If you have ever taken a look at your browser and seen it filled with windows for each job search engine you want to check out, it may have caused information overload. Thankfully, there are ways to get information from the web and the myriad sites that can help you find a job without feeling like you’re juggling it all.
The first step is to make a list of sites to help you find a job. General search engines like Monster, SimplyHired, Careerbuilder and Indeed are great choices, as are some of the regional Craigslist sites. Also add local newspapers as well as any sites from professional organizations in your field. For example, those looking for positions in public relations or the media would benefit from the Public Relations Society of America and Mediabistro.com.
Once you have this list, you may have upwards of 20 sites, especially if you don’t want to limit your search to one geographic region. That’s okay; you won’t need to go to all of them to make this work out and to cut down on the amount of time.
The major online job boards allow you ways to cut down on the number of jobs that you wish to see. You can limit search based on location, job type (part-time, full-time, contract), years of experience and even salary. Taking full advantage of these can cut down on the number of jobs that you look at each day by 90 to 95 percent. Another great step is to filter by words that appear in job ads you don’t want to apply to. For example, a new teacher looking to work in a high school can use the minus sign to exclude phrases like “school-age” or “toddler” to limit the number of pre-school teaching positions that show up.
Many of these same sites allow you to receive job alerts. Rather than logging on to the site each time you want to check new listings, you’ll have them e-mailed to you. While that can seem like it’s easy to review, you’ll still have to open up each e-mail and scan the headlines, then click through to the job posting. To that, we say RSS.
We’re not speaking Greek, RSS is a way of organizing articles or texts online that allows them to be read and disseminated rapidly without the use of websites. They’re also perfect for job hunting, and you don’t have to be a technical genius.
Google and other mail services offer the ability to read RSS feeds in services like iGoogle, and most mail software like Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird offer the same capability. All you need to do is find the orange RSS link on a job site page, copy it, and then paste the link where the RSS reader asks you to add feeds. Now, rather than having to go to each page, the job listings will come up in a single location, looking exactly like your mail. You don’t have to deal with formatting or other issues.
You may not like it, and choose to go back to e-mail alerts or other techniques. But we guarantee that if you’re looking to peruse hundreds of listings a day, targeting your search and developing a system will cut the time in half, if not more.
by John Sylo