Feature: The Right Way to Pick an Employment Web Site
Whether you’re in a full time job search or just keeping tabs on the labor market in your field, you have limited time and effort to invest when using employment Web-sites. It’s important, therefore, that you visit those sites that will provide results tailored to your interests and useful to your career. With over 40,000 job boards now in operation, however, and more setting up shop every day, making the right choices can be difficult … unless you know the right way to do so.
There are six criteria you should consider when evaluating the potential usefulness of a job board. These factors address only their capability to support a job search. There are, of course, other facets of career self-management that can be and frequently are provided on such sites-activities such as assessment , planning, education and training, and peer interaction and support-and you should take advantage of them whenever possible.
Finding a great job, however-one that will challenge and reward you-is clearly at the heart of your career success. And a job board that cannot serve your job search needs and goals simply does not provide the return on your investment of time and effort that it should. The following six criteria, therefore, will help make sure you select sites that will actually work for you. They are the right way to pick an employment Web-site.
Visibility in the right places
The right places aren’t about geography; they’re about employers-the ones for which you want to work. In other words, the right job boards for you are those that advertise where the right employers for you will see them. They should be appearing in the trade publications that serve those organizations, on the Web-sites that cater to their industry’s human resource professionals and recruiters, and at the conferences that their hiring managers attend. How can you determine if one site or another is achieving the proper level of visibility in the right places? Results count. Search each site’s job database with the names of the employers for which you most want to work and compare the count at each site. The right places will have the best results.
An inventory of the right opportunities
Inventory is your key to success at a job board. The greater the inventory of jobs, the better the chances of employment for you. Some sites, however, post hundreds or thousands of jobs, and others post two or three. You need to know which is which and focus on the sites that offer you the greatest opportunity. But inventory, alone, is not enough. You want access to the right inventory. To put it another way, you want to see the biggest inventory of the best jobs for you. How can you determine which sits have the right inventory? Search the job database at the sites you have under consideration using your field or position title (e.g., finance, sales, editor, project manager) as the search criteria. Once again, the right places will have the best results.
Opportunities at the right level
Your job search will be significantly advanced if you use the sites that can connect you with the right employers and jobs for you. It won’t necessarily ensure that your job search is efficient, however, because many of those positions may not be at the right level. In other words, you can waste a lot of time looking at openings that are too junior or too senior for what you are qualified to do. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to determine which sites post jobs that will best match your level of experience (and pay). Employers often do not include the salary level of a position with their posting, so sites usually cannot provide that information to you. Some sites cater to one end of the spectrum or another (focusing on either entry level positions or those that pay in excess of $100K), but most sites post positions that cover a fairly broad range of compensation. So, what can you do? While admitting to some bias, I would recommend that you check WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guide to Employment Web Sites. It’s the only reference I know that lists the salary levels of jobs posted at specific job boards.
A downright easy way to look for a job
The best jobs come and go at warp speed, so it’s important to check the job inventory at the sites you select every day. That’s not easy, of course, because your days are already full, whether you’re actively looking for a new job or not. The question, then, is how can you be in two places at once? The answer: use a job agent. Only about 40% of all job boards offer this feature, so it’s yet another criterion you can use to separate the right sites for you from all of the others. A job agent is a free service that will match your specified criteria (for the kind of job you want) to all of the jobs posted at a specific site each and every day. Whenever a match is found, it will send you a private e-mail message to that effect so that you can check the opening out. In effect, a job agent makes you more productive because it keeps an eye on the job market for you, while you’re off doing other things. No less important, it protects your privacy, so you can watch for the next right job that comes along, even while you are still working in the right job you have right now. It doesn’t get any better than that.
The right kind of resume database
With all of the phishing and identity theft occurring online, it’s foolhardy to post your resume in a publicly accessible resume database, especially when you’re going to include your home address and telephone number on that document. Posting your credentials online can be an effective part of an online job search campaign, but only if you do it right. What does that mean? First, replace your home address and telephone number with an e-mailbox and cell phone number. While the other information is probably also available on the Web, don’t make it easy for the creeps online by putting it all in one easy-to-find location. Second, use the right kind of resume database-one that will remove your contact information from your resume and only release it to an employer after you have approved its doing so. Granted, such databases force the employer to do a little more work, but those employers also know that these databases are likely to contain the records of job seekers they cannot find elsewhere online. In their minds, those records often describe the right candidates.
A commitment to doing the right thing
You can take all of the steps outlined above and still see your job search fail, if the sites you select aren’t doing the right thing. By that I mean that they aren’t reporting data accurately-so you don’t really know how many of the right jobs at the right salary level they actually have-and they aren’t operating according to established business norms-they’re selling your private information (on a resume or a job agent) to marketing companies or taking your money for services they do not perform. As with any group of enterprises, there are many fine job boards in operation, and there are also some bad apples. How can you tell the difference? One way is to look for the logo of the International Association of Employment Web Sites on the sites you are considering. It’s the trade association of job boards, and its members commit to adhering to the highest ethical and business standards. Call it the “Good Housekeeping seal” of the online employment industry.
Job boards are the most important addition to job search since the creation of the resume. They can connect you with an extraordinary range of employment opportunities with greater ease than ever before. Taking advantage of these resources, however, requires the acquisition of some new skills and knowledge. Basically, you need to know the right way of selecting a job board. If you learn and use that, you’ll be able to distinguish the wrong sites from the right ones-the ones that will work best for you.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and benefit from your recommendation.
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
CollegeGrad.com announced its list of Top 500 Entry Level Employers for 2006. With 9.1% more entry level jobs projected for 2006, it appears that there will be a better job market for seniors graduating this year than for those who graduated in 2005. So, who are the top 10 employers for entry level candidates? According to the site, they are:
Health Magazine reported that it had devised a formula to determine the most depressing day of the year. I’m not sure why identifying this downer of a day is important to our health, but the magazine did, in fact, point out the culprit. Using such factors as the weather, impact of accumulated debt, guilt over failed New Year’s resolutions, the availability of events to look forward to, and general motivational levels, it fingered poor, old January 24 as the worst day of the year. Now, for people who were born on the 24th day of January (like my daughter) and for those who were married or got a big promotion or won the lottery on that day, this designation will obviously seem misguided. For them, the day is cause for celebration. And I think we should share their joy; after all, the worst day of the year is now over, so we all can look forward to a 2006 of over 300 days that, by definition, must be better.
Harvard Business Review published an article entitled “A Players or A Positions” by Mark A. Huselid, Richard W. Beatty and Brian E. Becker. In their view, employers should match their employees with the positions that will best enable those workers to perform at their peak. Good advice … but we shouldn’t rely on employers to get it right. To key to success in a new job is fit, and fit has several dimensions:
Make sure that you explore all three of these dimensions and assure yourself that you “fit in” before you take a job. Now, I know that’s easy to say when you aren’t looking for a job and have bills to pay. But think about it. If you take a job where the fit isn’t right in one or more of these areas, you will not be able to do your best work. And, if you can’t do your best work, your job security is definitely threatened. Indeed, you’ll likely be back out in the job market in fairly short order, having wasted a lot of time and effort on the wrong employer and lost momentum in your search for the right one.
Putnam Investments commissioned a study of retired workers who have returned to the workforce. Called “The Working Retired,” it found that more than a third of the respondents were working full time-disabusing the notion that retirement age workers seek only part time employment-and that, on average, these employees were earning $36,800 per year, 60% higher than their non-working peers. Why are they still involved in the workplace? Pundits typically offer two explanations-today’s retired population lost their retirement savings in the dot.com bubble, and they are more likely than previous generations to have their sense of self tied up in their work. This study, however, suggests that a different motivation may be at work. Despite the conventional wisdom that most retired workers own their own homes, an astonishing 60% of the respondents were still making mortgage payments.
WEDDLE’s launched a new outreach program called “Let Your Librarian Know.” It’s designed to put the latest editions of WEDDLE’s publications into the hands of any job seeker who would find them helpful and do so absolutely free. In effect, Let Your Librarian Know is an easy way to bring WEDDLE’s three annual publications-its Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, Directory of Employment-Related Internet Sites, and Guide to Association Web Sites-to your local library, where you can use them whenever you want. All you have to do is contact the library. Most librarians appreciate their patrons’ suggestions about books to add to their Reference collection, so make the call today and Let Your Librarian Know.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. You’re a seasoned advertising manager looking for a new gig in a corporate Marketing Department. Where can you go online to create an innovative job search campaign?
2. You’re a lawyer who’s just moved to your fiancé’s hometown in the Midwest. Which of the following sites would help you make a convincing argument for employment by one of the major law firms in the area?
3. You were uncomfortable with some of the decisions being made by your employer’s CEO, so left your job as its Treasurer. Where could you go online to cash in on some great prospects for re-employment?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories
The Write Jobs
Post full time jobs: Yes: writer, editor, copywriter
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All
Distribution of jobs: National – USA
Number of jobs: 50
Salary levels of jobs: $31-50K/yr, $51-75K/yr
Offer a job agent: Yes
Resume database: No
How long are resumes stored: N/A
Restrictions on who can post: N/A
Other services for job seekers: Career information, Links to career information at other sites
Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No
Answers to Site Insite
1. All but AdPeople.com, a marketing services site.
2. All but Judge.com, the site of a staffing firm.
3. All but Tjobs.com, the site of a job board for telecommuters.