While most jobs are landed via networking, online recruiting and job boards still matter, especially from a talent acquisition perspective for companies, so be smart about it.
Keep Track of Hiring Managers and Recruiters as You Go
A huge component of a successful job search is building a contact database of (and ultimately relationships with) real live human beings who can help you in your quest for a new job (remember, behind those email addresses and Linkedin profiles, there are still real people).
A huge component of a job search is building a contact database of real live human beings who can help you in your quest.
Job boards are one place to find such contacts. After you respond to a job posting which truly interests you, keep track of all contact information for the HR representative listed. If possible, find out what other types of jobs that person recruits for; if you can be helpful by recommending qualified candidates for those roles, your stock will go up.
You’ll find that at large companies in particular, different recruiting managers handle different job functions and/or divisions. Be diligent about keeping a list of all the people you contact via online job postings, as well as the dates on which you contacted them. Sometimes, companies will list just an anonymous email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Other times, however, you’ll get lucky and find a direct email address, either for an internal hiring manager or an outside recruiter. Just don’t use someone’s email address as one more place to dump a generic resume; keep your communications relevant to the recipients’ needs.
Diversify or Die
Job hunting is an investment. And just like when you’re managing your investment portfolio, with job hunting you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t spend all your efforts pursuing a single company, don’t keep tabs on only one job board, and don’t work with only one recruiter. While you need to stay focused as you hunt, you can’t know what to focus on unless you expose yourself to a broad range of options and then hone in on the ones that match your skill set. As a general rule, to get to a single warm lead, you need to apply to approximately 20 jobs — that’s a 5 percent response rate. You can increase that percentage by being extremely targeted or by upping the number of jobs you apply to. Just remember that there are diminishing returns as you go beyond your capabilities and industry.
This need to expand your search also applies to the ways you conduct the search. Linkedin and job boards have revolutionized the way we hunt, but don’t let those methods come at the expense of tried and true methods. No amount of emailing, InMailing, or job board perusal can replace talking to someone at a cocktail party about your work and your passions. Your list of contacts may now be the contacts app on your iPhone, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
The best first step to navigating job boards is to set up Indeed Job Alerts. Indeed has a fantastic little tool that sends you regular updates about only the companies and job titles that you’re interested in. Indeed isn’t a job board; rather, it’s an aggregator that scours tons of job boards, covering 94 percent of global GDP. If a job comes up on a board somewhere, Indeed will find it.
2. If you’re a member of TheLadders, they have a feature that allows you to size up the competition and see the resumes of the other people applying for the jobs you’re interested in. This is a massively useful tool that literally will give you a leg up on your competition.
3. Keep track of the companies you’re interested in. You can follow them on LinkedIn, but make a separate bookmarks folder in your browser for just this purpose. Save each company’s “Careers” page and check them often. Many times, jobs will appear on their internal page before being published to a job board.
Earlier, we gave you a template for a job search Excel file. Go back and add these fields to that sheet. Feel free to customize the spreadsheet to suit your job search needs.
Thanks to the Internet, you can browse hundreds of jobs in a single day, and your competition for any given job could easily number in the thousands. Stay focused when you’re hunting, keep track of the key players (hiring managers, HR people, recruiters), and stay diversified. And always keep your competition in mind.
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