Before we dig into the topic of job boards and how to approach them, let’s look at our own approach to an online job search. Thankfully it’s not all that hard nowadays to get your resume in front of employers, but getting a job still remains as difficult as ever and that’s our goal, right?
The online job board world is a network of sites and message centers that enable employers to connect with job seekers much in the same way as online dating sites; by using algorithms to match certain key indicators. (‘Algorithm’ is just a fancy word for “secret formulas that crank out answers based on what you input”)
I intend on giving you a WAT Resource List of job sites in the next column, but before we go forward without knowing the opportunities that are out there, let’s see some things you need to know about job boards:
Many of the sites themselves will ask you to sign in using your email. This is common practice and might even be good for those of you that want to receive email alerts about possible job matches. Just remember to use an email that is professional (see my previous story).
Any site that asks for payment upfront without a trial period should be looked at carefully. I know a few that are “pay-only” sites, but, in general, be hesitant about paying for job results. There are too many free ones out there to try first and usually the employer pays any upfront fees.
You will notice many of the job sites will take you to another employer-based site calling for yet another sign in process. Although ridiculously time-consuming and redundant, this is not a scam and for many larger corporations it’s basic protocol.
Have both a WORD and PDF version of your resume open on your desktop and available for attaching to emails and sending. Not sure how to make a PDF out of that Word or other text document? Simply go to “File” and hit “Save As” and it should offer you the option to save your resume as a PDF version.
Once you get to searching for jobs, you can quickly become lost in a maze. On each site, you will want to refine your search. Trying different modifiers will help until you get the idea.
Here’s what I call a “Street Tip” because it’s off-the-record-unofficial and, in reality, unproven other than by myself and my friends:
Street Tip! Obviously you want to enter your location and your job title as parameters in a search, but maybe start with a wider net and then make it smaller. That will allow you to see at what point things like salary and job descriptions change. If you are a graphic designer, first start with a search that includes “Art Director” and see what results come up. Besides seeing how this position is different from yours, notice something important: if a company is hiring a position above you, there is a good chance that after that person is hired, he or she will want to bring in new people. So if you see an opening “above” you, make a mental note and in a month or two send a resume and a nice cover letter.
Next week we will see a Resource List of job sites to use and give tips for how to best use them in your job search. Remember that these sites have slightly different ways of working but some general basics apply. Sites designed for people in your industry, niche, or job title will often yield higher percentage results. On the other hand, larger sites can offer a better overall look at what the landscape looks like. You will want to use all of them, but do so systematically or this job search can turn into a full time, non-paying job itself.
Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.