* paranoid, but I do understand that this is entirely up to each individual (and other people may have had bad experiences that color their view on the matter).

      Reply
      1. Cara Carroll

        I think a professional photo is fine. I have all my social media to have the same picture, (on FB I have all my pics set to private). From what I see the people without photos on Linkedin usually are the ones who don’t use their account much or don’t have a lot of connections. So I think if you are using it a lot, especially for job hunt, and don’t have a photo it could give off a bad vibe like you aren’t really tech savvy or something along those lines.

        As for classes or somewhere to learn more about Linkedin, I would recommend you look up job search groups in your area. Even if you aren’t hunting they tend to have a lot of classes and sessions on how to make your profile more robust because it does help in the job search. Another idea might be your local library. And lastly, I would try marketing groups like AMA (American Marketing Association) or Meetups that have social media as their topic. Maybe that would be a place to start.

        Reply
        1. HR lady

          I’d also suggest just Googling things like “LinkedIn profile” or “LinkedIn tips.” There are some pretty good pages out there with suggestions (personally, I’d suggest reading a few of them, because every now and then someone will give a piece of really weird advice. I read a few, and then picked the advice that seemed the best and was echoed on several websites).

          I also second the idea about job seekers’ groups – the ones I’m familiar with are great at giving advice about LinkedIn.

          I’m seeing more and more people with photos on LinkedIn – seems like 90% of my business contacts, and anyone I’ve met through networking, have them.

          Reply
    3. The IT Manager

      I think it helps people remember you or find you (if you have a common name). The person shaped outline for those people who don’t post a picture, kind of make the whole page look unfinished to me.

      It should be a reasonably professional looking headshot with you in it. Something like that should not fuel creeper behaviour. (Realizing that anything could inspire a creep, but a professional looking photo shouldn’t cause it more than anythng else might.)

      Reply
      1. Pussyfooter

        Thanks for everyone who answered.
        Especially IT Manager’s reminder that we with funny names are smart to help people figure out who they’re contacting :-).
        I will try the extra sources of help mentioned.

        Reply
  12. hamster

    I had my cv on online job boards for 5 years now . Since i was in the final years of my bachelor degree and working part-time. Come to think of it, i got a tons of legitimate offers and while i found most of my jobs at career fairs and by networking (friends who knew about openings/recommendations, etc), the most significant career jump i ever made was because my cv was public. A great corporation contacted me for a job that did not materialized. However, after a few months they had another position opened and I got a really great deal out of it.

    Reply
  13. Liz in the City

    I posted my resume on Indeed (rather than Career Builder and Monster) and ended up getting my current FT job that way — the person doing the hiring had done a search for common industry terms in my resume, plus a region search and found me (and other candidates apparently). I found it to be worthwhile.

    I also have a complete profile, with picture, on LinkedIn. A bunch of recruiters contacted me that way when I was looking for a new FT gig (OldJob had many issues … though it was a cakewalk compared to the OP’s place). I found that somewhat useful, if only because it was nice to apply through a person rather than a computer program.

    And I never worried about my then-employer asking me if I was job searching because 1) I did freelance and that was well known by my manager, etc. and 2) half of my office ALSO had their resume on Indeed before I posted mine (rats jumping the sinking ship…)

    Reply
  14. CassJ

    The last time I posted my resume online was in 2007 onto Dice and Monster. I found a position shortly after posting it, and took my resume down on both sites. To this day, I’ve been getting calls from recruiters I’ve never worked with (at least, never personally sent my resume to them). My resume, even though it was deactivated from both websites, and hasn’t been updated, is now logged in the staffing companies’ databases forever and ever :P

    Also, I got recruiters who threw a bunch of job descriptions at me based on a key word search. It didn’t matter if I hadn’t worked with the technology in a very long time (I’m in the software industry), they just thought I’d be perfect for it. There’s a particular technology I haven’t worked with since 2005, and I STILL get recruiters contacting me because of it.

    Since then, I haven’t job searched through those websites (based on past experience, and the same reasons Allison made). I’ve got a pretty good network of recruiters that I liked working with in the past that I refer people too, who aren’t just interested in making a buck off placing me somewhere that might not be a fit for me and vice versa. I don’t know if networking with recruiters in your industry will be as fruitful, but if you can, you might get better outcomes than the spam and bad-fit positions you might find on job websites.

    Reply
    1. Chinook

      I laughed when I got an email from a temp agency I used 5 years ago in another province asking if I was looking for a new job. It wasn’t spam but an honest inquiry from someone who must be combing her database for new recruits. I just replied that I was in a different province using a different agency because their local one never returned my phone calls, which was a hsame because I liked that agency.

      Reply
  15. Joey

    Here’s why I wouldn’t do it- In more than 15 years I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve found a candidate by mining monster or other generic job site resumes. Its like finding a needle in a haystack. That’s probably my very last option for finding great candidates.

    Reply
  16. Anonymously Anonymous

    Whew! I was just considering putting my resume on one of those sites because I thought I was being too choosy. Im just feeling really stuck in this job market though.

    Reply
  17. Jen in RO

    I have a question for US people: how do you apply for jobs? Company websites? Or job boards where the company gives our details? (eg ‘send resume to jobs@company. com’)
    I’m confused about this since most people around here find their jobs on job sites – you fill in your resume, then just click Apply to anything that looks interesting. Only big companies post jobs on their websites; small ones use the job boards. I found my current job this way and also most of my interviews. (It’s rare to get contacted by the company through a job site if you haven’t applied.) LinkedIn is more popular with recruiters, but that industry is less developed here compared to the US.

    Reply
    1. Lalaith

      I got two jobs by applying through the organizations’ websites. My current job, believe it or not, I found through Craigslist.

      Reply
  18. mel

    This actually works??

    After all of this talk of hundreds of applicants applying for every job, I wouldn’t think that employers would have to go out LOOKING for resumes!

    Honestly I don’t even know how to find real jobs. It used to be I could go door to door and just ask for application forms, and now they just send me to their websites.

    But that’s for crappy jobs. Professional jobs? No clue. I don’t know how to crawl for websites for unmarked generic office buildings for jobs that may or may not exist.

    Reply
    1. Lynn

      1. LinkedIn (both jobs posted and recruiters contacting you)
      2. job boards relevant to your field (I’m in tech, so I use Dice, can’t speak to other fields)
      3. Go to events for people in your field and see what you can see (bring business cards)
      4. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking
      5. If you know someone you specifically want to talk to about a job, take them out for coffee or lunch

      Reply
    2. Lynn

      I forgot, if you really are interested in a specific company, a lot of companies have a “Careers” link with job postings from their main page, which seems to get a pretty decent response. But if you’re starting from the point of view of “I need a job now” rather than “I always wanted to work at XYZ”, that probably seems backwards. You may not even know who all the companies are that would be interesting.

      Reply
  19. ChristineSW

    I gave up the Big Job Boards awhile ago when I was getting unwanted emails and even a couple of phone calls from those who found my resume. Some of the opportunities weren’t even remotely close to the industry I was looking in!

    I do have a comment and question: Does anyone think job fairs are beginning to feel like the 3D version of the online job boards? I occasionally get emails from this one staffing agency that uses contracted therapists to fill vacancies in several states, including mine. They are legit because I’ve seen their website and it’s roughly in my field (social work), but I’m not interested in the types of jobs they need to fill.

    I have no idea how they got my email, although I vaguely remember one email awhile back (don’t remember if it was from this particular agency or a similar one), and it indicated that they’d gotten my info from a large job fair I’d attended at my university, even though that agency was not exhibiting. My hunch is that my resume somehow got farmed out, either by an agency that was there, or my career services center hosting the fair (though that’s unlikely).

    I want to get off of this agency’s mailing list (messages are personalized, but I’m sure it’s sent to multiple people), but there’s no option to unsubscribe. I might just use the general info email on their website.

    Reply
    1. The IT Manager

      Does anyone think job fairs are beginning to feel like the 3D
      version of the online job boards?

      I found job fairs shockingly useless a couple of years ago when I was hunting. People talk to you, but they all just say go to our web site and fill out an online application.

      Reply
      1. Jamie

        Really depends – we are always genuinely looking for candidates when we go to job fairs, and have hired some great people we’ve met at our booth.

        We’re really targeted though, and do mostly job fairs at colleges – but just speaking for us we wouldn’t waste the time if we weren’t looking to come away with some new hires. That’s the goal, anyway.

        Reply
        1. MrSparkles

          As someone who has been on both sides at a job fair (a job seeker then a booth worker) I will attest that, unless you’re in need of random forms of company-labelled stationary, just stay home.
          The people you want to give your resume will direct you online (or imply that they’re just offering “information”) and those who ask for your resume are companies you DON’T WANT to give it to.
          Some fairs have admissions, which is the monetary icing on the insult cake.

          Reply
  20. Chris Hogg

    To Pussyfooter, Anonymously Anonymous, Jen in RO, and mel:

    Here are five books, in addition to AAM’s, that would be helpful to anyone seeking employment:

    What Color is Your Parachute? By Bolles

    Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies by Waldman

    The 2-Hour Job Search by Dalton

    Cracking the Hidden Job Market by Asher

    Ask the Headhunter by Corcodilos

    Reply
  21. Paul

    How does your job-record on LinkedIn compare? I mean; it’s basically the same as my CV, except for the personal details (such as address)?

    Reply
  22. TelevisionEmployer

    New Television Opportunity – Question:

    Where does a (new) small local Television Employer find On-Air talent?

    We are looking for a part-time person to come by the studio for a few hours each week, sit in front of the green chromakey screen, and read stories and promos from the teleprompter into the camera for broadcast during the following week.

    This is a local part time opportunity and would not justify a relocation… so we must find someone already living in the market that would like to stay involved in the business… in fact we may be willing to train the right person if they have a professional appearance and can read the teleprompter appropriately.

    The major employment opportunity sites are very expensive for the small employer so we are hopeful of finding something more reasonable.

    We have tried posting on Craigslist under the tv/film/video section but most of the postings there are not legitimate television opportunities and many of the responses are not appropriate.

    Is there a website… NAB, State Broadcasting Association, or whatever that we should post the job to? Where does television talent go to find opportunities?

    We will check back here for any suggested sites. Thanks.

    Reply

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