Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Look Beyond The Job Boards

When parents, faculty, or generational researchers are asked to provide a few adjectives about students, one commonly offered is “wired.” Today’s students have grown up with the Internet, can adapt to quickly evolving technologies, and (sadly) some even go to bed bathed in the glow of a phosphorescent screen. This comfort with technology provides students with some advantages, but students must be careful to not rely on technology in ways that promise results, but in fact, are not as valuable as perceived.

Many students look to internet job boards as a primary method for job or internship searching. While the Internet is good for researching organizations and opportunities, it’s not the most successful way for securing jobs.  Over 70% of jobs are obtained through networking; and less than 20% are obtained through job boards.

Students need to be aware of several issues when utilizing job boards.

  • Not all job postings are created equal.  A recent Wall Street Journal article, Beware the Phantom Job Listing, points out that “many open jobs are never advertised at all, or are posted only after a leading candidate—an internal applicant or someone else with an inside track—has been identified.”  While this “hidden” job market might frustrate job seekers, it demonstrates the weakness of relying solely on positions posted online.
  • Recruiters receive numerous online applications. Thus, they frequently rely upon Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen candidates.  This means that an application may get screened out and never be seen by a recruiter. Or the resume is buried in a database of thousands, never to be seen.
  • Networking remains the best way to secure a job. Students should not rely solely on job boards as most jobs are still secured through relationships. Students should be encouraged to attend networking workshops and events.  Working with an OPCD career counselor, they will develop a comprehensive job search strategy. The New York Times article, In Hiring, a Friend in Need Is a Prospect, Indeed, conveys how organizations are increasingly leveraging their own employees and their network to find new hires.

The propensity for students to over-rely on job boards has muddied their understanding of the value and purpose of DeaconSource, our system for communicating with students and also providing some job and internship opportunities. The primary benefit and function of DeaconSource is that when students have completed their profile to indicate their career and geographical interests, the OPCD can send students tailored messages with educational information, resources, workshops, events and opportunities – and relevant to their class year. This insures that students don’t miss important news and opportunities in their areas of interest which will help them stay on track to identify and achieve their career goals.

Although there are many opportunities in DeaconSource listed by employers who post jobs there, the number and types of opportunities is small relative to the thousands of opportunities available across all types of sources.  Students should check out the OPCD website for additional valuable sources for job and internship opportunities.

If students do not have a DeaconSource profile or have not updated their preferences, they are missing out on critical information which is relevant and necessary for their career development. 66% of all students have a completed profile, so make sure your student is not left out!

Encourage your student to create a DeaconSource account today, yet remind him that he cannot rely solely on DeaconSource, nor any other job board, in his search. Emphasize the importance of networking and the role it plays in the job attainment process. If you have contacts that might be helpful for your student, make the introduction. And make sure your student has a LinkedIn profile and is tapping into the Wake Forest Career Connectors group.  Armed with this advice, your student will appropriately prioritize his job search time and efforts and will have a much greater chance of securing a promising summer internship or full time position.

Category: DeaconSource, Job/Internship Search, Networking