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Modern Job Search Methods

The internet has brought the ability to conduct a convenient, nationwide job search right to your home. Online job search websites abound. There are thousands of dedicated sites to help job hunters search for jobs worldwide. Most companies also have an online utility allowing you to apply for jobs online.

Job search strategies that involves going directly to company website is a good way to introduce you to the company. Most have search functions which allow you to find open positions at the company. Generally, you can identify, through various search options, the jobs which might be appropriate for your skills and abilities. Many systems allow you to apply for specific jobs online through a system where you would complete an application and upload your resume.

Once you have completed a company’s application process, you will then become part of their database for a period of time. Some systems search their databases automatically when new jobs are posted. If your resume matches any of the job requirements, you’ll get a notice and opportunity to apply for the job online.

There are also websites dedicated to posting open jobs from any company. HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and Monster are just a few of the sites available for conducting a job search online. These sites have all the tools you need in order to complete any job search. Most have various tools which assist applicants in preparing and uploading their resume. Some even help applicants make connections and create relationships as well as find out the effective way of negotiating the starting and future salary. The advantage of these job search websites is that they give you access to an extensive database of job opportunities across the country. You can search by location, job title, or company to find the exact job you are looking for.

The more sophisticated sites also allow you to narrow your search by salary, name or position level. These job search sites put many position descriptions in front of you quickly. You can apply for them immediately or add them to a “save” or “watch” category so you can think about it and apply at a later date. Not all job search sites are created equally. I’ve found over the years that some are easier to use and post more jobs for a given job search.

For instance, Indeed.com searches the results of the other job search websites when you use it. I’ve found that this saves a lot of time when conducting a job search. I use it almost exclusively now as a result. You also don’t have to create an account in order to do a basic search.

The Best Steps for How to Find a Job Fast May Not Be What You Think

If you’re not an upper level executive, the best advice about how to find a job is very different for you. Here it is, straight from a hiring manager.

Caution: you’ll need to put aside some of what you may have read elsewhere about how to find a job. Much of the traditional job search advice is either theoretical, only works for upper level positions, or is based on what a recruiter thinks are the best job search methods.

Much of the job search advice you’ll find on the Internet is also several years old and is either no longer applicable is today’s world, or simply played out.

Case in point: are you still assuming that the Human Resources department is the target your job search? Wrong!

What you’ll find here are the steps about how to find a job that I used myself to find a job fast…twice!

The Best Steps to Find a Job Fast

The reason you need a list of steps to follow is to focus your job search efforts and avoid a scattergun approach. If you want to find a job fast, you need to make certain you’re doing everything possible and doing it regularly. Having set steps to follow helps you do this.

As a hiring manager, I know the best steps to find job applicants. So when I was looking for a job myself, I used this knowledge to my advantage as a job seeker.

Here are the “how to find a job” steps I followed myself when I lost my job twice in four months. Each time, I found a new, higher paying mid-management job in five weeks or less. Follow them faithfully and find your job fast, too!

Preparation Steps

These are the steps you need to do up front in order to prepare for your job search. Once these are in place, you’ll find that your actual job search efforts will go much faster and easier.

  • Get the Right Job Search Tools You’ll need the basics, such as a computer, phone, etc, plus some additional items to get the most out of your job search time. See the job search tools page for a complete list of what you will need.
  • Get Organized It’s important to lay an organized foundation for your job search in order to use your time in the most efficient manner. Remember, looking for a job adds whole new meaning to the term “time is money” – especially if you’re unemployed!
  • Create a Basic Resume and Cover Letter You need to have a basic resume completed before you begin your job search, so that you can react quickly when you see a job opening. You should also create a generic cover letter targeted towards the position for which you’re most qualified. You can then revise this to suit actual jobs for which you apply.
  • Create a List of References, With Contact Information The time to create your list of references if before you apply for jobs, not after. If you luck out and land a job offer quickly, you don’t want to delay your response while you desperately try to find people who will say something nice about you! You should have three to five excellent references from previous jobs, preferably from previous bosses. Contact these people in advance and ask their permission to be used as a reference.
  • Post Your Resume Online at Selected Sites This is one of those things you must do in order to cover all the bases in your job search, but you should do carefully. Use only well known sites and consider masking your name if you’re currently employed. One of the worse things that can happen when you’re job searching is to have your current employer see your resume posted online (this is what we hiring managers call a CLM – Career Limiting Move). Of course, if you’re currently unemployed, feel free to plaster your name all over the Internet. Not really – please see our Resume section for more specific details and advice.
  • Let Others Know You’re Job Hunting You’ll want to let as many business and personal contacts as possible know you are searching for a job. You just never know when someone will have the inside track on an opening that just became available. Here too, use some discretion if you are still employed. You don’t want it coming back to your current boss that you are looking for a new job, as this does not make for good employer-employee relations.
  • Set Up “Job Search Agents”A “Job Search Agent” is simply a specialized search that you can set up on many job posting sites. You specifiy the types of jobs you’re looking for and the job search agent notifies you by email whenever a new job that meets your criteria is posted. How cool is this?! This is an invaluable tool in your job search and you should set up job search agents at all the major job posting sites and online newspaper classifieds. Also, many company web sites will allow you set up job search agents for their employment postings. This is, however, not a substitute for visiting these sites regularly, because jobs may be posting in areas that don’t meet your predetermined search criteria.

Ongoing Steps

The above steps are to lay the foundation for your job search. Now the real work begins. The steps below are the ones you’ll need to do on a regular basis, in order to identify job openings. These are not one time steps – they are steps you need to repeat frequently in order to find a job as fast as possible.

  • Check Company Web Sites Regularly for Job Postings By regularly, I mean at least three times per week for the companies you most want to work for, and at least once per week for all other companies on your web site list. At my current company, we post new openings once per week, but other companies post them more often – sometimes daily. The only way to be certain is to check them frequently.
  • Check Newspaper Classifieds Regularly You should check the paper version at least once per week on Sunday, as most of the employment ads appear on Sunday. For newspapers with online classifieds, you need to check them daily because new jobs are posted daily.
  • Check Online Job Posting Sites Regularly You’ll need to check the online job posting sites daily because most of them post new jobs daily. Your job search agent (be sure to set them up) will automatically notify you of new jobs that meet your defined criteria, but employers may post jobs in categories different from what you have defined. The only way to be sure you don’t miss any is to also do a manual search using similar, but different, criteria to that used in your search agent.
  • Attend Job Fairs You should attend all job fairs that are held in your area. Remember: employers that go to the expense of setting up at job fairs are there for one reason: they have jobs they need to fill. Plus, this is an excellent chance to meet and network with other job seekers who may be able to point you to jobs that don’t work for them but may for you.
  • Spend Time Every Day on Your Job Search If you are currently unemployed, you’re a lucky person in one respect: you have plenty of time to spend on your job search. While you are unemployed, your job is to find a job and you should be working full time on this. You should spend a minimum of six hours per day on your job search efforts. If you currently have a job, you should spend at least two hours per day on your job search. The more time you devote to your job search, the faster you’ll find a new job.

What are the Best Online Job Search Sites?

There are over 45,000 online job search sites. The sheer scope of coverage is overwhelming, from the local jobs level to the regional jobs level, all the way to the USA jobs level, you can work full time for months and not search them all.

The secret to a good online job search is to narrow the selection down to the best ones, particularly for non-executive positions. As a hiring manager, this is the order in which I’ll post jobs online – it’s therefore the order in which you should spend your online job search time:

  • The Company Web Site
  • Online Job Posting Sites (see below)

Here are the Best Online Job Posting Sites

As a hiring manager, I’ve asked my Human Resources Department to use many of these and I know they can deliver a large number of qualified applicants quickly.

As a job seeker you should be certain to include these in your online job search, as well as post your resume at a select few.

One thing to bear in mind is that you’re going to find a certain amount of redundancy in the jobs you’ll find online. Many of the job sites use the same job search engines and thus you’ll come across the same job on more than one site.

This is simply part of conducting an online job search and one reason why it’s so necessary to be organized and keep good records on the jobs for which you’ve applied.

Remember: as a hiring manager, I will usually disregard applicants that apply twice. If you can’t keep track of jobs you apply for, how will you keep track of your work if I hire you? Yep, we hiring managers are tough!

A Word About Web Site Traffic Rankings

There are approximately 56 Million active sites on the Web. In order to make your online job search as efficient as possible, I’ll give you the job search sites with the most traffic, as measured by the Alexa-certified Traffic Ranking. This number represents where each site ranks in traffic, out of all those 56 million sites.

The lower the Alexa rating number, the more popular the site. For example, an Alexa rating of 10 means that site is the tenth most visited site on the web. So, a site that ranks at 560,000 (or lower) is in the Top 1% of all sites.

You want to focus your online job search on job sites that rank at least in the top 1% or better. The lower the Alexa rating number, the more popular the site. (in case you’re wondering who is number 1, it’s Yahoo, the most visited site on the Web).

For each site I recommend, I give the Alexa ranking so you can see which ones get the most traffic. The ones with the most traffic, of course, will likely have the most job postings. An Alexa rating of 10,000 or lower is particularly outstanding and means that site is getting serious traffic.

The Big Five Job Posting Sites

Here are the five biggest online job search sites. Millions of job seekers post their resumes on these sites and hundreds of thousands of jobs are posted.

The good news is that most large employers use these sites at one time or another to post jobs.

The bad news is that the numbers of visitors to these sites is huge, so there is lots of competition for posted jobs. Also, when you post your resume on these sites, it’s easy for it to get lost unless you update it regularly.

These are the sites that employers will search and as a hiring manager, I use these sites to find resumes from qualified applicants. They are all a must in your online job search.

Other Major Job Posting Sites

While not as large as the top five online job search sites, these sites still have excellent Alexa ratings and should definitely be part of your employment search efforts.

Regional Job Sites

We hiring managers really like the regional sites because we know that applicants using these sites are more likely to be local applicants and we love local applicants. We don’t have to pay travel expenses and they can generally start sooner. You should definitely include these in your online job search.

You can check job openings in specific locations in two ways. You can narrow your job search at the major job sites to a specific region, or you can go to regional job sites that only post jobs in that region.

As a hiring manager, I use both so I advise you to use both in your online job search. Some employers only post on the major sites and other employers only post on regional sites. Some employers do both.

In other words, you need to cover all the bases. Yes, you’ll come across a lot of job openings posted on both but that’s just part of the online job search process.

Once again, we hiring managers sure don’t make it easy on job seekers, do we?

There are thousands of regional job sites. But the reality is that some of them get so little traffic that they are a waste of your time.

Industry Specific Job Sites

As with regional sites, hiring managers love the industry specific job sites. They tend to yield more targeted applicants and frequently are less expensive to post jobs on than the top five job general job sites. These are also a must for your online job search efforts.

Click on an industry below for a list of the top five job sites in that industry.