Simplifying Your Job Search: Tips to Finding Open Positions
When I was fresh out of college and still searching for a job, I had no idea where to look. I’d of course heard of the big job boards, but beyond that I had no clue where to look. Newspapers haven’t been an effective source of entry level jobs for college grads in years, and my only other recourse was looking at my alma mater’s website in hopes of finding something open. The result was my 2 years working in recruitment, bad for me, good for my readers.
I’ve found that recruiters and HR professionals tend to overlook the fact that first time prospects and people who have been employed since before the new millennium turned over don’t really know where to find jobs. But by following a few simple tips you’ll be finding those hidden positions in no time.
1. Use the Job Boards, But Don’t Rely on Them: Odds are Monster, HotJobs and CareerBuilder will have some good positions in your area that you qualify for, but there are a lot of things you don’t know about the boards. They tend to send your resume in an ASCII format, meaning all that work you did in Word to format it perfectly has gone to waste. They also rank and score your resume, and will occasionally only send the highest scoring entries to the hiring manager. Combine that with the immense volume of people on those sites, and the odds of your resume even being seen don’t appear to be too great. If there is an e-mail address listed, always send in the application yourself, otherwise feel free to use the board’s “Apply Now” feature; just don’t be too hopeful of getting a response.
2. Associations Can Be Your Best Friends: And the best part is, you usually don’t have to join to see their job ads. The American Marketing Association has marketingpower.com, The Society for Human Resource Managers has SHRM.org, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has a great job board at AICPA.org. These are sites that the masses aren’t taking advantage of, so if you’re working in a field that has an association you might be able to get a leg up on your competition.
3. Craig’s List Isn’t Just for Random Encounters: Yes, that’s right, there is valuable content on your local Craig’s List, and it isn’t just lightly used furniture or cheap dates. If you live in a large urban area (Think New York City, Seattle, Chicago etc) posting a job to Craig’s List is only $25, and if you’re in most areas of the country it’s no charge just like everything else on the site. This can be a great way for employers to find good candidates while keeping their cost per hire at an absolute minimum. Not only does this turn Craig’s List into almost a Fark for job openings, but generally, it means employers will place the ad on Craig’s List before anywhere else, and the first people to get their resume in are generally looked at more thoroughly than the general rabble that pours in later. But beware of dubious opportunities.
4. Local Sites Have Value: There have been a lot of local sites springing up recently that cater to specific areas (usually states or major cities) that almost serve as localized versions of the larger job boards, and that generally have lower traffic and contain much less clutter. BostonJobs.com, NJCareers.com, ChicagoJobs.com and LosAngelesRecruiter.com are just a few of the options available. Simply google “(State Name) Job Boards” and you should find something to fit your needs.
5. Google Itself Can be a Great Resource: The use of Search Engine Marketing (pay per click) has become really popular in the recruitment field. Purchasing sponsored links from Google and Yahoo has become a way for hiring managers to attract passive job seekers to apply to difficult to fill positions. You can, however, use this to your advantage. Need a job in chemical engineering? Google “Chemical Engineers” or “Chemical Engineer Jobs” a few times and see what comes up. This has been an especially useful tool for very specialized, hard-to-fill positions.
A lot of recruiters tend to take it for granted that applicants are going to know where to find them, especially small businesses. It’s important for young professionals to know where to look to find the job of their dreams. After all, it doesn’t matter how good your cover letter and resume are if you have nobody to send it to.