Feature: The Blood Hounds of Job Search
Job agents are every job seeker’s best friend. They are wonderful little software applications that act as a blood hound for your dream job. They’re a free service provided by many, but not all job boards-by our count, it’s still less than half. Basically, all you have to do is tell this cyber “sleuth” what kind of job you want, and every day, it will check all of the postings on a site and let you know by e-mail when it finds a match. Best of all, that e-mail message is private. You can snoop around in the job market to your heart’s content and no one-not your boss, your colleagues at work or your nosey neighbors-will know anything about it.
Whether you’re an active job seeker or simply checking out what’s happening in the job market, a job agent provides you with two very important benefits:
Job agents are as close as you can get to a loyal, hard-working furry friend online. And, in my view, everyone should have several of them by their side all of the time.
That doesn’t mean you no longer need to visit job boards and career portals. Quite the contrary. Many of these sites provide a range of other services and information that can help you find a new or better job and manage your career successfully. Therefore, it’s best to think of job agents as “double agents;” they help you find both the job opportunities you want and the time to use the other resources that are available at job boards and career portals.
Unfortunately, job agents are not always identified by that name at employment sites. For example, at Monster.com, the agent is called My Monster. At Yahoo! HotJobs, it’s described as My Searches. At NationJob.com, it’s identified as P.J. Scout (for personal job scout). And, at PepsiJobs.com (yes, even some employers are offering job agents now), it’s called simply a Job Search Agent.
Given that job agents typically search the openings at only a single site (and that they’re free), I suggest that you sign up for a minimum of five:
These job agents will provide the range of visibility you need in the job market to be reasonably certain that you aren’t (a) missing any great opportunities for which you may be qualified and (b) overwhelmed with a lot of jobs in which you’re not interested. Nevertheless, it is important to note that job agents aren’t perfect. Like the family dog, they will occasionally bring stuff home that you really don’t want to see. All-in-all, however, they are discrete and useful to have around.
And, now, there’s a new dog on the block. It’s called a “meta job agent” because it searches the job postings at more than one site. Among this new breed are Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com and WorkZoo.com. These agents search postings at tens, hundreds, even thousands of job boards. They are clearly a much more powerful version of the site-specific job agents, which begs the question: should we now get rid of our trusty single-site agents and use the new ones? My advice is not to.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with using one or more of the meta job agents, but only in conjunction with the five job agents I described above. In other words, they are a supplement to, not a substitute for traditional agents. Why? Because their coverage of the job board population (and thus the full scope of employment opportunities to be found on the Web) is spotty, at best, and often out-of-date.
One of the keys to success in today’s tough job market is breadth of vision. The wider your knowledge of the opportunities that are available in the market, the better able you will be to capture the one position that best serves your employment objective.
In the past, such breadth of vision was difficult to acquire, if it could be achieved at all. It meant reading a wide variety of publications and talking to a wide range of people, all of which took a lot of time and effort. Now, however, you can get even better information about what’s available in your field, your industry and your hometown by simply signing up for a pack of free cyber pets-the blood hounds of job search-job agents.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. WEDDLE’s Newsletter grows only by word-of-mouth. So, please … tell a friend or colleague (or two) about the newsletter. We’d be very grateful, and they will be too.
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
CollegeGrad.com released the results of a survey of how long college students expect to take to pay off their loans after graduation. Almost half (46%) anticipate that they will need more than ten years. Why so long? One obvious reason, of course, is the rising cost of higher education. A second reason, however, is the “fits and starts” in a typical college graduate’s career. Because educational institutions force students to focus on academic majors rather than on exploring the range of occupations for which they are best suited, most have no idea what they can do or want to do in the workforce. As a consequence, they spend their first years after graduation trying on career after career which inevitably precludes their advancing in any one of them. That lack of direction depresses the salary increases they earn and thus their ability to pay off their student loans. There are online resources that can help, however. For example, the U.S. Government offers a CareerInfoNet and a Career Guide to Industries. Both have useful information that can help you identify the right career for you, sooner rather than later.
Hospitals Online announced its launch. The company has absorbed the assets of its previous site, Healthehire.com. That means it continues to offer job seekers its patent-pending side-by-side hospital comparisons-enabling you to evaluate the relative merits of alternative hospital employers-developed through an exclusive arrangement with Billian’s Blue Book.
TheLadders.com recently found that American executives may be outsourcing in China and doing deals in Europe, but when it comes to picking a second language, they’re betting on the fastest growing language right here at home: Spanish. In a recent survey, 61% of the respondents felt that Spanish would be the most useful second language for an American worker to learn; 16% gave the nod to Chinese, French got 8% of the ballots, and Italian came in last with 2% of the votes. While the question of which language to learn is important, the larger issue may be that corporate leaders now believe a second language is a key element of career success in our increasingly global economy. That, in and of itself, is a key development. Now, if we could just get those same executives to write their memos in English, rather than corporate-speak, we’d really be on to something.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) succeeded in getting the approval of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to approve the .jobs designation (as in www.weddles.jobs) to indicate the Career area on corporate Web-sites. Beginning in the fall, companies will be able to use this extension to identify where on their sites they’ve posted their job openings so that you will have an easier time finding them. (Better labels and directions on employers’ Home Pages would have done the job equally as well, but hey, .jobs is the “high tech” solution.) Not all employers will apply for and use the designator, however, so I suggest that you continue to start your job search on the Home Page of employers’ sites and resort to using .jobs only when you can’t quickly find their Career area.
6FigureJobs.com provided WEDDLE’s with the results of a recent survey of visitors to its site. It found that 15% of almost 700 visitors were employed, but just window shopping; 49% were employed, but motivated to move; 9% were unemployed and had been so for under 90 days; and 27% were unemployed and had been so for more than 90 days. What do these data tell us? Admittedly, it’s just a sample of one. But, it clearly suggests that commercial job boards are important destinations for people who aren’t actively searching for a job as well as those for who are. Indeed, the best of job boards-I call them career portals-are designed to help you self-manage your career successfully. Career counselors have been telling us for a decade or more that you and I are now in charge of our careers-not our employers-and these sites provide the information and resources we need to perform that role effectively.
Yahoo! HotJobs inked a job posting distribution agreement with 4Jobs.com. The new partnership ensures that the jobs that are posted at HotJobs will also appear on the 6,000+ local and industry-specific sites in the 4Jobs.com network at the same time. For example, if a Philadelphia hospital posts a nursing job on HotJobs, it will also appear on PhillyJobs.com, Nurses.com and other healthcare-related sites in the 4Jobs.com network. Bottom line for you: it’s now a little easier to find the jobs you want to see.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. You’re a seasoned stock broker who’s just had a falling out with your boss. If you decide it’s time to find another employer, which of the following sites would make you bullish on your prospects?
2. Training is your passion, but your employer wants you to focus on administrative tasks, so you’ve decided to leave. Which of the following sites would give your job search a failing grade?
3. You’re an experienced landscaper who’s just moved to Oregon. If you want to find employment fast, which of the following sites would sow the seeds of success in your search?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005 Guides and Directories
Post full time jobs: Yes
[MG, OP, SM positions in the seafood industry-not commercial fishing]
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: No
Distribution of jobs: National – USA
Number of jobs: 25+
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. BrokerHunter.com; the other sites represent yacht and real estate brokers.
2. DevelopmentJobs.com, the site of a software development company.
3. HorticulturalJobs.com; all of the other sites focus on employment in the United Kingdom.