Six Steps to Launch a Successful Niche Job Board in Your Community

Launching a job board is an excellent way to support both the businesses and individuals in your community. A job board will help businesses recruit and hire the critical talent they need to fill their open positions, and will help individuals and job seekers become aware of the breadth of opportunities available so they can find a great fit for their skills.

If you are part of a local economic development or community organization (such as a chamber of commerce or trade and professional association), you are already connected to businesses and individuals in your community from existing programs, and are in an excellent position to facilitate these connections by launching (or upgrading) a job board on your website.

If you haven't launched a job board before, it can be challenging to get this process right. Here are six key steps to follow when launching a job board for your community.

1. Evaluate your goals with a job board

Before launching a new job board, it's important to ask yourself what your own goals are as an administrator of the new resource. Besides connecting the job seekers and employers in your community together, what are you hoping to accomplish? Some examples of common goals for a community job board might include:

  • Increasing traffic to your website so more people can learn about your organization and services
  • Growing your email subscriber list so you can stay in touch with more people that your community might be able to help
  • Helping businesses with a major challenge in hiring, to improve the perception of your brand and attract sponsors for your organization
  • Attracting newcomers or returnees to your community that can provide new talent and skills

By setting realistic goals for your community job board and specific metrics you want to achieve, you’ll be more poised for success long term.

For example, one of the organizations that TrueJob has worked with, Ann Arbor SPARK, wanted to attract more visitors to their website and get those visitors to become more engaged in the Ann Arbor community as a whole.

Since SPARK added a jobs page to their website, they now see roughly 50% of all website traffic starting from their jobs page, in addition to a dramatic increase in newsletter sign ups and engagement.

A sample of jobs posted on the SPARK job board

2. Choose your focus or niche

One of the competitive advantages you have as a community organization is your detailed knowledge of your specific community and its key companies, industries, and trends.

Using that information, you should choose what industry or other niche you'd like your job board to focus on. This will allow you to showcase the types of jobs you want to highlight in your community. Examples of how to focus your job board include:

Technology or 'Knowledge Worker' jobs

This niche could include jobs involved with startups, biotech, software development, blockchain technology, etc. It could be ideal if you have a new or growing technology sector in your community that you want to support and highlight.

Local Internships

This niche might make sense if you have a local educational institution and want to highlight how students, graduates, and young adults can find jobs in their current community that can kick start their careers and provide opportunities for long term career advancement.

Jobs in Manufacturing or Skilled Trades

This niche might make sense for trade or professional associations focused on showcasing jobs in their industry that can develop into skilled, long term professions.

Whatever the case, your focus will depend on the specific aspects of your community that you want to highlight.

Remember, large job boards like Indeed or Monster don't know your community the way you do. These sites care more about quantity, not quality. With a job board solution that enables you to curate the exact types of jobs you want to highlight you can start to attract new talent to your community and benefit the companies you serve.

High quality, curated job postings are essential for your success

3. Choose your software provider

Once you have your goals and a target or niche for your job board in mind, you'll need to choose a software solution that can help you achieve those goals. You should look for a solution that addresses the specific needs of economic development organizations or communities like yours.

Choose a cloud-based SaaS solution

Limited solutions like Wordpress plugins can provide basic functionality, but are more difficult to implement without technical knowledge, have upgrades that you'll need to manage yourself, and do not offer key tracking, metrics and reporting capability that you’ll need to demonstrate the value you’re providing.

Alternatively, a website developer could build a custom job board solution into your website. This may enable you to have more functionality than a basic solution like a plugin, but it will come at a much higher cost, and if the developer does not have experience building job boards specifically for your type of organization, they will not know which features are critical to your success.

Cloud based software comes with many advantages

That's why we recommend you choose a cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS) solution that offers an easy way to integrate into your existing website and manages all hosting and upgrades for you. Here are a few resources for you to learn more about these types of solutions:

Choose a solution specifically designed for economic and community development organizations

TrueJob has identified eight critical features that your organization needs in a job board to make it successful. These are not features you will find available in generic job board products.

  • Branding: Promoting your brand and improving the perception of your brand is essential. Your job board should integrate seamlessly into your website and feature your organization's colors and logo.
  • Curation: You need to make sure you select a solution that offers you the ability to curate jobs, so you can select exactly which jobs and companies appear, allowing you to focus on the industry or niche you're trying to promote in your community.
  • Easy to use and maintain: Adding a job board should not create more work for you. In addition, a job board must be easy for employers and job seekers to use so they stay engaged.
  • Pandora like matching: To keep job seekers engaged, it is essential that your job board offer high quality matching features that can take feedback and provide recommendations for relevant jobs, the way Pandora recommends music.
  • Automated job scraping: Your job board can't be empty when you first launch. You need a system that can collect high quality job postings directly from the websites of companies in your community - not low quality backfilling.
  • Support: Your job board needs to have support resources like videos and written documentation, both for your organization and the employers and job seekers.
  • ATS: An applicant tracking system provides tremendous value for smaller employers that don't already have an HR or other system in place to track applicants through the hiring process.
  • Analytics: Finally, make sure your job board tracks the key metrics you need to see your job board's success, and makes this data easily available so that you can share that data with your local government, board, or other stakeholders and sponsors. The more data you have, the more easily you’ll be able to demonstrate the direct, quantifiable impact of your organization and sustain the critical funding you need.

When choosing a provider, especially if you haven't launched a job board before, you should make sure you partner with a job board provider that understands all of the critical features you need, all of the steps to follow, and all of the challenges you are likely to face when launching a new job board in your community.

4. Reach out to employers and collect job postings before launch

After you’ve chosen your job board solution, the next step is to start adding job postings before launch. Remember, to be successful, you’ll need to connect two groups together in one place: job seekers and employers that your community serves. Without proper planning, the first job seekers that visit your new job board may not have any jobs to look at! An empty job board can kill your chances for success before you’ve even gotten started.

First time visitors might not return if all they see is a blank page

You will dramatically increase your chances of success and your ability to attract return visitors by collecting high quality job postings before you launch your job board.

To do that, your first step is to reach out directly to the employers you know and ask them to post their job openings. If you are an economic development organization, for example, you already have programs, incentives, and events that you offer employers in your area and can leverage your existing contacts with local companies. These companies need talent to fill their open positions, and you can support them by offering a new, free (we highly recommend offering job postings at no cost, especially when starting out) resource.

Onboarding companies will be critical to your job board success, and at TrueJob we know how important this step is and offer sample email templates you can use when contacting employers.

What if you can't get enough job postings by reaching out to these employers, or if there are companies that are unresponsive that you still want to appear? If this is the case, you will ideally work with a job board solution that can help you use web scraping technology to collect job postings directly from company websites to add to your job board.

This is different than low quality 'backfilling' from job board aggregators that you may hear about from other job board providers. “Backfilling” jobs lowers the overall quality of postings on your job board and sends traffic away to aggregators like Indeed or Monster. You should look for a solution that instead pulls high quality postings directly from company websites.

5. Develop a promotional campaign

Now that you've reached out to employers and have a group of quality job postings on your job board, it's time to start planning how you will promote and drive visitors and traffic to this new part of your website.

Your job board's promotional campaign will vary based on your community, but could include:

  • Press Releases
    • See an example of how TechTown announced their job board with TrueJob
  • Email blasts to your contact list
  • Announcements at stakeholder meetings and events
  • Blog or social media posts
  • Adwords and other online advertising campaigns

Ideally, the job board you choose will be able to collect contact information from job seekers and other visitors that you can then use to start building or growing your existing contact list. With a contact list of users interested specifically in jobs in your community, you'll have the opportunity to re-engage those visitors by periodically emailing when new job postings or companies are added.

After you've launched your job board, activity happening on the job board can be a constant source of new, fresh content to promote. This could include new job postings, new companies starting or expanding and hiring, and - if you're using a solution that follows up with employers and tracks when jobs are filled - success stories as people get hired.

An example of a social media post promoting a new job posting on a community job board

6. Launch + Track

Once you have the job board on your website, have populated it with high quality job postings, and have built your promotional plan, it's time to launch!

Remember, it will take time to grow the audience of your job board, so continuing promotion and persistence is critical to your success.

Make sure that your job board is able to track key metrics: from the basics like jobs posted and viewed, to engagement metrics like job applications submitted, all the way to employers filling their job postings. By tracking these metrics, you'll be able to see if your audience is growing over time and if you're achieving the goals you laid out at the start.

TrueJob's analytics dashboard provides data and graphs like this one so you can watch as your audience grows

Interested in learning more or excited to get started? Ready to launch your own community job board? Schedule a demo with TrueJob and we'll show you how our solution can help you launch a successful job board in your community.

The Best Way to Promote Your EDO's Brand on Social Media

iStock-638734856-1

The marketing team for an economic development organization (which might just be one person) is constantly looking for new and exciting ways to promote the EDO brand to both companies and employees in their region, as well as to the organizations that fund them. There is one singular issue that can attract the attention of all constituents: jobs.

A main function of economic development organizations is to promote job growth in their geographic or industry region. In order to most effectively do this, EDOs first need to offer their own job boards on their websites that consolidate curated jobs from key employers in their regions. It is also imperative that this job board capture key metrics to help it promote the EDO brand.

Once the job board is functioning and delivering value, it becomes an opportunity for an EDO to promote the EDO brand and to help attract and capture more people for marketing purposes. Having a job board can easily double your website traffic and provide you with a great opportunity to capture names and email addresses.

An EDO can use social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote the job board and therefore the EDO brand. Many companies and people in the region are much more interested in jobs available than they are in hearing about other issues promoted by the EDO.

The key to improved branding using social media is to promote topics that have universal appeal to companies, employees (and potential employees) and funders.

EDOs can promote:

  • the job board itself
  • recent job openings
  • success stories with corporate customers
  • new employers in the region
  • metrics on jobs in the region

Jenn Cornell VP Marketing & Communications at Ann Arbor SPARK says:

“Our job board (TrueJob) has been an incredible asset to our website. It’s an impactful driver of website traffic; the job portal was viewed over 300,000 times in the last year, more than double the traffic from the previous year.”

Here are some examples of how Ann Arbor SPARK, the largest EDO in Michigan, promoted their job board, increased website traffic, improved brand awareness and value and helped to capture names and email addresses for other marketing purposes. When doing the this, the EDO will notice that these posts get more views, likes and shares than other non-job related posts. This helps the region AND promotes the brand.

facebook-job-link

Here, SPARK has chosen a new job posting to highlight. This posting links directly to the job board on their website, driving more traffic and engagement. This position is also in a driving industry that SPARK is interested in promoting for the region. They’ve used best practices for posting on social media, including using short URLs and using an image as part of the post.

twitter-jobs

Here SPARK is promoting the job board that’s available on their website, highlighting the number of high quality jobs available, and linking directly to the job board. If you have a job board that tracks key metrics, you’ll be able to highlight those metrics in your social media campaigns.

facebook-signup

Here SPARK is promoting their mailing lists. By using social media to drive more signups to your marketing email lists, you can engage those users again and again by linking to the job board to your website, inviting them to events, and much more.

job-seeker-email

Finally, here is an email outreach campaign from SPARK. New job postings are highlighted and link directly to the job board on their EDO website. The design is simple and gives job seekers a quick way to browse and click on jobs they are interested, then re-engage with your EDO website. If you aren't already growing your contact list, a job board that collects contact information can help you do so.

In a recent webinar, Jenn Cornell, VP of Marketing at Ann Arbor SPARK said:

"We didn't have a good mechanism for capturing new email addresses to keep our list very targeted and very focused on job seekers. After TrueJob started giving us the ability to pull contacts who'd opted in, our open rate went up to over 25% and the click through rate more than doubled to 11%, and it continues to improve."

In summary, in order to best promote the EDO brand, you need to focus on subjects that people pay attention to: jobs. Having a job board and using social media to promote the job board will increase traffic to your website, help you better promote your brand and get the traction that you want with employers, people in your community and the organizations that fund the EDO.

Interested in learning more? Watch a recent webinar on marketing your EDO.

How a job board adds value to an Economic Development Organization's marketing team

Marketing teams across all organizations are focused on their brand image, helping to attract new customers and proving the value of what they are doing with metrics.

For an Economic Development Organization (EDO), it is no different. But an EDO marketing team also has the challenge of supporting three related, but different constituencies. They need to support:

  • The companies focused in their region (geographic or industry or both)
  • The population that may want to work for those companies, and
  • The organizations that fund the EDO (public or private or both)

So, EDO marketing teams are constantly seeking ways and quantitative metric measurement to support these three groups.

Having an EDO sponsored job board can be the very best way to help in this initiative. But many EDO’s make the mistake of forcing the companies in their region to be solely responsible for talent acquisition. This is a lost marketing opportunity and often violates the charter of the EDO. An EDO sponsored job board:

  • Helps the companies in the region,
  • Is a valuable asset for job seekers both inside and outside the region,
  • Is a recruitment tool for companies highlighting options to move to the region, and
  • Is a tremendous asset to the EDO itself in terms of metrics.

While many companies post their jobs on their company-specific website, there is no central source of curated jobs for the entire region. Individuals both inside and outside the region want a broad picture of what kind of openings are available. This can only happen through a centralized third-party sponsored job board that publicizes postings from the multiple companies across the region. The EDO can then curate the companies and positions that appear on the job board to reflect the critical aspects of their mission such as technology, health care, or manufacturing.

Job seekers contemplating moving to a specific region can determine if there are enough alternatives for them should their first job not work out. Also, companies looking to potentially move to an area want to be quantitatively assured that there is a sizeable pool of relevant talent available in a region. The current focus on Amazon's search for a second warehouse is a great example -- it would be absurd to think that Amazon is not actively searching local EDO websites to get a better feel of companies and talent in a given region.

Next, the EDO itself wants to collect meaningful data about its region and help justify its own existence. If an EDO directs companies and applicants away from its own website, to say Indeed or Monster, they lose user engagement. Having a centralized job board encourages people to register at the EDO website, creating a wealth of information for other marketing purposes like newsletters, training, and events. A job board also helps potentially double or triple website traffic, a key measurement criteria for most EDOs. A job board also allows the EDO to get better metrics on jobs in the region. And, most importantly, a job board helps the EDO to justify precisely how many jobs were filled in the region by job type. This can be exceptionally important to funders wondering about the accomplishments of the EDO.

There are other benefits to companies in the EDO region as well. An EDO-sponsored job board can offer capabilities like applicant tracking services (ATS), to help smaller companies who do not have an HR department and/or recuriting tools. It can help companies of all sizes better understand what jobs, and what characteristics of individual jobs are more or less attractive to job seekers since the job board can have like and dislike capabilities all the way down to the word level.

Many EDOs are reluctant to add a job board to their website because of the fear of additional cost and work involved. A good EDO-specific job board can be implemented in days and can be administered by staff without technical website skills in under an hour a week.

Jenn Cornell, VP Marketing at Ann Arbor SPARK, Michigan’s largest EDO, says:

Our job board (TrueJob) has been an incredible asset to our website. It’s an impactful driver of website traffic; the job portal was viewed over 300,000 times in the last year, more than double the traffic from the previous year.

How a job board can help your EDO marketing team

  • Improve traffic to your website (which you are most likely directly measured on)
  • Highlight metrics that can tracked and measured, such as
    • Job openings posted
    • Jobs openings filled
  • Identify and track new companies signing up and posting jobs
  • Provide quality marketing content
  • Improve brand awareness for the EDO
  • Improve brand value (e.g., help smaller companies with applicant tracking and help all companies with qualities of jobs that applicants like and dislike)
  • Be used as a central place to direct visitors or companies during promotional events
  • Show the breadth of companies and positions available as compelling content for potential new job applicants and/or job seekers considering moving to the area
  • Show total job activity and demonstrate that the EDO helps companies (an appealing way to attract companies considering your region)
  • Be used as a tool to collect contact information for other marketing events
  • Provide a way to promote success stories to share, such as:
    • Companies that found people to hire
    • Individuals that decided to move to the area

So, adding a high quality and EDO-specific job board has many benefits to the marketing department of an EDO. It can dramatically improve the EDO's image, improve the support provided to large and small employers, double the traffic to the EDO's website and provide invaluable metrics for the EDO to help secure more funding. It can serve as a creative way to capture more contacts that can be used for other marketing purposes and help the EDO's business development team “sell” the region to potential companies interested in the region. Choosing a job board that was specifically designed for EDOs requires little effort and provides tremendous value that can’t be provided by generic job boards.

TechTown Launches New Job Board

TrueJob is proud to announce the launch of a new job board on the Detroit TechTown website.

TechTown Logo

Visit the job board

The following announcement was distributed on January 23, 2018, highlighting benefits of the new job board.

Announcing our new Job Portal!

You asked us to provide connections to jobs with startups, small businesses and leading tech companies. Now we do!

Employers: Sign up for our new Job Portal to find top talent for your startup, small business or tech enterprise.

Job seekers: Our carefully curated Job Portal will provide a one-stop connection to careers with startups, neighborhood retailers and other businesses driving Detroit’s economy.

Don’t see what you’re looking for right now? Don’t worry! Our portal will grow as more companies join.

Posting and searching are free!

Visit the Job Portal here.

Macomb County Launches Job Board

TrueJob is proud to announce the launch of a new job board in Macomb County, Michigan.

Macomb County Logo

Visit the job board

The following press release was distributed on January 16, 2018, highlighting benefits of the new job board.

Macomb County Launches Job Board

New tool to attract talent for careers in targeted industries

In an effort to better serve the business development clients of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development by attracting skilled professionals to the region, Macomb County is featuring a new web application to promote career opportunities offered by top employers.

“Our purpose is twofold,” said John Paul Rea, director of the department. “We want to support the businesses that have enlisted our services as they seek out candidates for their open positions. Secondly, we want the world to know about the great jobs waiting for them in Macomb County, Michigan.”

The launch of the Macomb County Jobs Board coincides with the 2018 North American International Auto Show – a time when the world is watching the newest technologies in mobility be revealed.

“Macomb County is a great place to call home, and our companies are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing capabilities and digital innovation,” said County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “We want talented people from near and far to get excited about the inspiring and high-paying jobs our companies have to offer, as well as our enviable quality of life.”

The new Jobs Board is powered by TrueJob, Inc., an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company that developed their hosted job board software product to meet the unique needs of economic development organizations, chambers and trade associations that want to increase the strategic value they offer the communities they serve. A targeted social media campaign will help to drive traffic to the newly created website, especially to NAIAS attendees and followers from across the globe.

Corporate clients of the department’s economic development staff are eligible to post open positions. To learn more about posting a position or to view those currently available, visit www.MacombBusiness.com.

About the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development
The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development supports an environment where businesses prosper and people thrive. Its activities and programs are focused on stimulating the local economy through business retention, expansion and attraction while improving the overall quality of life for residents. The department specializes in providing services to businesses at all stages of development with a concentration on the high-growth industries of aerospace, alternative energy, advanced manufacturing, defense, and homeland security. For more information, call (586) 469-5285 or visit www.MacombBusiness.com.