Weddle’s Research Factoid

Weddle’s Research Factoid

Weddle’s Research Factoid

We recently asked the visitors to the WEDDLE’s Web-site to tell us how much time they normally spend on a job board. It’s an important metric because it indicates just how useful job seekers and others find the content that’s available at those sites.

A total of 750 people participated in our survey. Here’s what they reported:

  • Almost a third (29.1%) spend more than 30 minutes on each job board they visit;
  • Another quarter (24.5%) spend 11-20 minutes on such sites;
  • Almost as many (22.3%) spend 21-30 minutes on job boards;
  • About a fifth (18.9%) spend 6-10 minutes; and
  • A minuscule 5.2% blow in-and-out in 5 minutes or less.
  • What the Findings Mean

    Job seekers are willing to invest the time when they find job boards with good content. Indeed, more than half of the respondents (51.4%) spend more than 20 minutes on the sites they visit. With all of the other information and resources available on the Web, that’s an extraordinary level of interest and engagement.

    What kind of content should you be looking for at a job board?

    If you’re an active job seekers, it’s the:

  • focus of the site (the career field, industry, location and/or affinity group it serves);
  • number and caliber of jobs that are posted there; and
  • the quality of the supporting job search content it offers. For example, the directions that some sites provide for writing a resume are so boring they would put a brick to sleep while others offer advice that is both helpful and entertaining.
  • Those three features are the criteria you should use when determining which job boards are likely to deliver the best return on your investment of time and effort in looking for a job online.

    If you’re a career activist,-that’s what I call a person who is employed, but proactively working to advance their career-you are likely to be interested in more than job postings and job search content. You’ll want resources that will help you progress in your profession, craft or trade. These might include:

  • news and information about your industry or career field;
  • developmental programs for acquiring advanced skills and certifications;
  • blogs that enable you to access and comment on the views of thought leaders in the workplace; and
  • discussion boards that provide a way for you to network electronically with your peers.
  • Those features are the criteria you should use in determining which job boards will position you to be the best you can be in your field and, as a result, maximize the paycheck and the satisfaction you bring home from work each day.

    Bottom Line: Making optimum use of job boards requires good consumer habits.

  • There’s the trial-and-error approach which is not only time consuming, but may cause you to miss your dream job because it’s being advertised at the site where you should be but aren’t.
  • and

  • There’s the research-based approach which takes a little more time up front to assess the features at alternative sites, but provides a much higher probability that you’ll actually use the job boards that can best help you realize your employment dreams.
  • Since 1996, WEDDLE’s has been surveying both job seekers and recruiters on the Web. We’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of data elements probing:

  • what they do and what they don’t do,
  • what they like and what they don’t like,
  • and most importantly,

  • what they think works best.
  • To add your insights and opinions to our research, please visit the Polling Station at the WEDDLE’s Web-site.

    Section Two: From WEDDLE’s Archive

    Peter Weddle has been writing columns for his own newsletter and for the Interactive Edition of The Wall Street Journal since 1999. The following column has been drawn from that work and updated for 2006. You can also find many of Peter’s tips and techniques in our book WEDDLE’s WizNotes: Finding a Job on the Web.

    The Darwinian World of Job Volatility

    A year or two ago, my son was laid off. As a father, I ached for him when it happened and desperately wanted to help in any way that I could. It was a visceral reaction, I admit, an emotional counterpoint to the logic with which I do my job as a career columnist. In that latter role, I know that his situation was, unfortunately, increasingly the norm. Indeed, the nature of the employment environment in the 21st Century is such that many of us will find ourselves without work at one and probably several points in our careers. It doesn’t diminish the hurt to recognize that fact, but it does help us prepare for this new Darwinian world of job volatility.

    In previous years, our economy produced a broad array of relatively stable jobs. Oh, sure, there was always the occasional company that found itself out-of-step with its market and had to reduce staff, but those situations were the exception to the rule. Even during recessions, most of us continued to labor on; our raises may have been reduced or eliminated and our opportunity for upward mobility may have diminished, but at least we were still able to bring home a pay check. At least, we could count on that.

    In today’s jungle of job volatility, however, that certainty has been replaced by uncertainty, that assurance of continuity has been overcome by daily discontinuity, and that expectation of stability has been quashed by the shock of instability. These are not the temporary challenges of an economic downturn; they are the permanent conditions of a new and dangerous world of work. And, that evolutionary shift leaves all of us with a stark choice. We can either adapt or we can be overwhelmed. We can adjust to job volatility-we can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to survive and prosper in this environment-or we can be its victims.

    All of us, of course, would instinctively choose the course of survival and prosperity. But, I must warn you: To do so isn’t easy; it involves the one thing most of us most hate to do-change. We must accept a new imperative in employment; in essence, we must now work two jobs all of the time. The first involves our profession, craft or trade; the second entails the management of our career. Now, I know that career columnists have been preaching personal career management for years. The mantra has had many different expressions-from self actualization to You, Inc.-but, basically, the message has always been the same. We must take care of our own careers because employers won’t do it for us. It’s been good advice, but flawed. You see, there was this one little problem: It was impractical for almost everyone. Even if a person wanted to take control of their work-life they couldn’t. Why? Because the information and tools required to do so simply weren’t available.

    Happily, that situation no longer exists. The Internet has made career self-management possible for everyone. Regardless of our profession, craft or trade, our industry or location, our years of experience or seniority, we can now go online and acquire the resources necessary to guide our careers successfully. To make best use of this capability, however, we must become expert at planning, implementing, evaluating and adjusting our careers. This competency involves the development of range of new skills, but I suggest that you begin with the following three:

  • Stay ever vigilant.
  • How? By putting job agents to work for you. A job agent is a free feature that is available at many job boards. In essence, it works as a personal shopper for your dream job. You specify the kind of job for which you’re looking, and the job agent checks all of the job postings at that site for a match. It does so every day and all day long. Even better, when it finds one (or more) jobs that match your criteria, it sends you a private e-mail notifying you of the opportunity. That makes a job agent the perfect way to stay on top of the job market-and the search for jobs that are right for you-whether you’re employed or suddenly laid off, whether you’re just testing the waters or in the midst of a lengthy job search campaign. You stay vigilant, and it does all of the work. The technology behind job agents isn’t perfect-it may send you an sushi chef opening when you’re looking for an opportunity in sales-but it’s the best tool we have at the moment for making sure you never miss out on your dream job.

  • Stay ever connected
  • How? By networking electronically everyday. Many of the best jobs are never advertised. They are a part of the so-called “hidden job market” and often, they are filled by candidates whom employers identify by networking. While traditional face-to-face networking remains important, the Internet provides a way for you to expand your range of contacts exponentially from the comfort of your home computer. Simply stop by the discussion forums and bulletin boards available on sites operated by your professional association, trade organization and/or college or university alumni group. These e-mail conversations are a great place to connect with others who share your background and, therefore, have the potential to be helpful in your career advancement. Remember, however, that the key to effective networking online is the same as it is in the real world: You have to give as good as you get. Participate regularly in the discussions you join and be generous with your knowledge and experience.

  • Stay ever prepared.
  • How? By always being interview ready. Employers today look for candidates who have state-of-the-art skills in their career field and are up-to-date in their industry and the business world, in general. In addition, they expect you to demonstrate that professional knowledge and business awareness from the very first minute of their very first contact with you and continuously thereafter. As the “information superhighway,” the Internet offers a myriad of ways to accomplish such preparation conveniently. You can take college courses and training programs online, read journal articles archived on your professional association’s site, look over news feeds at business and other media sites and check the press releases posted on the sites of major employers in your industry. You have only one chance to make a first impression, and the Internet can help ensure that it’s a good one.

    Charles Darwin once wrote that “It’s not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent, that survive; it’s the one most responsive to change.” The skills described above position you to adapt to the new world of job volatility. They won’t insulate you from its disruption, but they will enable you to manage your career successfully in the midst of it.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    Section 3: News You Can Use

    CareerBuilder.com launched a new salary research service at CBSalary.com. Powered by a third party vendor called PayScale, it’s a free service that provides salary information based on your current job title and location. There’s also a premium service available for $50 that enables you to input additional parameters (e.g., your years of employment, industry, current bonus) and receive a more detailed report. According to the site, the report will help you:

  • assess the reasonableness of any job offers you receive,
  • determine if you’re being paid fairly by your current employer, and/or
  • investigate the pay levels of other occupations.
  • CareerJournal.com released a list of tips for those about to set off on a job search. Vacations often provide us with the breathing space to assess our current employment situation and, possibly, to conclude that it’s time to move on. If that’s happened to you this summer, lay the proper groundwork before you make your move. CareerJournal.com (with some input and adjustments by me) advises that you:

  • Look before you leap-make sure there aren’t other jobs within the organization for which you currently work that might be attractive to you.
  • Make yourself discreetly visible-use networking platforms (e.g., discussion boards, listservs) at the sites of your professional association and alumni organization to make sure you are top-of-mind with colleagues and friends.
  • Work your industry associations-start attending the meetings of their local chapters and, if possible, get involved in planning their programs and/or events.
  • Network like a headhunter-identify the 10-to-15 companies for which you’d most like to work and use search engines and online databases to locate any current or former contacts you might have who are working for those organizations.
  • Rebuild your network-use online databases to find contact information on former bosses, coworkers, roommates, teammates and friends and refresh your relationships with them.
  • Do some self assessment-take a moment to make sure your career is moving along a path that is personally meaningful and rewarding; don’t simply take a new job, take the right job for you.
  • HR Magazine, from the Society for Human Resource Management published an article about the dangers of e-mail missteps. Because online messages lack visual and auditory cues, their tone and even their intent are often misunderstood. One study several years ago found that as many as 50% of all e-mail messages were misinterpreted by their recipient. To avoid this problem, I recommend that you use a technique I call “reverse reading.” Always re-read any message you write to a business colleague or supervisor from their perspective. Ask yourself how they could misread what you’ve written, and when in doubt, always assume the worst. Then, use additional detail to clarify your meaning. Yes, that will take more time and lengthen the message, but it will also give you two benefits: it will ensure that your meaning is clear when your message is read by its recipient and it will encourage you to stop relying so much on e-mail and, instead, pick up the phone or get out of the office to communicate with others.

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