Five Ways to Improve Your Job Search

Let’s face it, while sure it’s exciting, looking for a new job is hard work. The job market is flooded and resources when trying to find hidden job vacancies are few and far between. Refining and improving job search is vital when looking to land a great position.

We need to continuously improve on the way we search for jobs. By utlising online job websites to look for jobs you are extending your reach to all possibilities. By improving your job searches, you effectively find scarcer job vacancies and increase your chances of being placed in your dream job.

Here are five ways to improve your job searches.

1. KNOW YOUR RECRUITMENT RESOURCES:

There are vast recruitment resources available to job seekers. Consider the number of recruitment agencies as well as online job portals available for job seekers to make use of. The numbers are astounding. Before blasting your CV all over the Net, first research the job that you are interested in to make sure that it is what you are looking for. Both online recruitment websites and recruitment agencies need to be carefully selected in order to run better job searches. Remember that these are the companies you are selecting to represent you in your job search. Commission your skill to only those agents who promise measurable results.

2. REFINE YOUR JOB SEARCHES:

After registering with a reputable job portal, and have run your first job search, learn how to refine your job search. Job seekers new to online job searching should use a refined job search to improve their search results. Quick job searches are great when looking for broad search results. When looking for refined results uniquely filtered, advanced job searches will closely pinpoint less common vacancies.

3. MAKE USE OF JOB ALERTS:

A job alert (also known as an automated job search agent) is a terrific way to use job portal resources to their greatest potential. Job notification alerts are scheduled notices received in various formats such as email or RSS feeds to inform Job Seekers of related jobs that have been posted to a job portal. By pre-defining job criteria, a job alert (search agent) will monitor activity on the job website. Based on the job criteria and keywords detailed in your job alert, the system will automatically update and notify you accordingly of matching jobs. By receiving job alerts, job seekers are savvy to positions specifically relevant to them, as they are loaded to the job site. The early bird catches the worms and that’s why you want to be a prompt as possible when applying to important employment opportunities. Improve your job searches by making use of relevant job alerts.

4. DON’T NEGLECT ANY MEANS OF JOB SEARCH:

As discussed, there are various resources that a job seeker can utilise when hunting for a job. Be sure to make use of the job search resources that are most relevant to the success of your job search. Manage a healthy balance of utilising each available resource until you can identify with those that specifically assist your career. By making use of all the resources available to you, your job searches are bound to improve.

5. MAKE YOURSELF SEARCHABLE:

Job searching isn’t all just about you searching for employment opportunities. Recruiters and employers are also searching for job seekers. By registering with reputable online job portals you are allowing yourself to be found. Head hunters run searches on online job portals and recruitment databases, hunting for candidates. If you don’t play you can’t win, so be sure to advertise your CV where people know to look. While this is not a direct way to search for a job this will enhance the results of your job hunt significantly.

There are always new and innovative ways of improving any job search. All that job seekers need do, is tap into these advanced methods of job search and brace themselves for an influx of job interview requests.

Copyright (c) 2008 Camilla Patten

The Internet Job Posting

How To Write A Successful Internet Job Posting?
The key to a successful Internet job posting is first recognizing that it is not a print classified advertisement. An Internet job posting is interactive, and requires a good understanding of interactive marketing. One of the greatest challenges contractors face when posting jobs online, is recognizing that they must change their traditional job posting habits. An online job posting will not do well if written like a print classified ad. It must be thought more like an interactive marketing campaign for the entire firm. The Marketing Department rather than the HR Department should write it.

Update the Company Web Site
The company web site is rapidly becoming the first point of contact for most job seekers or prospective clients. Contractors should update their corporate web site so that it provides a professional and interactive presentation of the firm, its goals, key personnel, corporate culture, top achievements, and business philosophy. In fact, every marketing resource available to the contractor should be utilized to make the corporate web site the best it can be. Although most job boards provide hot links to company web sites, some do not. Either way, job seekers are likely to independently surf the Internet in order to locate a contractor’s web site, relevant press releases/news, before submitting their resume.

Keywords Rule
In the fast paced world of Internet surfing, most job seekers will only take the time to view the top 20 search results. Making it to the top usually is about keywords. They often make the difference between a successful job posting and a waste of time.Contractors should put the right keywords in the right place so that the right people can find their job postings. Online job postings are not viewed the way print classified ads are viewed. Online job postings are hidden within databases containing thousands of records, and they must be called up for a job seeker to view them. This process up may take the form of keyword selection in a search engine or any number of methods with point and click directories. It’s important for contractors to study the job posting and keyword guidelines of the hosting job board since they will differ from site to site. Many job boards will rank or prioritize job postings within their database by title, membership status, date, keywords or other less obvious means. Adding keywords properly assures that a job posting will find its way to the top of the job board’s search results. Adding keywords improperly may result in having the job posting deleted by the hosting job board or simply lost in the volumes of database records that job seekers never find. While identifying the best keywords for a job posting, contractors should determine which words the job seeker will select in utilizing the job board’s search engine – and include all relevant occupational-specific terms (i.e. Hard Bid Estimator or value engineering). To cover all the bases, It is a good idea to use multiple words or synonyms that may mean the same thing. For example, if the job location is in a lesser-known town such as Maitland, Florida but near a well-known city like Orlando, Florida, then Orlando should be added as a keyword. Most job boards require keywords to be added in a special field, in a particular fashion (using quotes, comas, etc.). Job postings that do not offer a special field for keywords usually require the contractor to add keywords to the Job Description, Job Requirements or other searchable fields. When adding keywords to a Job Description, contractors should write the keywords into complete sentences so that the content flows as a logical composition.

Make It Believable
Job Postings should be believable and complete if they want to attract the top talent. Most executive job seekers are interested in job postings that contain detailed job descriptions and job requirements. Many want to see salary and information about the company. Others want to know job location. Most job boards claim that a well-written job posting can achieve many more qualified applications than a poorly written job posting. Fortunately many job boards offer FAQ’s and job posting guidelines to help contractors get the most from their job posting. Some provide statistical analysis of individual job postings. These statistics often show the number of job seeker views and applications submitted to each job posting. Contractors can use statistics to evaluate their results and modify the job posting accordingly. The more details provided in a job posting the more credible the job and the better the fit. Therefore, more job seekers will respond. Contractors should be specific about the scope and type of work, the hours, the job goals, the salary and the location. They should also make sure all fields are appropriately filled in completely. Some boards allow for job postings to be previewed prior to going live helping contractors see the completed job posting the way job seekers will see it. Many job boards allow for real time editing during the advertisements flight.

Manage Style
Unlike classified print ads, online job postings usually allow for pages of copy. Headhunter.net allows for three thousand characters in the Job Description and three thousand characters in the Job Requirements fields – or about two typewritten pages. Contractors should write clearly and present text in an organized, logical manner. Job postings should read like a composition and not a print classified ad. Sentences can be short but they should always be complete sentences containing correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The copy should include natural paragraphs, with line breaks, so that the job seeker can find relevant information quickly and easily. Writing in all Caps, using excessive exclamation points, or adding acronyms and abbreviations will reduce the credibility of the job posting and potentially result in job deletion by the hosting job board. Acronyms and abbreviations should also be spelled out since job seekers usually search by complete words.

Read Job Posting Guidelines
Most job boards have Terms of Use agreements that members/users must agree to – in order to utilize their service. It’s important that contractors read and understand the terms that relate to job postings and keywords to get the best results. It is typical for job boards with have high quality control standards to delete or edit up to 25% of all job postings as being inappropriate. Most job boards do not allow for listing of emails, URL’s, use of copyrighted material, defamatory remarks, false, inaccurate or misleading information, illegal or unethical content. Job postings that encourage job seekers to email for more details, are usually prohibited.

Follow up
Contractors should immediately follow up on all qualified applications that have been submitted. Peter Weddles at weedles.com says, “Speed is everything in hiring top talent.” Within ten days, the top 10% of job seekers are gone. Once someone desirable is identified, it’s important to act on that person right away. Today’s recruitment market is highly competitive and the hiring cycle should not allow for any dead time between in-house interviewing schedules and final selection. Contractors should not leave job seekers hanging more than five to seven days without a scheduled follow-up meeting. Otherwise, they risk losing the job seeker entirely. There needs to be top-level management involved with all key hires. Involving top management makes job seekers feel that the hire is an important position, and that they have personally been selected as the “candidate of choice” by the top brass. Contractors should begin closing the deal the moment they know that they want someone for hire. They should not let up until an offer is on the table and accepted.

Common Internet Job Posting Fields & Their Purpose

Job Titles
Titles should be industry-specific and familiar to job seekers since they will use keyword search for positions according to standard job titles. The Job Title field is not the field to market the job posting (like with a classified ad). The Job Title field should be used primarily to have the job posting found by job seekers. Adding appropriate keywords, in the appropriate place, is far more important than catchy job titles that never get seen. However, it is acceptable to add relevant, occupational-defining adjectives to the basic Job Title (such as On-site Architectural Project Manager, Conceptual Chief Estimator, Hospital Flooring Project Engineer, and Veteran Concrete Superintendent).

Job Descriptions
Job descriptions typically focus on job responsibilities, duties, scope, achievements and goals to be accomplished. The clearer the description, the more likely qualified job seekers will apply. Job descriptions should focus on the job seeker’s needs and not just the position. Job descriptions should be written from the job seeker’s perspective. They should also answer the question, “Why would a job seeker want to apply for this job?” Contractors should describe the best parts of the job, interesting challenges, future job opportunities, reporting relationships, and why the position is available. It’s important to sell the overall career opportunity while not just describing it. If a job seeker takes the job, what will their lives be like? Use word pictures and try to communicate desirable images that the job seeker can visualize, compelling him/her to change jobs. For example: “work in a progressive environment where you can learn more in six months than you may have in the last six years”, or “walk into your private office and join a team of enthusiastic professionals who are building the next great management firm”. If there is not a job-posting field that lists specific benefits and perks, add them into the job description. Job benefits include things such as flex time, work at home, child care, above average medical benefits, company vehicle, education reimbursement, country club membership, and other special offerings. However, contractors should recognize that the Job Description field should not describe the company, the job requirements, the job location, salary, or anything else unless there is no other appropriate field in which to post this information. Inappropriate content (or placing content in the wrong fields) may result in the job posting being edited or deleted.

Company Profile
Most job boards allow for a hot link to the contractor’s corporate web site. Many job boards, in addition to offering a hot link, will offer a special Company Profile field. Contractors should completely fill in this field. This will add valuable content and keywords to the job board’s database in order to improve their chances of being found by searching job seekers. A Company Profile field creates an additional promotional opportunity for the firm and the job position. Use this field to describe what the company does – addressing key elements like organization size, location, benefits, company goals, mission, management style, employee quality of life and what makes the firm special. Contractors should also include information about the qualities desired in all team members. This field often provides for limitless content and is the least edited by the hosting job board. Some job boards even allow for multiple company profiles that can be individually linked to a respective job posting (allowing recruiters to add information on each respective client, and contractors the opportunity to promote information about their various divisional offices).

Contact Information
It is essential to put contact information on all forms and in all appropriate fields. Contractors should make it easy for a job seeker to apply. Most job seekers prefer email. Some prefer using mail, fax or phone calls before sending their confidential resume. It is appropriate to specify a preferred contact method, and request that all applications include the respective Job ID. By having several contact methods and the contact name (not just a department) of a real person, a job seeker is more likely to believe the job is valid and apply.

Job Identification (ID)
For job postings, contractors should use a tracking system to provide a unique Job ID for each job posting and require that job seekers reference this ID on applications whether faxed, emailed, or mailed. This allows contractors to know which site – and specifically which ad – brought in the respective application. Information as to where the best applications come from will help contractors to know what job boards have been the most productive sources of talent.

Job Responsibilities
Job Responsibilities are simply the job requirements for the position. In order to get the best response, contractors should list why the requirements are there. Examples would be: “A Bachelor of Arts Degree is required to help lead Corporate Communications” or “We require seven years of project management experience for commercial building projects. This position will manage three Project Managers and seven Project Engineers”. Make clear the “required” qualifications and the “desired” skills. Avoid clich’s or trite phrases like “self-motivated”, “team player”, and “fast-paced” (making the job posting appear common). Contractors can also use the Job Responsibilities field as an eliminator of unwanted resumes by making qualifying statements (“Applicants must have a minimum of six consecutive years with the same general contractor. Otherwise, please do not apply.”). In order to eliminate many unwanted job seekers, contractors can also add qualifying phrases such as “background checks are performed in the hiring process” or “personality testing is used in the hiring process”.

Salary
Many contractors refuse to post salary information in job postings. Salary figures make job postings credible, and substantially improve the job seeker response rate. It is also one of the most widely searched fields on a job posting. Job seekers are typically more interested in the salary than any other item in a job description. According to executive recruiter, Chuck Groom of CC Group, Inc., money is one of the top reasons why people leave their job. Job seekers do not want to waste time with a job that may not pay what they require. When a salary figure is lacking, they will assume that the contractor may be embarrassed by the level of salary level – or have something to hide. Phrases such as “Salary is commensurate with experience, N/A, Open, or Depends on experience” do not prove effective. They will actually significantly reduce response rate to a job posting.

Work Status
An important qualifier, that is often overlooked, is the work status field. With the international reach of the Internet, more and more foreigners (without valid work visas) are applying to United States job postings. Contractors can eliminate many foreign applications by simply stating “applicants must be United States citizens”, or “only United States citizens or those with valid work visas need apply”, or “you must have clearance to work in the United States to be considered for this position”.

Location
Most major job boards require the location field to be completed. Although many recruiters refuse to identify job locations (in fear of disclosing their clients need for confidentiality), listing the job location is one of the main fields that job seekers search. Job seekers from all over the country/world may see the job posting. Without a valid city noted, job seekers must guess the job location. They often will not apply because they think that the posting is in an undesirable location, or that it’s invalid to serve only as a ploy to collect resumes.

Best Places to Post an Internet Job Posting
There are several good choices for contractors who want to post their jobs online. However, the key is to find job boards that to provide the “right” viewers – as well as a large volume of “right” viewers. Contractors want their job posting to be seen by as many relevant viewers as possible. However, although most job boards charge similar fees for services, their volume of viewers can vary dramatically. Many contractors will choose to post jobs online with traditional, well-known, off-line businesses that have a job board presence online. However, the online job posting business (like any Internet business) is a unique business that requires an entirely different set of rules and business acumen. The off-line leaders are rarely the leaders in the online world. In selecting the right job board, contractors should compare results based on verifiable industry standards. One way to make an accurate comparison is through Amazon’s Alexa Research, which can be downloaded at Alexa.com and easily attached to a web browser. Once installed, this tool will indicate a web site’s visitor traffic (based on a common standard, and measured against the entire seventeen million plus web-sites currently on the Internet).

Energize a Stagnant Job Search – 7 Career Tips for Job Hunting

For those job seeking professionals that have been searching for a job for months or more, the whole job search process may seem a bit stale. Countless hours are often spent on job search websites and job search engines such as CareerBuilder.com, Dice.com, and Monster.com often resulting in minimal feedback. It is frustrating to go months without finding a job. Inevitability you begin to question career choices, your professional skills, experience, qualifications, or even your education. But you’re not alone. In times of high unemployment, a slow moving job market can create the appearance of a job search that becomes stagnated.

In this seven part series we will provide job search strategies and tips to revive your job hunt and reenergize your career confidence.

1) Part Time Job, a Temporary Job, or Volunteering

Seek out short term, part-time, or temporary work in your career field is a good way to get your foot in the door. Even if there does not seem to be any full time jobs opening any time soon, part time work and temp work is a way your employer can get to know you and your work ethic. If a job happens to open up or a new position is created, then you are at a higher advantage then others applicants who may be applying for that same job. You’ll have much more than a resume to show the company.

2) Work on your Personal Brand

If someone were to search for your name online, what, if anything would they see? In all likelihood, hiring you is a big investment to any company or organization. Especially in challenging economic times and an employer driven job market, companies are being more selective about their job applicants.

Take a few minuets and search for yourself online to determine what your digital footprint is. Do you share a name with someone that could create a career opportunity or a problem with your online image?

Use your personal brand to let the employer know your strengths, why they should hire you, and that you are a worthy candidate to investment in. If you remember, the personal brand is your life and professional skills as they appear online. You want your personal brand to be accurate and truthful, but you also want to it to make you look great to an employer. Your brand should reflect your overall qualifications, education, and indicate your career goals.

See what shows up in a Google search and a Yahoo search. Having a LinkedIn profile and profiles on other professional social networking sites can help to create a positive digital footprint. Your profile should be professional and consistent. Keep your information consistent with similar career goals and career objectives in each profile. Avoid blending social media and your online professional image. It is important to keep your private life PRIVATE. That is a mistake many people make with personal branding which may cost them being selected for that next job or opportunity.

3) Changing Careers or Branching Out to New Industries

Diversify you job search and branch out into new job markets you may not have considered in your previous job hunting strategies. Pick a career field, any career field and determine if your skills and qualifications would translate into new job opportunities.

That is not to say that you should just apply for the first job opening that presents itself. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. Choose a career field that may benefit from your professional knowledge. Your best option is to look at a small geographic area and determine what employers are within this region. Examine what the area employer’s job positions and the job descriptions they are seeking and compare the qualifications to your resume. A midlife career change into a new industry can appear challenging but rewriting a career change resume and cover letter can quickly expand your employment options.

Examine your strengths. If you are not good with people, do not apply to personnel jobs. If you do not have an aptitude for math, do not apply for engineering or accounting jobs. Choose an industry or career field you know you can succeed in and focus your job search in that field. Perhaps you haven’t found a job yet because you are stretched across too many possible career paths. You may have missed an opportunity while you were wasting your time and applying to jobs that do not suit you. As a job search seems to drag on, it may seem tempting to try to apply for everything, but stay focused on your qualifications and job skills.

Be realistic about the types of jobs you are applying for. Most often when make a career transition into a new job market you will find yourself competing for more junior level positions then you would within your current career field. Changing careers may seem like a step backwards; yet showing potential future employers you are capable of taking on new challenges, have the foresight, and flexibility to expand your skill set across industries can become a strong asset.

4) Use Career Counseling and Career Advice Services

Get some help. If month after month has passed with no job offers or employment prospect you may need some help with your job hunt. You do not want to be put in a position where your financial obligations overtake you focusing on your job search.

Recent college graduates and college alumni can use their college’s career services department. Beyond employment listings and postings, many college career service departments offer interview preparation assistance, resume writing and career advice, and can assist you in choosing a career path. These services are often helpful when you are considering changing careers or at a career transition. Also, many companies seek out students from specific universities, colleges, and specific degree program or departments. A career advisor in the schools career services can connect you with these companies.

Beyond the college or university career services centers, look into what career placement services your local city or county provides. Contact your local chamber of commerce to begin your search for these types of local services. Many of these services are either free of charge or at a minimal fee to local residents.

Depending on your specific situation, consider hiring a professional career advisor or career counselor. A professional career counselor’s job is to help you figure out exactly what you want to do and advise you on how to maximize your resources and qualifications.

Before electing to get a career counselor, do some research on what services the career counseling service provides and what their recent candidate placement success rates are. This way, you will know what to expect as an end result. Will they help you find a career path, provide resume writing advice and interview preparation, placement services, and help you along the way? Do not be afraid to ask for help when the job search seems to be dragging on. Having a career advisor or an independent career service can help you revitalize your job hunt.

5) Is Your Resume Writing Reflective of your Career Objective

Refresh your resume and your professional image. If your job search appears stalled, take this time to review your resume and your overall professional image. This includes your cover letter, professional social media sites such as Linked-In, and your professional references.

If employers have already seen your resume and you have not received any responses back, then this might be your cue to give your resume a second look. Check your resume for spelling mistakes, typos, and poor grammar. Those are a definite turn-off to any potential employer.

Do you think your online resume would pass the 20 second test? Remember that 20 seconds is generally the amount of time an employer will spend looking over your resume. In that time frame, an employer will decide whether or not he or she will call you in for a job interview. If it has been a while since you have been called for any interviews, then this may indicate that your resume does not pass the 20 second test. Some resume writing changes may be necessary. Also, be sure that your resume is aesthetically pleasing and your resume qualifications, education, and experience properly flows together.

6) Using only Top Job Search Engines can Limit Your Career Options

Not all job search websites are created equal. Searching that next job opportunity using online job search engines can distribute your resume to many companies and employment centers. Although, not all job search websites are weighted the same for your professional career field or industry.

Major job websites like Moster.com and CareerBuilder.com are great choices to broadcast your resume skills and qualifications. However, your chances in getting noticed on these online job search sites are low. Thousands of career professionals and job seekers are posting and updating their resumes daily, and in a highly competitive job market, being too general with your career objectives may not result in you landing that job.

Take some time to research what are the best job search sites, specific to your industry or career objectives. If your career field is within the medical industry, look for those web sites that focus specifically on medical jobs or nursing jobs. Expand your career and look for part time job search opportunities to get into a company or organization.

Be focused and specific in your job search and make sure you are looking everywhere. Limiting yourself to just a few major job sites can be disastrous. Many of the jobs you are seeking may not be listed on the common and the most popular job search engines. So, try looking at lesser known job sites, and on industry specific ones. Check your local newspaper daily, especially on Sunday editions. Sometimes a job listing may be printed on only one day in the newspaper.

Keep checking your professional social networking sites and keep your eyes open for mentioning of possible job openings. You might be missing out on great opportunities by limiting your search to one place. If you are unemployed, be sure to tell everyone that you are looking. People talk and word will get around. Your friend’s cousin’s girlfriend may be in the Human Resources department in a company where they are hiring. You could be surprised where you find your next job. Whatever you do, do not stop looking until you find what you are looking for.

7) Revisit your Long Term Career Choices

What long term career planning steps have you considered throughout your professional career. Often times we can become comfortable and somewhat complacent within our chosen occupation after we have met certain education and experience requirements. However, over time we can loose our job security if our skills are not continually up to date or with economic shifts, technology innovations, or company restructuring.

If you find yourself in a position where there does not appear to be any jobs in your career field, they you may consider changing industries. Change can be good, but when you mention changing careers, often people confuse this with more schooling or education, significant changes in their schedule, or starting back at the beginning. While any change may require some retraining or new on the job knowledge, changing careers maybe easier then one would think.

Examine what parallel industries or other careers use your same talents. Seek out career counseling and take several career tests to help you determine what industries you maybe unaware of that use your qualifications. A career counselor can help you with this decision and provide you some inside knowledge on specific career fields. If you do not have a career counselor, then you may want think about who in your local area hire professionals with your skills and list all the things you loved about your old job. Then look for jobs that have those same qualities. You can also look at things you disliked about your old job, and look for jobs that do not have those qualities. Take a reputable personally or career test and consider jobs that work for your personality type.

The worst thing you can do is nothing, especially if you see major changes coming in your career field where your future employment could be effected. A proactive approach can open new doors and provide you with new career opportunities.