The Benefits of Using a Niche Job Board

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Published on February 22, 2018, at 12:21 p.m.
by Stephanie Zielinski.

When searching for a new job, there are many career sites to consider. Some make the application process easy for the applicant, others make it easy for the company, and plenty lie in-between. Job boards are created for regions, for specializations, for organizations and, sometimes, for a combination of these categories. How is an upcoming graduate or job-seeking professional supposed to know which job posting service is best for them?

Job boards that focus on a specific industry or region often highlight candidates who are dedicated to that same area or expertise. Applicants who use niche job boards tend to be more passionate about the community where they are seeking employment. Often, these job boards provide a multitude of services.

Jobs by region

Photo via Big Shoes Network

Big Shoes Network is a job board turned professionals’ community. The site began in 2006 with two expert communication professionals and master networkers, Jeff and Martha Carrigan, who helped so many people find work in communications that they decided to make it their job.

The service got its name, according to Martha Carrigan, CEO of Big Shoes Network, because of the phrase “you’ve got big shoes to fill.” The company recognized the many needs and desires of applicants and businesses alike and decided they would try to bridge the gap.

BSN began in Milwaukee and has since spread to all of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. BSN includes services like free press release posting, industry-recommended books and a resource directory.

Carrigan shared a story about how she often visits local colleges to speak and give advice to students in an effort to help them prepare for their upcoming job search. She hands out swag like flip flops, shoe laces with BSN logos on them and more to remind students of the impact they can soon make. The Carrigans have created a tool that can be used by seasoned professionals and industry-newcomers alike.

Jobs by industry
Another similar service is offered more broadly by PRSA and PRSSA. These organizations offer all the commodities a PR professional could ever need but on a national basis.

PRSSA offers the Internship Center for its members. According to Demi Wolfe, PRSSA VP of career services, this function of the PRSSA site “saves time for students searching for opportunities because they don’t have to go from site to site finding opportunities that suite them. Instead they have a streamlined service that provides them multiple positions on one site.” Wolfe described applying for a career as a student as a full-time job, certainly professionals feel the same.

Photo via PRSSA

Wolfe said that the services of PRSSA and PRSA “offer a lot of crucial benefits to the people looking for jobs and looking for internships.” In addition, she recommended sites like Indeed and LinkedIn as non-niche options.

If the goal is an easy application, notifications about available positions or an industry target, LinkedIn is a viable option. It has algorithms that feed off of previous applications, connections, likes and skills to promote the best fitting positions.

And while job boards like Indeed make applying easier, they may be better for the quantity of applications than their quality. Sticking to job boards like BSN or PRSA will ensure your opportunities are targeted to you; it will showcase your skillset and allow for more detail and industry-specific terminology in your application because it is being filtered to a specific audience.

Jobs for you

Photo via Jane Dvorak

The 2017 PRSA National Chair, Jane Dvorak, APR, Fellow PRSA, reminds job-seekers that “job boards are one tool in your job search, one tool that can be used in your network.” She added, “Job boards are an opportunity for employers to connect with the talent pool.”

It is important to remember as job-seekers, we need to be well-rounded. Networks, social media, résumé, cover letter, references and more pool together to form a company’s impression of you as a candidate. It’s crucial to be a versatile and focused candidate, each application you submit should be specialized and thoughtful.

Dvorak also advised people to try to identify what work environment will be best for them, not just the career path that is most common. “We usually start looking at an agency first; but we might not have the personality to be successful or to thrive in that environment,” Dvorak explained “Be open to the possibilities.”

Niche job boards are an important tool to use during the job application process. They help applicants angle their job search toward specific regions and specialties. Additionally, they strengthen the industry culture through promoting specific skill sets, values and a sense of community. Most importantly, they help showcase the most niche component of all — the skilled applicant.

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