It should come as no huge surprise that the economic downturn has led to a surge in activity on jobs sites.

According to comScore, uniques on job sites grew 51 precent from December 2007 to December 2008. Job Search led the category with 9.1 million visitors, up 78 percent versus year ago, followed by Job Search* with 6.7 million visitors (up 62 percent) , Yahoo! HotJobs Job Search with 5.6 million visitors (up 146 percent) and Job Search with 5.1 million visitors (up 88 percent). SimplyHired, Inc. had the strongest growth rate of the top ten sites in the category, growing 161 percent to 3.1 million visitors.

ComScore tends to take the high-level view, so we’re not seeing data on regional sites, industry-specific boards and the like. But it’s safe to say everyone is seeing a surge in traffic.

At the same time, it’s likely these boards are seeing a drop in revenue as employers find themselves in a buyer’s market when they do have openings, and spending less time and money on posting jobs everywhere.

How should the smart job board respond? By becoming indispensible to those jobseekers. Many are in the open job market for the first time, in a career of relatively easy moves from job to job.

This is the time to make an impression and create a customer-for-life. Some ideas:

-Position as the most comprehensive source of jobs in a region, a category or any other criteria that has a lot of activity. This may mean scraping openings off employers’ sites.
-Pump up resume services and advice
-Host or sponsor networking events
-Other ideas?  Share them below

The job market will turn at some point (hopefully soon) and when it does, the boards with the most valuable and loyal users will be the ones that get employers’ business.





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