Feature: The Best 58 Minutes You’ll Ever Spend
There is one big problem with using the Internet to find a new or better job. It can sometimes feel like walking into a fitness center for the first time. There are so many resources and so many different things you can do, it’s hard to know just where to begin. And adding to the challenge is our lack of time. In today’s competitive job market, every minute must do its part, or you run the risk of falling behind. What follows, therefore, is a personal fitness program for your job search on the Web. I call it The 58 Minute Set-Up. It’s the best way I know to get satisfying results with the Internet.
Step 1: Post your resume in the database at a specialty employment site. There are tens of thousands of such sites that focus on helping candidates in a specific career field, industry and/or geography. They are operated by organizations ranging from professional societies and trade groups to the alumni associations at colleges and universities and commercial recruitment site companies. For example, if you’re a senior executive in the finance field, you might enter your resume in the database at afponline.org, a site operated by the Association for Financial Professionals, or in the database at CareerJournal.com, a commercial site operated by The Wall Street Journal, or both.
Recruiters know that these sites specialize in candidates with your background, and posting your resume in their databases is a good way to make sure that they see you. Be careful, however, to do so only at those sites that provide a confidentiality feature in their resume database. Optimally, this feature should both preclude employers from obtaining your contact information without your prior approval and prevent anyone from using spiders and other software applications to make copies of your resume without your knowledge.
Your investment of time for submitting your resume to a database and proof-reading it once it’s posted: 20 minutes.
Step 2: Sign up for a job agent. These nifty little applications act as a personal shopper for your dream job. All you have to do is enter your employment objective, and the agent will then compare it to every job posted on a given site and privately notify you whenever there’s a match. There’s no hassle, no effort of your part, no fee and your confidentially is fully protected. It doesn’t get much better than that!
There are job agents at many different sites, including Monster.com, HotJobs.com, CareerBuilder.com and Dice and even at certain employer sites (e.g., Bernard Hodes Group at www.hodes.com). No single agent covers all of the jobs posted online and many are less than perfect in the results they provide. For that reason, I recommend that eventually you expand the number of job agents you use to at least three: one at a site that focuses on your career field, one at a site that focuses on the industry in which you work, and one at a site that serves the geographic area where you live (or want to).
The elapsed time to input your job search criteria into a job agent on a site: 8 minutes.
Step 3: Check out a potential employer’s Web-site. A growing number of employers now host career sections on their corporate Web-sites. These areas are the perfect place to do research on a particular organization’s culture, benefits, business strategy and career opportunities. In many cases, they will also provide a way for you to ask any questions you may have and offer an assessment instrument to help you determine if you would feel comfortable and challenged in their organization. Doing such homework has always been the best way to target your job search where it’s most likely to yield satisfying results, and the Web helps get your homework done quickly and effectively.
Which employer’s site should you visit? There are several ways you can research the possibilities and pinpoint which sites might be best for you:
The time required to visit an employer’s site and review the content and jobs posted there: 15 minutes.
Step 4: e-Network with friends and colleagues. Networking enables you to expand your job search beyond the recruitment ads you read and the employers you know. In the real world, however, networking is a time consuming process of one-on-one interactions in other people’s offices and after-work meetings. On the Web, in contrast, you can meet and communicate with thousands of people with a single e-mail right from your own desktop. To take advantage of this capability, however, you have to join one or more of the discussion groups and listservs hosted on the sites of professional associations, trade organizations and alumni groups. By participating in these e-mail conversations, you will expand the number of people who know you and may be willing to help with your job search.
To get the most out of your effort, remember the Golden Rule of networking. It’s the same online as it is in the real world: You have to give in order to get. Make sure that you share your knowledge and experience as well as any job search tips you may have with the other members of the discussion group or listserv so that they will be willing to share what they know with you.
The time required to join an online discussion group: 15 minutes.
The four steps above represent a total investment of less than one hour. They will set you up in a regimen of online job search activities that can help you find a rewarding job and invigorate your career. As its name implies, however, the set-up is just the beginning. Like any good fitness program, you must commit to an on-going investment of time and effort in order to maintain its benefits.
Every day, you should research a new employer on the Web, e-network with friends and colleagues in one or more discussion forums and review the matches found by your job agent. Those are the best job search exercises available online, and if you do them regularly, you’ll race ahead of the pack in the job market.
Thanks for reading,
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
Bernard Haldane Associates, an employment and career firm, released its survey of white-collar workers. It found that nearly one-third of those who changed jobs last year took a pay cut and most of them said that they did so, at least in part, because of bad advice from family and friends. What’s the lesson we should learn from their angst? Make sure you know the salary level you can command in the labor market, even in a difficult employment environment. The Web offers access to a wide range of pay-related information, but I suggest that you begin your research at Salary.com and with the salary surveys conducted by your professional association and/or trade organization.
Clark Consulting (NYSE: CLK), a human resource consulting firm, polled 357 executives at public companies to see just how much they would have to be paid in order to accept an offer of employment from Le Donald, as in Donald “You’re Fired” Trump. It’s hardly science shattering research, but the results are interesting, especially for those of us who aspire to be effective leaders. They were:
As I see it, this is proof positive that most people intuitively understand the truth behind the old adage: “Talent joins organizations and leaves supervisors.” Simple as it may sound, find out who you are going to be working for, whenever you interview for a job, and make sure you’re compatible with them before you say “Yes” to an offer.
Monster.com published its Employment Index for April, and there was a lot of good news. The Index measures job postings on the Internet to determine the level of hiring activity in the U.S.. In April, job availability went up in a wide range of industries, but the greatest growth occurred in professional and technical services, real estate, healthcare, retail trade, and finance and insurance. Jobs were also more plentiful in every region of the country, but growth was greatest in the Mountain region, New England, the West South Central region, the West North Central region and the Pacific coast. How can this information help your job search? Target your corporate career site visits to companies in the growth industries and, if you have the flexibility, focus on those areas of the country where growth is strongest.
Yahoo! HotJobs announced the findings of a recent survey of college seniors. They must have been studying too hard to check the news lately because most seem blithely unaware of how difficult the labor market still is, even for college graduates with up-to-the-minute skills. Things are getting better to be sure, but come on … more than half who plan to graduate in May had not started to look for a job as of March and over a third believe it will take them less that three months to find employment. If they can’t find a job right away, 35% said they would take a temporary job, and 12% would volunteer or intern for free in their area of interest. The survey didn’t ask how many plan to move back in with Mom and Dad.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. If you’re an experienced pediatric nurse looking for a position with a hospital in Boston, which of the following sites would you be ill advised to use?
2. If you’re an experienced salesperson looking for an opportunity with an insurance agency, which of the following sites would take some of the risk out of your job search?
3. If you’re a tech writer looking for some options that would help you write a new chapter in your career, which of the following sites would likely leave you holding a blank page?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories
A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Part time
Distribution of jobs: National: USA
Number of jobs: 550
Salary levels of jobs: Not Reported
Offer a job agent: No
Resume database: No
How long are resumes stored: N/A
Restrictions on who can post: N/A
Other services for job seekers: None
Answers to Site Insite
1. Pediatrix.com, the site of a neonatal and maternal-fetal physician services group in Florida.
2. All of them would support your job search.
3. ScribbleAway.com, the site of a creative services company.