Why Job Boards Don’t Work for Finding Jobs Abroad (and what you should do instead)


I don’t believe that job boards work as an effective way to find a job abroad. They are flooded with applicants and it’s more common than not to apply via a job board and then never hear anything back from the company.

Throughout my time running BrainGain, one of the most frustrating experiences I had is what I like to call the “Spray and Pray” method.

One day I would wake up, look at all of our applications, and see that one person applied to over 100 jobs.

For some reason, this is more common than you would think. People sign onto a job board and blindly apply for every job that they see, regardless of whether or not they are ACTUALLY a good fit for it in the first place.

Indians especially are notorious for going onto job boards and doing this. 9.5/10 times when I saw this on BrainGain, it was someone from India.

Please don’t do this.

If you’re sending a blanket resume/cover letter to every company you can find, it’s not going to work.

If you’re randomly applying to every job you see, it’s not going to work.

Sending out your resume to 100 different companies based on what you have seen on Job Boards doesn’t work.

Job boards are not effective at finding you a job.

Don’t believe me? The author of the best selling career advice book of all time, Dick Bolles, estimates that the chance of landing a job from just sending your resume to a company is around 1 in 1,000.

That means you need to send out 100 resumes just to have a 10% chance of landing a job.

Why is this the case? If it’s on a popular job board, it’s being seen by 1000s of other people, making for a flooded application process.

Ouch. I won’t lie. When I found this research it’s what made me start thinking about new ways to help our candidates. It’s what inspired me to make this post.


So what can you do instead?

Get Referrals

So if applying on job boards isn’t the most effective way of finding a job online, what is?


Employers prefer to hire people that they already know, or if they can’t do that, hire via an introduction of someone that they already know.

Try to get inside the mind of an employer. Which would you prefer? A recommendation from someone on your team who you trust and have worked with before, or a random CV that came from an internet website?

Referrals work because the person has already been vouched for. They already have an idea of what they can expect from the person. They know that the person will fit in well with their team.

In fact, recruiters consider REFERRALS to be the #1 most preferred method of finding candidates.

Let’s continue to get inside of the mind of the employer. When making a hire at their company, what steps do they normally take?

#1 – Promote from within the company – find someone who is a good fit for the position that already works there that can be promoted.

#2 – Referral from someone they trust

#3 – Using an agency they trust – working with a recruiter or hiring agency

#4 – Advertisement for a job they are hiring for

#5 – Resume sent directly to them

If you think about it, most candidates approach this process backwards. They send their resume blindly to companies, reply to job ads, then go to a recruiter, and THEN go for referrals.

Flip your approach for success. Don’t fight an uphill battle.

Around 50% of jobs are made through connections – THIS IS WHERE YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME

Now, how do we generate referrals and connections? I’ve covered how to do this effectively in two other articles:

1) My favorite resources for Cold-Emailing
2) How to generate referrals

What have we learned?

1) Job Boards don’t work. You have a 1 in 10,000 chance of finding a job on a job board – don’t spend your time there.
2) Generate connections and referrals instead.

Isn’t that simple!?

Seems easy, and the process is, but remember that this is in many ways a sales process. You’re going to need a lot of leads, a lot of conversations, and a lot of referrals in order to bring your dreams to reality.

It’s possible. It’s probable that it will work. But you will need to put in the time and energy necessary in order to make it happen.

Can you make it happen?!?!

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