If you're planning a career change this year, you're in good company. A 2018 study from California software and recruiting firm Jobvite found that more than 80 percent of American workers are currently looking for a new job. In many cases, job hunters face the same question: What is the best way to pursue that next career step?

Many candidates use digital platforms to look for opportunities. Chicago-based recruitment consultant SilkRoad recently reported that three-quarters of applicants turn to online job boards during a job search. The problem is that job boards deposit candidates into a massive pile where it is hard to stand out.

Digital hiring tools are popular with applicants and recruiters alike, but many of them don't deliver efficient results. Fortunately, some smaller firms have built tools that do a better job than giant job boards. Here are five you should know about.

1. Stellares

One problem with traditional recruiting platforms is that they often match candidates to opportunities based on their titles or skills. It's much rarer to find one that accounts for such vital factors as team dynamics, fit with a potential boss and alignment with core values.

Unlike job boards and even recruiting agencies, Stellares facilitates holistic matching by factoring in credentials that go beyond a candidate's resume. Designed to identify high-end talent, Stellares uses artificial intelligence to understand each candidate's personality, goals, work-life preferences, passions and fit with a prospective team. Its A.I. scouts the world for ideal roles and presents up to five tailored opportunities. Users can engage by texting Stellares' "AI Talent Agent" about their ideal career path and preferred opportunities.

2. LiveCareer Apply

Part of what makes job applications time-consuming is that every employer requests the same basic information -- but in different ways. Many candidates don't have time to spend an hour on every application. International recruitment agency Hays reports that 71 percent of applicants abandon an online application if it takes more than 15 minutes.

Candidates who want a more efficient application process can turn to LiveCareer Apply. The autofill tool promises to help candidates complete on online application in half the time, and LiveCareer Apply is compatible with ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, Monster and more.

3. Switch

Smartphones aren't just for shopping and social media. A CareerBuilder survey found that 70 percent of candidates search for opportunities on these devices, and nearly half of employees have applied for a role using their mobile device. Nevertheless, few online applications are optimized for mobile users.

Switch is designed to mobilize the application process. Originally built for professionals in the tech and digital media sectors and described as the "Tinder of online job search tools," Switch lets users create professional profiles, upload resumes and wait for job recommendations. By swiping right on a recommended job, a candidate sends a notification -- and his or her anonymous profile -- to the role's hiring manager. If the hiring manager swipes right as well, Switch opens a chat window so the two can start a conversation.

4. Shapr

Although anyone can apply to roles listed online, 85 percent of jobs are filled by networking. Of course, technology can't build your network for you. It can, however, make crucial introductions.

Like Switch, Shapr's Tinder-like interface presents users with the profiles of nearby professionals. Factoring in professional interests, work experience, location and industry, Shapr matches users with 10 to 15 similar professionals each day. If users swipe right on each other, Shapr opens a chat window so they can start networking.

5. Mixmax

Whether it's fair or not, job selection depends upon which resumes hiring managers actually see. If you have your sights set on a particular company, it's wise to make sure the firm's recruiter sees your application.

Mixmax addresses this by reporting whether emails are opened and, if so, by whom. Mixmax also includes a delayed-send tool to ensure recruiters receive your application on a day and time when they are most likely to read it. Mixmax makes batch emailing easier with one-click templates, allowing you to follow up with multiple employers efficiently.

Finding the right opportunity will always take time, but online job boards are often less effective than they appear. Nobody really has the time or desire to search through millions of postings to discover a diamond in the rough -- but that doesn't mean your ideal job isn't out there. Before you settle for a part-time gig down the street, make these unique career building tools work for you.