Confused by all the job websites and how best to use them?

Using Job Websites

The terms “job boards”, “job websites” or “job sites” actually apply to two types of website: job search engines and specific job boards.

Job search engines, like Indeed, aggregate jobs from other websites and job boards onto their own. They charge the other jobs boards and companies for boosting their job adverts up the search rankings in a similar model to Google.

Job boards charge companies to advertise on their site typically per advert; think CV Library, Monster, Reed etc.

You shouldn’t restrict yourself to either when searching for jobs as no site contains all jobs in the marketplace. It’s worth setting up alerts on multiple sites when you’re actively looking.

Both types of job website require you to upload your CV and profile in order to apply. You can also speculatively upload your details in order to add yourself to their databases. Although this will open you up to direct contact from recruiters.

Beyond being sent through to advertiser, you should be mindful of what else happens to your CV and personal details. Here are a few tips to follow:


Those with access to CV databases use a simple coding language called Boolean to locate your CV alongside other parameters such as the date you uploaded your details, your location, preferences on type of employment and other specifics you enter.

A recruiter will scan a target job description to look for search terms including sector, job titles, key skills, or specific qualifications relevant to the job. It is important to remember that if you don’t have the same search terms in your CV that a recruiter may use to search for you then you won’t be found.

Imagine what search words they might use to find someone just like you for your target job. Using variation within your target job title is key. For instance, if a recruiter is looking for a “physics teacher” and you have used “teacher of physics” or even “teacher of science” you may be overlooked. Brainstorm a few or the most popular and fit them in where possible.


These are usually the dropdown selections on your job board profiles. Keep them accurate and you will increase the accuracy of what you are contacted about. Job title and desired role are highlighted at the top level so having these filled out appropriately will draw the eye of a scanning recruiter. Don’t put that you’ll relocate or travel anywhere if you’re not willing to consider those options as you’ll end up feeling spammed by the list of random work locations coming through.


One of the search metrics recruiters use is the date that you have modified or the original date that you uploaded your CV. They also receive alerts when relevant CVs match their specific alerts, similar to when you’re househunting on Rightmove or setting up your own job advert alerts on Indeed.

Tweaking your profile often when you’re looking will keep your CV towards the top of those search result lists. Similarly, if you’re no longer looking, make sure you don’t log on to these sites as some job boards equate this to a profile modification firing you back up the recently searching for work lists, check out our guide here if you’re retiring from job hunting.


It’s important to remember that when you upload your personal data and CV to a job board that they then have ownership of those details and in some cases you have little rights to what then happens to your personal data.

Your data can be passed to any third party or recruiting partner who may then market to you. Even when you want to delete your details, they can still be retained by anyone they’ve passed them on to until you hunt each of them down. Think like Taken’s Liam Neeson.

Most agencies pride themselves on keeping their own databases of specific candidates. Lets look at some figures. There are over 10,000 job boards online. When you consider that just one of them, CV Library, has over 10,000 companies registered and approximately 38% of them are agencies (these are 2015 figures); your details could end up far and wide.

Considering the advances in big data, machine learning and computational power, your profile (structured data) and CVs (unstructured data) offer a rich source of information on your life. Future developments could mean that your data on these job boards will be used to market to you in ways you’ve yet to dream of. They’ll know your cat is pregnant before you do.

Here are a few tips to give you some control:


The corner cutters of the recruitment world will download your CV and, without seeking your permission, mass mailshot it to their list of contacts often on an unsolicited, untargeted basis. Watermarking your document with your contact details should stop them doing this and force them to contact you directly for a version they can edit before sending it anywhere. You can then discuss their plans for your CV with them. Recruiters earn their fee by charging for your introduction. If your details are still spammed out, recipients can simply contact you directly so there could be a positive outcome for you. Find out how to watermark your CV here – include your full name and contact details.

Set up a job search email address

Be wary of using your day-to-day email address on a job board as the likelihood of being spammed is high. Set up a specific job search email address to manage your applications. When you’ve finished job hunting it makes tracking down your details and having them removed less stressful if the avenue of contact is then a defunct or unused email address. When finished, you can delete the mailbox or just reserve it for future use.


Narrowing the content of your CV to a specific job application and job type will make the contact you receive more in line with what you want to find and also make it harder for your CV to be spammed out.


Tough these days but keep a list and if you follow some of the guidelines here it should be easier.


If someone is good enough to give you a reference return the favour by being careful with their personal data. Add “references provided on request” if uploading your CV online. Their details will be used by recruiters to solicit new business or fact find within the market. This is sometimes luridly referred to as “CV Stripping”.

If your current employer is listed as a reference you’re also leaving yourself open to alerting your referee that you’re looking. Due to the parsing (aka CV reading/analysis) software used by recruiters their contact details could easily be used in place of your own.


Barriers of entry for companies into the recruitment market are low and the checks in place by job boards are virtually nonexistent which means your data could end up in the hands of nefarious types. Check out who you’re dealing with before going any further, check out how to choose your job hunting partners.

Using job websites is a sure fire way to fast track your entry into the job-hunting marketplace but it comes with a legacy. You can mitigate but not eliminate the lack of control over what happens to your details.  For more info, check out this article.

If you want true security, do your homework and apply directly to your list of target employers. Or if you’re short on time and/or expertise, work with 1-2 reputable specialist agents with the connections and knowhow to help.

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