Ready, Set, Job Search

The Pros & Cons and Certain Job Boards and How to Maximize Them

When you are ready to do online job searching, cast a wide net. and are the most popular job boards today. But, do not rule out, ZipRecuiter, and and consider niche sites for unique fields like for tech, for nonprofit jobs, and professional association job boards. Follow key thought leaders, large employers in your area, and other companies of specific interest. There are some positions marketed through LinkedIn posts or advance notice of postings, which can give you a competitive advantage.

Enter your search criteria, which is an art more than a science. Use keywords instead of specific job titles to see more positions. For example, if you are looking for a Senior Software Engineer position, leave off Senior in the search. For a Customer Service Representative role, some companies might use Associate instead, so search using Customer Service. After a while, you will want to set your search parameters only to see positions posted in the past 24 hours or past week because you will have seen all the others if you are looking every day. And, you can further refine your search by level, location, etc. The more filters you apply, the more targeted the results. You will have less to sort through, but you might also miss out on something that did not quite hit all your criteria. In addition to your preferred geographic area(s), consider searching with the location as “remote” as more and more employers are location-agnostic and do not want geography to keep them for reaching the best candidates.

You can like or save positions of interest or apply each time you come across a gem. For most job seekers, the process is step 1) find a job posting, step 2) apply to a job. You are trying not to be most job seekers this time around. Insert an interim step for research. Research the company and the position. For large employers, you can sometimes Google the job title and company name and find the full job description. This helps you see if their use of Director, for example, is compatible with your search of the same word. Or, if Manager in their sense is a people manager, technical manager, or both. Also, search for reviews. Half of you just rolled your eyes.

It is true, few of us turn to to say how much we love our company and it is equally true that many HR people write fake reviews to counterbalance the negative ones. It is human nature that we are more likely to write a negative review than positive. Take what you read with a grain of salt but there are two key benefits to doing this research. First, you can see trends to help form questions in the interview. For example, you might say “I noticed on that several people mentioned a recent reorganization. Can you tell me more about what was driving that change and the organization’s change management processes?”

The second benefit of research is to see trends that might be concerning. If you read that discrimination is prevalent or harassment is tolerated, reconsider applying. Most people who write negative reviews are disgruntled but very, very few will fabricate egregious claims, so those reviews are quite possibly based on at least one person’s experience.

Another great form of research it to see who you might know working for the company you are interested in, or second or third level acquaintances of that company’s staff. It is perfectly acceptable to ask a friend of yours to make an introduction to someone with whom you would like to connect. It is not acceptable to harass them or make them feel like they are working for you in your job search. Ask once, say thank you in advance, and express gratitude if they follow through. Do not ask again as they are busy or there might be another reason for their inactivity. By making an introduction, they are putting their reputation on the line for your networking and job search. They might be hesitant to do that either because they are not in good standing with that individual or they do not believe you are a great representation of their personal brand. This is not advice to over-analyze such a circumstance, rather realize that someone’s inaction might be a form of feedback. A job search can be humbling, and self-awareness is essential. Each time you do not get a position or hit a roadblock, pause, and reflect on whether you were authentically you and your best self, and what you can learn from the experience.

Review company websites to understand their culture and values. Are they aligned with your personal values? You can judge how progressive a company is by how they describe their benefits, for example. A company that lists paid holidays is probably not very cutting edge because in today’s workforce who would join a company that does not pay for holidays, at least for professional roles? any people would be attracted to a role that promotes flexible work arrangements unless you currently work 100% remotely and view “flexible” as more restrictive than what you currently experience. My advice is to do this high-level research before you apply and then do more in-depth research ahead of an interview.