Job boards are not the holy grail. Yes, applying online should be part of your job search strategy. The key word of the sentence being “part.”
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is relying on online job postings to find a job.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of sitting at the computer responding to job postings. For one thing, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. You can do it at home wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt while watching TV.
At the end of the day, knowing you’ve applied to 20 jobs, gives you a sense of accomplishment.
The truth is, focusing on job boards isn’t the best use of your time.
It’s more effective to have a multi pronged approach.
At the start of your job search make a list of 10 employers you’d like to work for. These are your Target Employers. Contact your network to see who might have a connection for you. Set up Google alerts for each of them. Review job postings on their websites, at least once a week.
As a former recruiter, I can say that every job I was working was listed on the companies site. The only exceptions were “confidential” postings, i.e. when someone was being replaced without their knowledge.
Work Your Contacts
When it comes to working your contacts be sure to go beyond sending out a message through LinkedIn. Ask friends, family, and former colleagues who they might know at a particular company. You might find your Aunt’s friend’s daughter works for your first choice.
Contact your college or university Alumni association for help. They may provide you with contact information or even reach out on your behalf. Most alumnus are happy to help someone who attended the same school.
For most of us, attending networking events isn’t easy. We have to get dressed, get out of the house, and maybe walk into a room of strangers. Then we have to strike up a conversation with someone we don’t know.
But, meeting people face-to-face is an essential part of a successful job search process.
If you’re actively looking for a job, strive to attend 1 event a week.
There are plenty of networking opportunities to choose from.
Industry Events – Most organizations have local chapters who meet once a month September to June. Generally, the events are dinner and a speaker which provide the opportunity to meet people and even learn something.
Alumni Activities – From Homecoming to holiday gatherings, most universities have events throughout the year. Put a few on your calendar and go!
Job Seeker Groups – Don’t discount groups because many of the folks attending are unemployed. It’s a great place to exchange leads and recruiter connections.
Non-Business Groups – Every community has networking groups. Search online and/or in your local paper to find them. Try Meetup.com.
When it comes to networking, anyplace that gives you the opportunity to meet new people and/or deepen relationships is great. Just remember this secret to networking success.
For many, meeting people online is less intimidating than meeting them in person. It’s something else you can do sitting in front of the computer in yoga pants and a t-shirt. Even while watching TV.
It’s a great way to connect with recruiters and people who work for your target companies.
Start with LinkedIn groups. There are dozens of job seeker groups where you can get advice and meet career professionals and others looking for jobs.
If you don’t already have one, set up a Twitter account. Follow recruiters, career professionals, and thought leaders in your industry. Interact with them via Tweets and try taking part in a Twitter chat.
Another place you might meet people is on the Facebook pages of your target employers. Internal recruiters at some companies have been known to hang out there.
Nurture and deepen your online connections by taking the conversation offline with a call or, if possible, an in-person meeting. I’ve developed several close friendships that way.
There’s nothing wrong with spending part of your day applying for jobs online. People do find jobs that way. I have.
The important thing is not to focus on job boards to the exclusion of all else. As with any goal, you need to have a multifaceted strategy. Try to attend 1 networking event a week. Spend some time each day networking online. Ask people you know to help you reach your target employers. You never know who knows who.