Remember the days when looking for a new job involved the Sunday newspaper classified section and a black magic marker? Thanks to technology, looking for a job today seems to require an advanced degree in data analysis. There are millions of positions posted online across an ever-changing landscape of job boards, company websites, social networks, apps, and more.
What’s a job seeker to do? You have to become a curator of your own personal job feed, narrowing down all of the various websites and listings to a truly personalized stream of opportunities. The best way to do this is to set up a select group of bookmarked websites and email alerts that you view every day. Here’s how:
1. Get specific. If you were searching for a pair of shoes online, it wouldn’t be a very good strategy to go to Google or another search engine and type in “shoes.” You’d more likely visit the website of a retailer that caters to your specific style and budget, then search for the type of shoes you want — the style, the price range and perhaps the color or heel height. The same goes for job hunting. A common mistake among job seekers using the biggest job boards — such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com — is to search too broadly.
Your first step in cultivating a personal job feed is to get clear on the exact terms that best match the jobs you want. If you cast too wide a net, such as searching on “marketing” or “Atlanta” or “writing skills,” you’ll receive too many results that waste your time and energy.
Always use the Advanced Search page for any job board you visit, which allows you to enter multiple search criteria (such as marketing jobs in Atlanta that require excellent writing skills), and be as specific as possible in terms of industry, location, experience level and other factors (such as specifying “online marketing” or “copywriting skills.” Yes, you may occasionally miss out on a listing here or there, but you’ll make up for it in the time saved culling through hundreds of postings that don’t fit your needs.
2. Increase your niche know-how. The term “hyper-local” doesn’t just apply to news; it also applies to jobs. Many employers want to weed out unqualified candidates, so they only post jobs on dedicated job boards for their industries. One of your tasks as a job seeker is to find the niche job boards for your field.
The easiest way to do this is to perform a Google search on the name of your industry and the word “jobs.” Examples of niche industry job boards include Mediabistro.com, Insurancejobs.com, HRJobs.com, and Idealist.org (for nonprofit positions).
Industry jobs can also be found on the websites of the professional or trade associations that serve that field. For instance, the Society for Human Resource Management has a job board, as does the American Marketing Association. If you’re not sure of the association(s) that serve your industry, check out the American Society of Association Executives’ Gateway to Associations Directory, then visit the websites of the associations to see if they offer job postings.
Industry is not the only niche, of course. If you want to work at a company specifically seeking diverse job candidates, a Google search on “diversity jobs” yields sites such as DiversityJobs.com. If telecommuting or having a flexible schedule is of utmost importance, a Google search on the term “flexibility jobs” delivers FlexJobs.com. Typing in the phrase “executive jobs” results in sites such as 6figurejobs.com and TheLadders.com.
Once you find the job boards in your desired niches, bookmark those sites for easy daily reference and, when available, also sign up for daily email alerts that you will receive when new jobs are posted that fit your search criteria.
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