- Using Key Marketing Tools to Position Yourself on the Job Market. Discusses why job-seekers would be wise to take a few lessons from marketing and apply those rules to your job search.
- Using a Personal Mission Statement to Chart Your Career Course. This article takes job-seekers through the self-discovery process of creating your personal mission statement.
- Using a SWOT Analysis in Your Career Planning. Shows how a key strategic planning tool can be successfully applied to marketing yourself and advancing your career.
Other Quintessential Career Marketing Resources:
- Career Portfolio Tools and Resources for Job-Seekers. One of the best ways to build and promote your brand is by creating both a traditional job-search portfolio, as well as an online version. Find the tools you need in this section of Quintessential Careers.
Career and Personal Branding Books:
- Career Branding, Personal Branding, and Career Storytelling Books for Job-Seekers and Entrepreneurs. The Quintessential Careers team has personally selected the best career branding books to help propel your career.
Career and Personal Branding Websites:
- The Brand Called You. An article by business guru Tom Peters, published on FastCompany.com.
- Brandego.com. A personal branding and career portfolio site for executives, senior managers and solopreneurs.
- Me Incorporated: Your Own Magnetic Brand. A nice overview of personal branding by Randall Frost on BrandChannel.com.
- Reach Communications Consultancy. A personal branding and performance coaching site that includes an innovative assessment, the 360*Reach Assessment, which helps you get the real story about how you are perceived by those around you.
- ResumeBucket.com — a great personal branding site where job-seekers can upload up to 20 versions of your resume, which are then converted to Web pages, so that they are available online (each with a unique URL) 24/7 from anywhere in the world — fully searchable (unless you want to keep it private) and edited with or without HTML tags. The site also includes a quick job-search feature using Indeed.com. No cost to job-seekers.
Chapter 1: Personal Branding Is the Foundation of the Web 2.0 Job Search – Page 7
Career guru and author Susan Britton Whitcomb notes that “successful career brands weave together three A’s: Authentic image, Advantages, and Awareness. Project an image of your authentic self, focus on the advantages you offer in getting the job done, and make employers aware of those advantages.” Whitcomb elaborates on these three A’s:
- Authentic Image: Your brand should be founded on authenticity. It should be about who you are, what your work-life purpose is, and what you are committed to causing. As a starting point to develop your brand, brainstorm a list of all the things you are good at. As examples, some ideas for brands include conflict management, sales training, best-practice systems, marketing for service professionals, and customer service. Next, identify your passion. Using your brainstormed list of what you’re good at, circle those items you are most passionate about. For starters, identify the No. 1 item. If you’re having difficulty narrowing the list down, pretend you are packing your suitcase for an important business trip. If you had room to take just one item (brand) with you in that suitcase, what would it be?
- Advantages: Once you’ve identified your top pick, determine the advantages to that item. For instance, if you are great at conflict management, the advantages to recipients (employers) of your brand might be greater cooperation among team members, which leads to enhanced productivity, new ideas, less employee turnover, etc. List at least three distinct advantages for your brand.
Chapter 1: Personal Branding Is the Foundation of the Web 2.0 Job Search – Page 8
- Awareness: Internationally known consultant and author Alan Weiss, states that a brand is “an awareness factor.” Above all, look for opportunities to make the right people aware of your brand. Get on the radar screen. The best brand in the world is useless unless people are aware of it. Initiate an orchestrated campaign to “brandish” your brand. You can get your name out there by writing articles, speaking at association meetings, requesting to work on high-profile projects, serving on projects where you’ll be seen by a number of people (i.e., handing out name-tags at a trade show meeting), cc-ing your boss’s boss on significant emails/memos, and suggesting time-saving/money-saving ideas to your immediate employer.
While he echoes the importance of authenticity and a personal voice, Ryan Leary of Kenexa offers a particularly Web 2.0 take on branding. He urges a conversational — not corporate — tone, boldness (yet a relaxed manner), and communication of your clear value proposition, impact, and sense of excitement. “Be different,” he says.
Visuals can also boost your branding — both the appearance of your job-search materials (such as resume, cover letter, Web site, portfolio, and business/networking cards) and your personal appearance. You can distinguish your materials with as consistent, distinctive look using fonts, colors, layout, and images. And you can brand your personal appearance with color, professionalism, and individual touches that are all your own (such as a trademark scarf or piece of jewelry for women or a signature tie for men.)
Your branding will come into play as you implement strategies described in subsequent chapters — establishing a digital presence, building profiles and interacting on social networking venues, blogging, and integrating multimedia into your job-search materials. And, yes, branding enters into the job-board-based job search used over the last decade because your branding should shine through in your resume, cover letter, and job-interview responses. This, to get the most out of the rest of this book, I recommend you brush up on your personal-branding knowledge with some of these resources:
Chapter 1: Personal Branding Is the Foundation of the Web 2.0 Job Search – Page 9
- Building Your Personal Brand: Tactics for Successful Career Branding. Discusses five branding tactics to take charge and build your personal brand.
- Career Branding: What’s the Value of Your Personal Brand? A Quintessential Careers Quiz — find the value of your personal brand image in maximizing your career brand for promotions and new jobs with this free quiz.
- Career Branding Tutorial — designed to help you take your career to the next level… filled with (free) insights, tips, and tools to assist you in the creation or refinement of your career brand.
- Career Storytelling Tools for Job-Seekers — where you will learn about the power of storytelling to propel your career to the next level, including free tips, tools, and more.
- A Dozen Things You Must Know About Communicating Your Career Brand. Learn strategies for communicating your brand.
- The Elevator Speech is the Swiss Army Knife of Job-Search Tools. Learn how to develop and use this key personal branding tool in your job-search. Includes samples.
- The Five-Step Plan for Creating Personal Mission Statements. Here’s a five-step plan for creating a mission to enhance your career success.
- Integrating Assessments Into Your Personal and Career Branding. Shows you how you can use the details from career assessment results to build or strengthen your career branding efforts.
- Is “The Breakfast of Champions” in Your Resume? How can job-seekers stand out from the crowd of other job-seekers competing for the same job? By using proven marketing and branding techniques.
- Marketing is How You Show Others How You Can Help Them, Including Selling Yourself for Jobs and Promotions. Shows you how job-hunting is all about using marketing skills, including selling yourself in job interviews for job offers.
- Using a Career Journal to Further Your Career Development and Empower Your Job-Search. Relates how whether you’re a student searching for career direction or a job-seeker thinking of a job or career change, you can benefit from a journaling.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 11
Job boards revolutionalized both job-seeking and recruiting some 15 years ago, but today users find more shortcomings than advantages. Job-seekers lament the lack of relevant jobs that turn up in searches, vague job descriptions that don’t identify the employer, a user-unfriendly process, and the black-hole experience of posting a resume or applying to a job board’s job posting. (Recruiting guru Lou Adler exhorts recruiters that if they are still posting “boring job descriptions on the major job boards,” they will soon be considered “Web 1.0 stone-agers.”)
Some job boards have become a major turnoff for job-seekers, who claim that every time they click on a page, attempts are made to trick them into agreeing to services such a loan consolidations. Others note a massive increase in spam after posting resumes on major job boards. They also worry about the security of sensitive information they submit — with good reason. The venerable Monster has faced more than one security breach in which users’ contact information was accessed. More fundamentally, job-seekers question the effectiveness of job boards. A fall 2008 webinar by Kenexa reported a 500 to 1 chance for a job-seeker to find a job through the big three job boards, Monster, CareerBuilder, and YahooHotJobs.
Meanwhile, hiring decision-makers fume over bombardment with vast numbers of resumes from unqualified candidates. A commenter posting on a blog entry about problems with the big job boards made the amusing observation, “You can say that as part of their IT jobs, they must drink toilet water. You will still get a flood of resumes.” Employers are not blameless, however, as Davis Advertising notes in a report that indicates that less than 4 percent of Internet job postings provide users with a detailed job title, and 67 percent are poorly written or formatted.
One of the job-board features that initially made them so attractive — ease of applying for jobs — has made them a significant nightmare for employers.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 12
Employers are increasingly deploying online pre-screening techniques in response to resume-spamming. These techniques include automated questionnaires that sift through the huge numbers and narrow them to a manageable slate of qualified candidates, reports the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. One designer of these pre-screening tools predicts that within the next five years anyone who applies for a job at a large company will have to respond to an online screening as part of the process. The screening applications generally have 20 or fewer multiple-choice questions, and applicants are asked to check the response that best fits them.
With these pre-screening techniques enabling a large volume of applications to be managed efficiently and effectively, employers may be more responsive to applicants who are qualified, and the search process may take less time.
The stalemate between resume-inundated employers and job-seekers who feel ill-treated online is another reason Web 2.0 recruiting and job search are catching on. As Matt Martone, manager of media sales for Yahoo HotJobs, says in an article by Laura Mackelden, “… recruiting is about networking and communicating, not screening thousands of unqualified resumes. Web 2.0 is taking recruiters back to recruiting.” Social-media expert Chris Brogan adds that the job-search world no longer centers on the big boards like Monster and YahooHotJobs. “Now, people are individuals are becoming hubs for jobs.” Similarly, Kona Grill Recruiting Manager Carrie Remarke, interviewed by Chris Martin on the blog Talent Revolution, notes, “Social media has broken down so many barriers. You can message someone you don’t know or don’t have contact information for. With current economic conditions and the technological evolution of the Internet, the traditional approach most job seekers have taken in the past is sometimes no longer viable.”
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 13
Job-board Tips for Job-seekers
- Be selective in zapping your resume to employers. Don’t indiscriminately resume-spam employers where vacancies don’t even exist. Some job-seekers seem to think they’ll have greater success if they blanket the Internet with their resumes. Indeed, resume “spammers” who bombard employers with applications and resumes continue to make Internet job-hunting more difficult for all other job-seekers. A survey by resumedoctor.com revealed that 92 percent of surveyed companies are overwhelmed with hundreds of irrelevant responses to job openings. Other findings show that 63 percent of job-seekers “blast” unsolicited resumes, and more than 70 percent of applications do not even match the job description. Moreover, 34 percent of applicants fail to follow specific resume submission instructions outlined in the job posting.
- Use company career sites sites. Those who are interested in working for a Fortune 500 company will find that the majority of the available positions with those firms are listed in the careers section of company Web sites. Robyn Greenspan reports that almost all sectors have seen growth in the adoption rate of corporate Web site recruiting. A full 100 percent of companies in the healthcare sector use corporate Web sites for recruiting, for example, as do high percentages of companies in manufacturing, high tech, the consumer sector, transportation, wholesale, natural resources, the financial sector, and utilities.
Huge numbers of job-seekers use them — but are increasingly demanding an informative (even entertaining), and smoothly operating “candidate experience.” Increasingly, candidates expect these sites to help them determine where they want to interview and work, and at least a quarter of them will reject companies based on unappealing or hard-to-use Web sites. Talent gurus are thus encouraging employers to enhance their company career portals. Still, Buss cites the statistic that 90 percent of visitors to corporate career sites don’t apply, and even among those who start applying, at least half don’t finish.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 14
Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin, founders and authors of CAREERXROADS, Fortune 500 Top 25 Corporate Staffing Sites (2008) that provide a rewarding experience for job-seekers and those that provide a frustrating experience. These are the corporate career sites that “get it” and answer the questions that candidates want answered. In the current job-hunting scene, posting resumes and applying for jobs through employer Web sites still appears to be incrementally more effective than pursuing the same activities through the big job boards like Monster.
Through their research, Crispin and Mehler have determined that company career sites should be able to answer these candidate questions:
- Are you looking for me?
- Why Should I Come here? Why Should I Stay?
- Is this believable?In other words, does the site convey more than just the company line? Does it offer personal stories and hard data?
- Will you keep me informed? and further Will you protect my privacy? Will you share your conclusions? Will I learn enough to compete for a future position if I’m not chosen for this one?
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 15
Still, online company career sites are responsible for less than 5 percent of actual placements for the average company, according to Kennedy Information Research Group (KIRG). In its study, Benchmarking the Corporate Career Web Site: Key Data, Analysis and Trends, KIRG suggests that the best thing companies can do to improve the percentage of qualified candidates coming in through their Web sites is to develop a better careers page within their sites.
Those whose career interests fit with the companies that have the best career sites will likely have a relatively satisfying online job-hunting experience at those sites. The rest of us will have to hope that more companies get on the bandwagon.
In the meantime, it pays to know employers’ typical recruiting process and where online recruiting falls in that process. Citing Scott Biggerstaff, program manager of electronic sourcing at Sprint Corp., Overland Park, KS, The Wall Street Journal’s Maher reports that it’s customary for many companies to post an opening on an internal Web site available only to employees so that staffers can see it for about a week before posting it on the external corporate Web site, where outsiders can spot it.
“After the first week,” Maher writes, “some job postings may be sent to job boards as well. After about two weeks, company recruiters are more apt to place a newspaper ad or hire a recruiter to locate candidates. Ideally, you want to apply for a position soon after employees become aware of it, before it’s posted beyond the corporate Web site.”
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 16
The recruiting process also affirms the value of networking. If you are a good networker, you will know of openings during that critical period when vacancies are posted only on an employer’s internal Web site available exclusively to employees because your network contacts at a given firm will inform you when they become aware of such internal job postings.
- Use job search engines and aggregators. While job boards are losing steam, the job-search “aggregators” or search engines, Indeed, JobSniper, and Simply Hired, remain popular, as does the “aggregator of aggregators,” Google (Jason Buss notes that more than 4 million job-related searches are conducted on Google daily). Some users report success in finding job postings on Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.com. Another site that has recently been mentioned again and again as increasingly popular with both job-seekers and employers is Craigslist, the vast classified-ad Web site that is localized for most cities. Through the User’s Choice awards at Weddles.com, users for several years have cited Craigslist as a job site that provides the best level of service and value to its visitors.
- Use niche, industry-specific job boards, and professional-association boards as effective. A fall 2007 poll by Beyond.com (which powers the QuintCareers Job Board) of 6,500 business professional members found that more than half of job-seekers who indicate that they have their resume posted online said that these niche sites are most effective. What’s a niche site? It is a job board dedicated to a specific industry or geographic region.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 17
- Determine the most effective mix for you. Weddle recommends regular use of two general-purpose job boards and three niche sites — one in your career field, one in the location in which you want to live and work, and one in the industry in which you have experience.
- Set up systems that push job postings to you. You can also take advantage of the extra features of the major job boards. Many job boards, for example have a “search agent” feature that enables you to enter your job criteria and have lists of jobs (or links to lists of jobs) e-mailed to you regularly. Our readers’ and our own experience with these agents have yielded mixed reviews. One reader said that the agents that work best use Boolean search terms. Named after British mathematician George Boole, Boolean refers to the logical relationship among search terms, a relationship usually characterized by the words AND, OR, and NOT. In Boolean searching, an “and” operator between two words or other values (for example, “pear AND apple”) means one is searching for documents containing both of the words or values, , not just one of them. An “or” operator between two words or other values (for example, “pear OR apple”) means one is searching for documents containing either of the words. You can find search tips (especially on Google) in a terrific article.
A newer twist on that technique is to set up an RSS feed. If you search for jobs on Indeed.com, for example, you have the option once you get the search results of setting up either an e-mail alert or RSS feed for those search terms. Look also for blogs that carry job listings and subscribe to their feeds. Examples include TechCrunch, Guy Kawasaki’s blog, How to Change the World, JobsProBlogger, GigaOM Jobs, and Mashable Jobs.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 18
Questions persist about how to find jobs on job boards, how to post resumes most effectively, how to get results, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls of posting. Reinforcing and expanding on tips offered in preceding parts of this chapter the ere are the answers to some major questions:
Q. How can I determine the best places to post my resume?
A. As we’ve seen, literally thousands job boards provide venues where job-seekers can post one or more versions of their resumes.
But before you jump onto your computer, develop a strategy for deciding which job boards will be best for your job search. It pays to put in the legwork required to find job sites that will yield fruitful results and minimize frustrations.
There are basically four types of job boards/job sites:
- Mega, National Job Boards, including sites like Monster.com, HotJobs.com, CareerBuilder.com, and the Quintessential Careers Job Portal powered by Beyond.com. These sites have a massive number of job listings and resume postings. The big job boards are a good starting place for an Internet job search. Citing career specialists and HR managers, Josh Kovner of the Hartford Courant notes that the major job boards are an effective tool for those who have not yet narrowed their job search and want to get an idea of their marketability. Given that the big job boards are stock-in-trade for recruiters — the Wall Street Journal reports that 73 percent of recruiters spend time online searching for candidates — job-seekers could be missing the boat if they bypass the big guns.
See our top 10 job boards.
- Regional, Geographic-Specific Job Boards. Just about every region, every state, and every major metropolitan area has one or more “local” job boards. If you are looking for a job in a specific location, then using one or more of these job boards makes sense. Navigate your way through geographic-specific job boards.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 19
- Industry- or Profession-Specific Job Boards. Recruiters claim they get better results going to a marketing job site than when posting the same job on a general job board. Career columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy notes that the heavy volume of resumes on the mega boards “is one reason why recruiters and job seekers are turning their attention to specialty boutiques rather than big-box marketplaces.” These “specialty boutiques” are the online job boards that cater to one particular occupation, industry, or type of job-seeker (such as new college grads, MBA grads, minority candidates, or freelancers). Just about every industry and profession, from white to blue collar, has at least one job board.
Niche boards are not without their problems as job-seeker Tim Johnston wrote in an insightful article on The Wall Street Journal‘s former CareerJournal site. Johnston noted that many niche sites have minimal or outdated job listings or listings from a very limited pool of employers, prompting him to advise, “Avoid sites with no jobs and those where the information you provide about yourself is too brief to be of use to an employer. Review the list of companies that use the site before you bother to register, look for jobs, or add it to your daily list of sites to check.”
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some job sites with minimal job listings, knowing that few job-seekers will visit sites with sparse postings, actually recycle old listings or fabricate jobs.
Check out these industry-specific job boards.
- Company Career Centers. Discussed in greater detail earlier in this chapter, these sites often have other great information about the employer, such as articles on its corporate culture, benefits, career tracks, and more. So, if you have a short list of employers (for example, from Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For), check out this section of Quintessential Careers: The Quintessential Directory of Company Career Centers.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 20
- Job Hunting – Executives
- Job Hunting – General
- Job Hunting – Headhunters
- Job Hunting – Second Careers
- Job Hunting – Specialty (Quintessential Careers leads the list in this category)
- Job Networking
Q: When given the option of posting my resume and responding to job-board ads nationally or locally, which should I choose?
A: The major job boards can be more effective if you localize your search.
A career counselor for a state employment agency who likes to test out job boards so he can share his experiences with his clients told us that Monster.com was one of the job-search tools that he actively used over a six-month period, sending out approximately 250 responses per week. “My personal experience has revealed that when trying to find a job in the HR profession, responding to ads that are out of state is not an effective way to gain interviews,” the counselor said. “In other words, a person using Monster.com will find little to no success when attempting to find work that is located out of state.” When he began sending out a letter of introduction to businesses posting job-board ads for positions in his own state, his success rate in landing interviews jumped to five out of every 10 businesses whose ad he responded to. Explore geographically specific job boards.
Q: With so many job boards out there, how can I save time in posting my resume to all of these boards?
A: Try one-stop shopping. If you want to leave no stone unturned and use as many online job boards as possible, you can save a lot of time by going to a site with links to large numbers of job boards.
Naturally, we recommend the Quintessential Careers Job Portal powered by Beyond.com. In addition to posting a resume and reviewing job listings, job-seekers can also find various types of career tools and resources — such as free professional magazines, continuing ed opportunities, relocation resources, salary information, resume help, and portfolio development. See also Quintessential Careers: Best Job Sites for Job-Seekers, with links to more than 900 job sites. Most of these sites boast both job postings and the opportunity to post your resume. And if you include our employer career center links, Quintessential Careers links to more than 1,400 sites where you can search for — and apply to — jobs.
Check out our directory of all the mega job boards.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 21
And still another option is to visit the online classified ads of major newspaper, an especially good choice if you’re relocating to another city. While newspaper want ads might be considered an old-fashioned venue for job-hunting, they are actually every bit as current as the Internet because most major newspapers carry their want ads online (and usually many more online than in print). Searching online want ads from newspapers is another variation on sticking with local sources for your Internet job search. Access many newspaper want ad sections through this section of Quintessential Careers
Q: What if my resume’s format doesn’t work with the rigidity of a job board’s profile form?
A: You can supplement your resume postings on job boards by publishing your resume — formatted the way you feel best spotlights your qualifications — on your own Web page.
There’s usually a spot on the job board’s intake form for additional information. Once thing you can include in that field is the URL for your resume on your own Web page.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 22
A: All possible ways to contact you — landline phones (home and work), cell phone, fax number, e-mail address(s).
But once you’ve done that, be sure you respond when the employer contacts you. Writing in The Gladiator, a job-search “survival” newsletter, Shanna Kemp, who worked at a recruiting firm, notes: “I cannot count the number of potential candidates I contacted who simply never emailed or called back. As a recruiter, I assume that if the candidate doesn’t call or email in return, they are no longer interested in employment and put them on my “uninterested” list. Also, many recruiters are searching for candidates to fill a position that is currently open and being interviewed for; if you don’t respond quickly, someone else will and they will be hired.”
Q: How can I ensure that my resume convinces employers that I’m exactly what they’re looking for and gets attention?
A: Keywords, keywords, keywords.
Be sure your resume includes copious industry-specific keywords, and when responding to job postings, pack your resume with actual verbiage from the postings. Front-load your resume with keywords and your top skills and repeat them often so they’ll be sure to be picked up by the employer’s keyword-searchable software. For more about how to identify and use keywords, see our article, Tapping the Power of Keywords to Enhance Your Resume’s Effectiveness.
Another way to get attention is to send your resume (with a cover letter) by postal mail to the employer simultaneously with your job-board submission. You’ll grab attention because it’s becoming less and less common to send resumes through snailmail.
Also be sure also to pay close attention to employers’/recruiters’ instructions for submitting your resume in response to their ads. Do they want you to send it via e-mail as a Word attachment? Via e-mail with your resume in text form in the body of the e-mail? Faxed? Mailed? Make sure you know how to do what the employer is asking. If you frequently send your resume as an e-mail attachment, experiment with sending it to several friends’ computers to make sure it looks consistent and nicely formatted. Many employers ask you to include a position code so they can easily identify the job you’re applying for.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 23
A: The way the system works dictates frequent updates.
Kemp, who suggests weekly updates, writes, “I was trained to search only for candidates who had posted in the past 24 hours first (and I always found several) then work my way back to a week.” Some experts suggest as often as daily. But a big caveat here is to be cautious about how much time you’re spending updating and re-submitting your resume to the job boards. Given that using the job boards is not necessarily the most effective way to find a job to begin with, make sure you don’t let these resume-updating activities swallow up all your precious job-hunting time. Mix up your job-search techniques in proportion to the effectiveness of the various methods — including networking, which is generally recognized as the best method.
It’s also a good idea to check the policies of the boards you’re posting to regarding how long they keep your resume active. Even if you don’t update your resume submission frequently, you’ll want to make sure it’s still active on the boards.
Q: When I post my resume on the major job boards, I get a flood of junk e-mails advertising get-rich-quick, multi-level marketing (MLM), and pyramid schemes. How can I avoid that?
A: One solution is to obtain a “throwaway” e-mail address from a provider such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo for use during job searching and then terminating the account after the search is complete to stave off these types of unwanted e-mail solicitations.
And the big job boards really owe it to users to tell what they’re doing to prevent job-seekers from being subjected to inappropriate solicitations and misrepresentation.
“One of the most annoying experiences from both posting my resume and securing ‘job agents’ on many Web-based employment services is being hoodwinked by network marketing firms,” said reader and marketing consultant Michael Albert, of Redondo Beach, CA. “Many multi-level marketing companies post positions as ‘Director of Marketing’ or ‘Marketing Manager’ with realistic-appearing job descriptions, but the rub is that the ‘job’ offer is a veiled pitch for their networking marketing ploy,” Albert related. “Some have phoned me, and I have gone to an interview only to find out the truth. One guy, when I stated that I was not seeking to enter the ‘personal marketing’ industry, flipped and told me I was an idiot for passing up on his offer. His offer, by the way, involved a $750 ‘business set-up’ charge to ‘get me going.'” When Albert complained to the job board, he received an autoresponder e-mail offering site-navigation tips.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 24
- An interview with a career consultant who represented himself as a headhunter/recruiter.
- An interview with another headhunter associated with a job board.
- Requests for resumes from many other job-search Web sites.
- No feedback whatsoever from applications to listed jobs out of perhaps 75-80 occurrences.
Q: Should I be concerned about privacy violations and identity theft when I post my resume on the boards?
A: Unfortunately, yes.
As mentioned earlier, security breaches have resulted in leaked resume information affecting many job-board users. Pam Dixon, head of the World Privacy Forum, warns that many job sites still let too much information from resumes posted online get into the hands of third parties through online “cookies” that monitor Web surfing. To help prevent these violations, Dixon offers Privacy Tips for Online Job Seekers.
Q: I don’t want my current employer to see that my resume has been submitted to a job board, nor do I want any employers to contact my current employer. What can I do?
A: The most reputable job boards offer “confidential” settings.
Select the identity-revealing information that you want blocked out. Some boards enable you to set up an e-mail account with them so you don’t have to reveal your real e-mail address. And to keep employers from contacting your current employer, substitute “confidential” or “current employer” for the name of your employer on your resume or resume-submission form.
Q: It seems like some postings aren’t for real jobs or the postings are outdated. How can I avoid those situations?
Indeed, some of the jobs posted on job boards aren’t real or the postings are outdated, reports Stacey Bradford of The Wall Street Journal. Employers sometimes post these “fantasy jobs” as a sort of fishing expedition to check out the available talent. Bradford advises job-seekers to “avoid listings with vague job descriptions or those posted by anonymous recruiters.” An obvious approach to avoid outdated postings is to check the posting date. When a job board asks to be listed on Quintessential Careers, we always ask about the currency of their listings. Postings that appear directly on company career sites may also be more current than those on job boards.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 25
A: A significant portion of jobs on the big boards are posted by recruiters/headhunters/executive-search firms.
While that’s not necessarily a negative, it does make it harder to connect directly with employers and make an impression. “The golden age of Internet job sites has passed,” lamented one of our readers, who asked to remain anonymous. “I used Monster three years ago. I’m using it again. The difference: employment agencies.” When you post your resume, you become a target for recruiters who don’t necessarily have a good job match for you. “Normally, many headhunters call to get you to sign up with their firm, but I have not seen any productive results coming out of it,” said another anonymous reader. Another said, “The only responses I’ve received are from recruiters who call to tell me they don’t think I’m qualified for the posted job. In the same breath they begin to pump me for names and phone numbers of my co-workers who also ‘may appreciate the referral.'”
One way to avoid these third-party job postings is, of course, to apply for jobs directly through company career sites.
Q: Any special tips for boards like Monster that require a fill-in-the-blanks profile form for resume submission?
A: One important tip is that you don’t have to fill in every blank.
Think twice about filling in the blanks with information that would limit your opportunities. In an article for Career Connections, the newsletter of the Career Management Alliance, Ross Primack of Connecticut Works suggests leaving blank the questions about ideal job and ideal company as they can limit your options. Other advice from Primack:
- The salary and references fields are not required and should be left blank.
- Stating that you can start your next position immediately can make you look disloyal and as though you are prone to leaving employers in the lurch.
- The job-seeker’s answer to the question about site location can also be limiting. Given Monster’s three options of on-site, off-site, and no preference, choose no preference.
- Similarly, when you’re asked about company-size preference, you’ll keep more options open by indicating no preference.
- Be as specific as possible in completing the skill section, especially regarding software skills, and use the skill section to list keywords associated with your background and experience.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 26
- Sometimes you do want to limit your opportunities to the fields that really interest you. Primack suggests using Monster’s “Additional information” box to indicate fields in which you have no interest and state that you don’t wish to be contacted by employers in these areas.
An additional tip from Shanna Kemp is to title your resume appropriately since Monster allows resume titles. “As an employer or recruiter on the search end… I ignore all resumes that don’t seem relevant immediately — and if I find someone better first, never go back,” Kemp writes.
Q: I find that very few employers even acknowledge my application. It’s also difficult to follow up with them because of minimal information about the employer in the posting. What can I do?
A: Attempt to follow up.
Many users report that they get no response whatsoever — not even an acknowledgement that their materials were received — when they respond to job postings on the big boards. Again, the massive number of candidates inundating employers with their resumes sometimes precludes a response. But smart companies know that it costs almost nothing to at least set up an e-mail autoresponder to thank job-seekers for applying.
If you hear nothing from an employer, you should try to follow up, which isn’t always easy. Indeed, it can be very difficult to direct your resume to a named individual or to follow up after responding to a job posting. Because of the huge volume of responses that employers receive — often thousands for a single job posting — the hiring process has become very mechanized and much more impersonal than it used to be. Whereas job-seekers have long been advised (including here at Quintessential Careers) to address their cover letters to a named individual, preferably the hiring manager for the position sought, Internet job postings often omit the name of an individual to write to. When job-seekers call the company to obtain the name of someone to address, the information is often not divulged. Without the name of someone to write to, it’s also very difficult to follow up after applying online for a job. To find out with whom you should follow up, you can try the techniques in our article, SleuthingOut Hiring Managers Is Key to Job-Search Follow-up.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 27
Q: I’ve already tried most of the suggestions in this FAQ, and I’m still not getting good results. Are there any untapped promising areas or new trends in online resume submission?
A: A relatively untapped venue is professional organizations.
Not only do they often have job ads for your specific field, but professional organizations were ranked as the No. 1 networking venue in the survey we did for our book, A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market. Access many professional organizations through this section of Quintessential Careers: General Professional Organizations and Associations.
Another technique — which hardly represents a new trend but is not used often enough — is followup. It’s not always easy to obtain contact information for an employer to which you’re submitting your resume online, but it can be done, and your persistence can pay off. For more information, see the article Sleuthing Out Hiring Managers Is Key to Job-Search Follow-up. Even if you receive a rejection letter or e-mail, follow up to indicate continued interest in the employer.
Q: I’ve heard about some techniques for “fooling” the applicant-tracking system software that searches employer databases for resumes. Some of these techniques involve telling “white lies” and don’t seem ethical. Should I use these techniques?
A: Some job-seekers are so incensed by impersonal resume-filtering technology that they believe they are justified in engaging in questionable ethics to “beat the system.”
We retain a neutral stance on the ethical issue and choose not to publicize the techniques on our site, but those interested in these techniques can check out “Short-Circuiting the New Paper Pushers” by Evelyn Nussbaum in the May 2003 issue of Business 2.0.
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A: Don’t submit your resume indiscriminately.
Adding to the overwhelming volume of resumes employers receive online is a plethora of resumes sent for jobs the job-seeker is not remotely qualified for. If you think you’re covering all bases by responding to zillions of job postings, think again. You do yourself no favors by adding to the clutter that employers must weed through. Managing the information glut that results from the bombardment of resumes is a major headache for employers. Some job-seekers think that even if they’re not qualified, the employer will realize how much they have to offer and match them up with other company job openings. Given the sheer volume of resumes and the speed of the screening process, the chances of such a match occurring are beyond remote, so don’t waste the employer’s time or your own.
Finding job openings is one of the major ways jobseekers use the Internet. These links will get you started:
General Job Resources
Job Resources by Geographic Region
Job Resources by Specific Industry
Job-Seeker Specific Job and Career Resources
Job Resources for Women and Minorities
Job Resources for Transitioning Vets/Military
Job Resources for Older/Mature Workers
Resources for Volunteering and Nonprofits
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 29
Additional Resource: WEDDLE’s Tips for Success When Looking for a New or Better Job On the Internet
The Future of Job Boards
Certainly the initial incarnation of job boards is on the way out. Weddle writes, “We are now coming to the end of the reign of first-generation job boards.” The two key characteristics of these first-generation boards, Weddle notes, are a searchable job database and usually a resume database.
So what will replace job boards? One answer is “talent hubs,” which recruiting guru Lou Adler defines as:
… micro career sites that are designed to attract people to a class of jobs, such as marketing, rather than a specific job, such as a senior product manager. These are warm-up pages. Their purpose is to get people to consider opportunities with the company. If designed properly using SEO (search engine optimized) techniques, they are far easier to find using a standard Google, Yahoo, or Live search. From these sites candidates are then driven to specific jobs or to sign up to hear about future opportunities.
Weddle notes that the second-generation boards replacing the legacy sites will offer such features as “forums and bulletin boards for professional networking; games, polls and other features that teach career self-management principles; educational programs, conference schedules, and other information that will help visitors advance themselves in their profession, craft, or trade.” He points to “career community centers,” such as TalentZoo.com, with a “Lounge” area where visitors can, according the site, “gather around and catch up on the latest industry news, trends, and entertaining articles.”
We’ll likely see a fusion of job boards and social media in the future, and it’s already happening with, for example, Facebook’s open invitation to develop applications for the platform. Simply Hired, for one, has responded with the Workin’ It application that enables Facebook users to create mini-resumes and spotlight their achievements.
Chapter 2: Making the Best of Job Boards While They Are Still Around – Page 30
- Jobfox, which offers a “Mutual Suitability System,” using an in-depth question-and-answer format to learn about job-seekers’ experience, wants, and needs. Jobfox then presents candidates with only the opportunities that match. “Since employers using Jobfox participate in this same process,” the Jobfox site states, “you can be assured that they know you are well qualified for their position.
- Itzbig, where matching candidates to jobs also is the centerpiece. Itzbig calls itself a “real-time interactive recruiting network, providing a way for job seekers and recruiters to come together online.” The site uses “profile matching technology” to provide “a filtered set of qualified candidates to the recruiter and a filtered set of job matches to the candidate.”
- QuietAgent, which claims to “evaluate every job, every day, so you don’t have to.” The site notes that with QuietAgent, “recruiters use rich toolsets to get two-way private connections with quality candidates.”
- Climber.com, which helps job-seekers “understand yourself and reveal what types of jobs/companies you will best fit.” The Climber.com site states that it is “for people who are not necessarily actively looking for a new job, but rather who are open to recruitment by companies.” The site enables seekers to “connect anonymously to recruiters, research companies and salary information, and refer jobs to trusted co-workers and friends.”
- Jiibe uses scientific assessment technology, user-driven content and social networking, to help employees and jobseekers find corporate cultures that fit their values and style of work. Focused on the individual employee or jobseeker, Jiibe’s aim is to become a “corporate-culture marketplace” where users can hunt for the ultimate workplace.
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- My Perfect Gig, “a members-only, private career network for engineering professionals where companies and talented individuals speak a ‘common language.'” (We’ve heard other anecdotal evidence of job-seekers finding success on paid, private job boards.)
- Vitruva, “a second-generation career website powered by an artificial intelligence job-matching engine.” The Vitruva site says it “connect[s] talented professionals with highly qualified job opportunities instantly – in real-time.” You can also upload your LinkedIn profile to Vitruva.
- Jobzerk, which bills itself as the “world’s first community and socially driven job site.”
- OneWire, a site for finance professionals that “allows individuals to quickly and precisely map their experiences – education, work, and life – and distinguish themselves from their peers.” The site goes on to note that “firms use the same system to create a search for their ideal candidate. This mirroring of profile and search criteria allows for the precise matching of individual to opportunity.”
Employers and recruiters are also deploying novel online approaches to locating the best candidates. The “War for Talent” is pushing employers and recruiters to use or create new models to find good workers.
One is TopCoder, which offers weekly competitions for software programmers, the partial purpose of which are to help employers “determine which candidate is best suited to the needs of your organization,” the site states. “While certification has offered some credibility, the Web-page text continues, “competitions that test a developer’s skills in real-world challenges go much further to differentiating one candidate from another.”
The bottom-line question in using job boards is this: Would you rather compete on a playing field where employers are overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of resume submissions — or in less competitive venues, such as networking situations, where you have more chance of standing out and impressing a prospective employer? As this chapter emphasizes, job boards are still part of the job-seeker’s toolkit. But the rest of this book describes Web 2.0 techniques that can help you stand out to employers.
Chapter 3: Building a Digital Presence Making Yourself “Findable” and Optimizing Your Presence for Search Engines – Page 32
All these philosophies underscore the importance of relationships and the ability to be found online if you are interested in a new job. We’ve talked about the significance of an online or digital presence since our 2005 report, but as job boards diminish in importance and effectiveness, and hiring decision-makers shift their approaches to connecting with talent, digital presence becomes a must. The job-search scene has shifted from a job-board approach to a Web 2.0 approach, described by Kevin Wheeler, president and founder of Global Learning Resources, Inc., this way: “Web 2.0 is the evolution from text-based, online brochure-like websites to websites that are interactive, allow control and input from the candidate, and provide information in a variety of formats, including video, audio, graphics, and text. Web 2.0 sites tend to focus on blogs, wikis, and chat, and they keep the boilerplate to a minimum.”
One of the most basic and growing ways that recruiters look for candidates is though simple Internet searches, especially using the ubiquitous Google search engine. While recruiting for a large software company, Seattle-based Alice Hanson described how she found candidates: “The first thing I do is go to Google and look for resumes that are posted to the Internet. These are the first people I call because they are free,” she explained. “The next is members in professional organizations and people listed in ZoomInfo (a site that provides a compilation of any mention of a person anywhere on the Web in any search engine) and on Linkedin.com.”
Hanson continued, “We go through our own database of resumes and see if there are any ‘live ones.’ Then, we target competitive firms that we want to raid and cold call for referrals of people that they know who are looking and get their resumes. If all that fails, the last option is paying good money to search through Monster.com and specialty databases. Monster is the dead-last place we look.”
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Google searches are so crucial to recruiters that they hold training classes and share secrets on discussion boards about exotic Google search strategies to find candidates.
As if to underscore the importance of Googlability, Mark Berger of Swat Recruiting offers a book to recruiters called Power Searching for Free Resumes on Google — A Guide to Advanced Search Techniques and Methods, providing “advanced methods utilized for locating qualified resumes of passive candidates on Google.” Similarly, JobMachine.net offers a “Google CheatSheet for Recruiters.” It doesn’t take too much imagination to deduce that resources offering recruiters tips on finding candidates through Google could also prove valuable for candidates who want to be found on Google.
The average job-seeker probably does not think about the importance of Google and the other online sites the recruiter mentioned. Sullivan calls Google “the best-funded recruiting machine on the planet.” He also cites ZoomInfo as “the best source for finding employed top performers who are not actively seeking a new job … (i.e., the difference-makers).”
Bottom line: Your digital presence is more important than ever, and even if you are not actively seeking a new job, a digital presence, in which you pop up in Google and other searches, can open up some unexpected opportunities.
You can establish something of a digital presence using the social-networking tools and venues discussed in Chapter 4, but that kind of “outpost” approach (as social-media guru Chris Brogan calls it) will work much better if you have a “home base” to refer all your connections to. Thus, the basic digital-presence package we recommend is:
- Your own Web site with your name as the site’s domain name (for example, katharinehansenphd.com). Instead of a static Web site, your site could be a blog. Create an “About” page for your site or blog that is rich with information about yourself. Brogan suggests that your “About” page tell who you are, how to find you, and what you’re passionate about. Also include a “Contact” page that lists every possible way to reach you.
- Your resume on your Web site or blog. Schawbel notes that “instead of submitting your resume, it becomes a billboard that can be shared, distributed to hiring managers, searched and more.”
Chapter 3: Building a Digital Presence Making Yourself “Findable” and Optimizing Your Presence for Search Engines – Page 34
- A career portfolio, which includes key samples of some of your best work, as well as other artifacts reflecting your unique talents and abilities, as part of your site.
- A blog if your site is not already a blog. (We cover blogging in greater detail in Chapter 5).
Let’s look at what it takes to establish these components. You’ll need Web space in which to publish your page/site. Check with your Internet Service Provider. Many providers offer users space on their Web-servers, while colleges and universities often provide Web space to students while enrolled. For a search engine that enables you to find Web sites with free Web space hosting, go to FreeWebspace.Net. For low-cost or other types of hosting, sites like HostSearch, DotEasy, ActiveWebHosting, and WebBusiness. Domain registrars like GoDaddy also provide hosting solutions.
Next, your site will need a design. Thousands of templates are available for download or purchase — or you can even hire a Web designer — to develop the key look and navigation strategy for your site. (If you decide you want to create a blog — see Chapter 5 — several major platforms are available to so). Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a fairly easy and quick method of updating, revising, and adding content to your site.
At a minimum, your Website should include an index page that includes your key value proposition — typically expressed in the same way as you would verbally with an Elevator Speech — along with contact information and a short bio.
Now, let’s look in greater depth at the individual components your Web page/site could contain:
Posting your own resume — your way — out there in cyberspace can be a terrific supplement to posting your resume — their way — on major and niche job boards. Since many employers now require resumes to be submitted in an unattractive and unadorned text format, publishing your resume on the Web gives employers 24/7 access to a more graphically pleasing version of your resume. Learn how to publish your resume on the Web here and learn resume basics here.