Zoe recently posted on  the techjobs blog requesting feedback from people on their use of job boards to find new positions. This post really coincided with some work I am doing mining resumes off of said job boards (yes, we call it mining, 'cause good resumes are like gold). I try to do this regularly, regardless of what else I have going on, so I can stay up to date with what is going on in the industry. For example, finding that  there are a lot of marketing resumes posted by employees of a certain company. I am not naming <company> names...I'm just saying that we like to know who is looking!

So seeing that some people have not had success with the job boards, and given the fact that I have hired lots of people using job boards, I thought I would offer some tips or pointers. Remember, that I am mostly looking for marketing talent and this is just my opinion. Here goes:

1) Make sure your “resume headline” is good. Whether a recruiter uses search agents to pull candidate resumes or does ad-hoc searches, your headline is what they see in their search results. And they usually have to click on that link to get more info about you. When you are entering your resume, think about the words that will interest the recruiter in your background. I found that simple and explanatory work best. “Security Product Planner” works. “Enterprise Collaboration Tools Marketer” works. “Strategic professional with an eye on the bottom line” does not. “Resume of Joe Smith” does not. Words I don't like too much: strategic, aspiring, cutting-edge, out-of-the-box, pretty much any buzz word.

2) Your headline needs to match your experience. If you have been reading this blog for a bit, you know I hire mostly product managers, marketing managers and business development managers (plus other marketing roles at Microsoft). I notice that sometimes people use the headline on their resume to mention the roles they want, not the experience they have. This will just frustrate the recruiters. Job boards may not be your best option if you are trying to make a career change.

3) “Confidential this“, “confidential that“. Recruiters see many, many resumes. I can't even tell you how many hundreds (?) of thousands come into Microsoft every year. And we track each and every one (yes every one!). We can't do that if we don't know who you are. When I see a confidential resume, I wonder if I or one of my co-workers have already spoken with or interviewed the candidate before. When the name of the company is “confidential” it makes me wonder why and whether the work was of significant scope. Listen, I understand why you may not want your employer to know you are looking. If you can post your resume without making your name or company name confidential, please try to do it. It will significantly increase your chances of being contacted by the recruiters from the larger companies. It's easier to do the “confidential” thing if you are using a headhunter because they have an “in” at the client company and can explain your situation to the hiring authority.

As far as the content of the resume, see my previous post on marketing resumes. Right now, I am mostly looking at hotjobs and monster.com (if I recruited for technical, I'd look at dice also). I'll post in the future about responding to job descriptions posted on the major job boards. And of course, there are “niche“ sites that I will share some info on as well. Please let me know if you have questions!