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Make Your Online Job Search Work For You

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Viewing job boards one by one is so yesterday! Discover the new hotness (and convenience) of search agents and aggregators.

The great Search Light and Electric Tower, Pan American Exposition., Digital ID G91F104_018F, New York Public LibraryAn effective job search involves a varied and creative approach.  One of the most over-used approaches to job hunting is submitting resumes online in response to job postings.  While it is possible to get a job using this method, it's important to keep in mind that online job hunting is one of the least effective ways to look for a job.  However, with almost every major company recruiting via online application, it's impossible to completely avoid incorporating online tools into your job search strategy.

The good news about online job hunting is that many job boards offer features that make it easy for job seekers to maximize the time they spend reviewing online job postings.  (In case you missed the hints in the first paragraph, I'm suggesting you spend as little time as possible looking for work online.)  Here are a few tools that every job seeker should take advantage of today:

  • Job Search Agents:  Imagine the freedom having an electronic fairy godmother search your favorite online job boards, picking the creme de la creme of the listings and delivering them to your inbox as often as you wish?  Did you know that most job boards already offer a feature like this for free? Admittedly, the real job search agent isn't quite as glamorous as the fairy godmother job search agent in that you do have to tell it what you think creme de la creme looks like in a job posting.  Features for job search agents vary depending on the site you are using, so not all of these tips will apply to all job search agents, in general: set-up the notification emails for daily, create several agents (you can always delete the ones that don't give you good results), start with a broad time frame (e.g. job postings going back up to 6 months), reduce the time frame after a month to job postings that are less than 7 days old.  Also, whenever possible, select the option to exclude postings by 3rd parties.  Some companies do the majority of their recruitment through placement agencies and headhunters, but if you are reviewing job postings, it's better to try to view the ones posted directly by companies so you don't end up applying for the same position by accident.  (Employers sometimes will enlist the assistance of multiple search firms to fill positions.  When search firms post open positions online, they often list the company name as "confidential" which makes it difficult for job seekers to tell whether the posting is for a unique position or if it's just a different search firm trying to fill the same position.)
  • Posting Your Resume Online:  Nobody believes me when I tell them this, but it's true that posting your resume online is the most efficient way to use an online job board.  However, it only works if you do it effectively.  For starters, make sure that your resume includes all of the key words recruiters are likely to use to search for candidates in positions you are interested in.  If you do not want to work in a customer service call center keep terms like customer service and sales off of your resume.  Refresh your resume at least once a day.  Refreshing your resume keeps it close to the top of the search results when recruiters search for candidates.  Avoid using the anonymous posting feature if at all possible.  You will get more calls if recruiters can just contact you directly.
  • Use job posting aggregators:  The two most popular job posting aggregators are Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com  These job search engines search thousands of online job boards for you and deliver the results to your screen in one list!  Also, they can help you discover new and unusual job boards that you may have never thought of.  Best of all, like other job boards, Indeed and SimplyHired have job search agents, so you can have them work double-duty by searching several job boards at once and emailing the postings to you.
  • Use a better job board:  Not all job boards are created equal.  As a job seeker, look for job boards that specialize in the types of positions you are looking for.  If you are in IT, use Dice.  If you want a nonprofit job, check-out Idealist.org.  Want a government job?  Try USAJobs.  If you're interested in working for a Fortune 500 company, check-out JobCentral.  JobCentral is maintained by Direct Employers, and features job postings directly from employer websites.  Participating organizations include top companies ranging from Abbot to GE to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

So logon, smile and remember that when it comes to online job hunting, search smart, not hard!

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you forgot to mention use regional boards

Localizing a search is also very helpful. Here's a site that lists links to employer job pages in 41 metro areas including NYC. Visitors can scan hundreds of employer job pages in an afternoon. http://www.jobsearchshortcut.com

Jobs index

Personally, I find that online job sites are a good way to search and research the employment market. My last few jobs were all found online but it does take a long time to find work. However, I think the current state of unemployment could be getting better in the coming year as I have noticed more and more jobs listed online. Yet, the biggest issue is choosing the right job search site. I recently compared Monster and SnagAJob on an online <a href="http://www.dozenjobs.com/">jobs index</a> listed on dozenjobs.com and it was helpful. I found that some job sites offer more listings than others and have easier application processes.

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