Social networking and job search 28 – the many faces of job search sites
Job search sites (also called job search engines) have become one of the basic online resources for finding new job opportunities, and for taking the initial steps for applying for them. In this, these sites have come to replace the role that was traditionally taken by the jobs section in print newspaper want ads. These sites, however, go way beyond the scope or capability of any traditional newspaper jobs listings in that they:
• Cross traditional geographic and other boundary limitations,
• Readily support ongoing of postings until positions are filled or decision is made not to hire,
• Allow for richer descriptive content as to the position and the hiring business with links to employer sites, and more, and
• They do this in a more focused, feature-rich context, frequently including links to resources for finding pay scale information, job search and resume writing tips and other value-added content.
There are also sites like www.craigslist.org that offer geographically restricted job search listings in the larger context of offering wider ranging marketplace services. There are functional specialty sites like www.dice.com with its focus on jobs for technology professionals. There are sites that specialize in nonprofits, and in positions that meet at least some minimum set standard for salary and level of position on an organizational table. There are sites that focus on positions with green and environmentally responsible organizations. Basically, there are job search sites out there that focus on most any specialty requirement or that at least cover it as a significant area of focus.
Many job search sites offer a feature whereby you submit details as to the type of position you are looking for, as to location, title, and other criteria, setting up requests for notification feeds. The site will then email you links to job postings that they list that meet your requirements. Virtually all of these sites allow you to upload your resume to add it into their searchable databases.
Together, this means you have all the resources you would need to keep looking at postings 24/7, some of which might even be right for you. So a key to using these sites effectively to create value for you is to do so selectively, and with your overall job search strategy in mind. This means deciding which sites to go to and search on. It means deciding how much of your time and energy should go into searching on job search sites and on which ones for the sites you do select. It is also important to plan through your job search feed requests so you do not get buried in your email inbox under lots of unrelated job postings but you do get notified about the right ones. You want to prepare your resume drafts that you submit for inclusion on job search engine sites with care too, and to address the issues and opportunities that these sites offer.
Who uses job search engines? Obviously a lot of people looking for new job opportunities do. But so do businesses that are looking to hire, searching through the resume databases for good potential fits to the job descriptions they are seeking to hire for. Note that this is all done through key words searches and through automated matching processes, so you want to make sure you know and use the terms of choice that would be used for an employer-sided search for the positions and the industries you would target.
I have to also mention that if you are currently employed, it is likely your own employer is looking at these sites too. So if you are already employed, you probably want to restrict yourself to posting your resume on sites where you can hide your name and other personally identifiable information from resume database searchers, and only share that information with prospective employers who contact you through the site, and who you chose to identify yourself to.
Note that this is a game both sides of the interview table can play. Businesses sometimes hide their names on their posted job descriptions too. This can be because they do not want the competition to know what they are doing in developing their business with new hiring and in new skills areas. Sometimes they are looking to replace a current employee who is not working out and do not want to let them know they are doing this. Job search sites form a complex and shifting field for the marketing and acquisition of new career opportunities and new employees, and people can and do go to them with a lot of different motives and agendas.
In this regard, I have found job search sites a very useful resource for developing business intelligence. Many if not most organizations do post their open positions on at least one job search site and with their business names showing, and if you find the site or sites that a given business preferentially uses for its position postings you can open a window into their current plans for moving forward. Where are they hiring and at what levels? This is important for consultants to know and for people looking for new job opportunities in general and it can also give insight into the general health and stability of an organization.
Would you adjust your approach to applying for a job if you knew that the hiring manager has been unsuccessfully trying to fill that position for eleven months now and that they have changed the job description three times? Would you adjust your approach if you knew that you were applying for a position where an entire new team was being assembled, with multiple hires in multiple specialties? How about finding that the hiring manager you would meet with was likely to be leaving soon, or that their manager’s position was open and that a lot of hiring was contemplated and ongoing in the business’ senior management?
Some of my work experience has been in change management and I have learned a great deal going into discussions with businesses from mining a combination of social networking site profiles for key staff, and from reviewing the positions open and their details for the company on major job search engines. That, by the way is part of why companies frequently do not list their names in position postings, for at least certain select positions – managing availability of crucial business intelligence about themselves. And I add this can enter into the decision processes that businesses go through in deciding which sites to post on in the first place and for what types of position.
Does this sound a bit more complicated around now? Job search sites form a complex marketplace and job availability ecosystem so an awareness of the complexity is important if you are going to make effective use of these resources, and to your strategic benefit.
The next posting in this series is going to look into career councilors and job search oriented and supportive groups and organizations.