Now that my blog is up and running, my portfolio is populated, and my resume is (almost) updated, I only have a few more tasks for my “personal branding” project. I still need to create a personal logo and business cards. However, I think it is time to start compiling lists of possible jobs so that I can start applying as soon as everything is ready.
Since I needed a post for today, I decided to briefly discuss some of the locations where I find job possibilities. I will point out the sites I use most as well as some tips and warnings associated with each.
Disclaimer: I’m not exactly what anyone would call “experienced” in job hunting. These are the methods I use and the things I’ve learned in my brief time job hunting (~8 months). Caveat emptor! If you see any misinformation, please let me know via e-mail or the comments.
Craigslist, Indeed, Dice, Linkedin, and MetroChicagoJobs after the cut.
Even though there are a great number of… er… questionable things on Craigslist, I’ve found that it is still a very good source for jobs, especially in a big city like Chicago. The three jobs I am most interested in pursuing at the moment were all posted on Craigslist.
If you decide to look on Craigslist for your job search, be sure to make sure you search both in the specific category(ies) of the job type you want (writing/editing in my case) and in the all jobs category. All jobs contains every job listed, regardless of category, so you might find something interesting outside your specific category. For Chicago, I only give all jobs a quick skim once a day because a large city produces TONS of jobs. This list will definitely give me alternate options outside my field if I can’t find anything within three or so months.
Warning: Watch for scams! As with all things on the Internet, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many of the so-called jobs listed on Craigslist are nothing more than ways for companies to farm your e-mail address, phone number, and other contact info. Before giving out your personal information, always try to make sure the job/company is legitimate, either by finding its Web site/Linkedin, or by sending an e-mail asking for more information.
Indeed.com aggregates the jobs postings of several job boards into one convenient location. The upside of this is you only have to look at this single board to find many, many jobs. The downside is that there are tons of jobs to search through. Personally, I look back through all of the relevant jobs from the past month or so (longer than that, and the company has generally either filled the position or created a new job listing) the first time, and then I look every day only at jobs posted within the previous 12-48 hours or so. This cuts down on the sheer number of job postings available on this site.
This is a site where it’s very important to know the proper keywords related to the job you want. I perform at least four searches: writing, technical writing, editing, and technical editing. Between these four, I find more than enough jobs for a busy day of sending out resumes and writing cover letters. If those searches don’t turn up anything useful, I can also use documentation, instructional writing, marketing, etc. Be sure to always research the keywords appropriate to the field in which you want to work (the Google Adwords tool is great for this).
Warning: Registering for, and posting your resume on, indeed–or any job board–can result in your e-mail box being spammed by search results and recruiter e-mails. You can cut down on the search result spam by turning off daily job alerts and reducing the number of search terms specified. Note that doing so may decrease your chances of finding that perfect job.
Also, many bogus, often outsourced, “recruitment agencies” will attempt to contact you and have you apply through their agency. One recent example from my inbox has a subject like, “<Company Name> is interested in you!” and the body clarifies that the job search terms matched the keywords in the company’s job posting, and <Bogus Recruiter’s Name> would so very much LOVE to help me apply.
These types of e-mails are most likely used to either farm your contact information (much like the Craigslist scams, above), or “help” you land a job for a cut of your income. When you see a job you are interested in, always attempt to apply through the company’s Web site or in person, if possible. If you cannot apply directly, then at least attempt to contact the company directly in some way. This way, you will not be forced to give up a portion of each paycheck to one of these “recruiters.”
Legitimate recruiters may contact you, but they most likely will not use a form e-mail. These recruiters will often work for a contracting firm (such firms in my field include ProEdit, CreativeCircle, Kforce, and Aerotek). If you have doubts, call or e-mail them (and/or check out their Web site or LinkedIn profile) to make sure they are legitimate before you give them any more contact information or make any agreements.
(The above information about recruiters was compiled from a discussion among seasoned technical communicators on the TechWhirl E-mail Discussion List. Thanks, guys!)
Dice.com is a job board specifically for technical and scientific job postings. Much like indeed, this board allows you to use search terms to find job postings and set up daily job search result e-mails. However, because the job postings on Dice are limited to tech jobs, the level of spam generated tends to be greatly reduced compared to indeed, Monster.com, or other job boards. Dice also allows you to browse tech jobs by companies like Microsoft, IBM, Google, and a whole slew of others. Also like indeed and other job boards, you can post your resume so that recruiters can find you. The same warnings apply here–always make sure a recruitment agency or company is legit before giving them any information.
Dice also offers blogs and links with some of the latest news related to technology companies. Finally, this job board has something called the Dice Talent Network, which lets you “connect directly with recruiting decisionmakers.” It sounds pretty similar to Linkedin, but with a heavier emphasis on job searching and recruitment, rather than straight networking. However, I cannot figure out how to access this service, so maybe that’s a topic for a future blog post.
Linkedin is one of the most valuable job tools there is. It allows you to post your resume with as much detail as you want (as opposed to a paper resume, where you’re limited to whatever fits on 1-2 pages), highlight specific skills, post status updates and links relevant to your job search, list achievements and awards, request recommendations from prior employers, and much more. In addition, this site allows you to network with current and former classmates, coworkers, employers, and teachers, as well as create connections with prospective companies.
In addition to simply posting your resume, which will allow recruiters to locate you, Linkedin also allows you to search for jobs in a number of different ways. First, you can directly use the search function. Second, you can join groups related to your field or type of job you are interested in. Jobs are often posted to these groups, and I’m told that the more active you are in groups (and on Linkedin in general), the more likely you are to turn up in search results. Finally, you can search directly for companies, many of which post job openings directly on their Linkedin profiles.
Always keep your Linkedin profile up to date. Also, make as many contacts as you can. The larger your network, the more likely you will be able to connect with somebody in a company you want to work for.
Warning: Unless you know somebody from a current or prior job/school/project/etc., or if they are not within your personal network (which I think means they have to be a 2nd level connection?), you will not be able to connect with them without having their e-mail address. This helps prevent spam and false connections, but it can be very frustrating if you find, for instance, a recruiter at a company you want to work for, but with whom you aren’t able to connect. Also, if you pay for one of Linkedin’s premium plans, I believe you can send “Inmail” to people not within your network. I am actually considering this course of action if I find more recruiters I can’t connect with. I’d love some feedback if anyone has used this service at all.
I saw a commercial for MetroChicagoJobs on TV, so I decided to look into it. It’s a job board specific to the Chicago area. In addition to letting you post your resume and search based on keywords, you can also browse open jobs by Chicago companies. One particularly useful feature is a calendar that lists local employment-related events, such as job fairs. I haven’t used this site much, but it looks promising.
What job search boards and services do you use? If you know of any good ones not listed here, or if you have any advice for me and other job hunters, please post in the comments!