Gone are the days when filing a job application involved putting ink to paper or hitting the pavement. Now, job hunters take to the Internet, filling out hundreds of applications and following up for interviews and next rounds. With all the different job boards and websites out there, things can get confusing, and sometimes, it’s hard to stand out. We looked into five types of job sites—from big picture sites to personal recruiting sites—and asked the people who work there how to make the most of their services.
With more than 313 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network. This wide membership net can be daunting for job hunters who just don’t know where to start. In my experience, it’s best to make LinkedIn small by seeking out professionals who graduated from your alma mater and live in your current city.
Using the search bar, simply select the “University” tab, type in your school and select “People who studied at (your) university.” Then, use the left sidebar to find, “Location” and type in where you’re looking for a job. Most of the time, you have to hunt for their email, but it’s nothing a little time on Google can’t fix. Use words like “contact,” and “email” in your search.
Next, invite that person out for coffee just to talk about careers in your city. I always add a cheerful, “Go Tigers!” to my emails, as school spirit is sure way to make a genuine connection. Make that message brief and to the point, leave your background for the Starbucks line. Before the meeting, do a bit of background on this person’s company and think of questions that you really want to know about working there. Even take a look at openings so you can be specific, and don’t forget to send a follow-up after the meeting.
Industry Specific: Ed2010
It’s often easier to search for jobs on an industry-specific site full of companies who understand your needs and skills right off the bat. Smart Recruiters compiled a list last April of the “Best 50 Niche Job Boards,” which contains a bevy of job sites solely dedicated to a single industry. It goes from A for Adrants advertising jobs to Y for YouTern, a site that connects emerging talent with dynamic start-ups, non-profits and entrepreneurs. The list even contains sites for candidates with active or current U.S. government security clearances.
As a writer, Ed2010 is one of my favorite journalism job sites because it’s chock full of advice from leaders in my industry and a great source for networking events. The hard part of job hunting for most industries is that the job is typically filled before the position is posted or shortly after. Ed2010 has a page for “Whisper Jobs,” where industry insiders have released information about an opening before the actual publication posts it on their site. This word-of-mouth is nearly impossible to access if you aren’t already linked into the business.
The best way to use the site is to do your research for each application. Your personalized pitch for Every Day with Rachael Ray should look nothing like the one you send to Forbes Media. Typically, the whisper job posting includes an email and a name, so find a way to connect with the person in charge of filling the job and you’ll be a shoo-in.
City Specific: Built In
If you live in a big city like Chicago or LA, using location-specific job sites can be very successful. Built In Chicago is an all-inclusive hub for Chicago’s tech community that connects candidates to start-ups, hosts events and posts local tech company news bulletins. We asked Built In’s CEO, Maria Katris, what sets her site apart from the other online portals. She says, “We cater to the new generation of employees who are looking for a non-corporate job — one that is fulfilling with a great company culture.”
Built In has expanded to Colorado and Los Angeles since launching in 2010, and it’s goal to fill start-ups with talent spans from 5-person offices in a loft in Pilsen to a 500-employee company in the Loop. The open positions also vary from sales and marketing jobs to developer and operations skillsets. Katris says, “Make sure your background is relevant to the job you’re applying for, and if it isn’t, make sure you clearly articulate why you are perfect for the role.”
The local aspect of Built In makes for prime networking opportunities. Katris recommends that candidates attend events, as it’s the best way to to literally get in front of recruiters. Built In Brews is a regularly occurring happy hour for tech talent and a good way to learn about a company in a casual and real-world setting. After you meet recruiters, follow up with them and get creative, referencing a conversation point that came up at the event or a project they’ve worked on. Using the Built In network to get to know a specific recruiter or employee of a company you’re interested in is the best way for them to put a face to a name and fill that spot.
Culture Specific: Job Boards
If The Everygirl culture speaks to you, visit our job board for openings not just within this company but companies to which we relate. We post listings from some of our favorite brands, both big and small. From brand contributors to social media coordinators and Everygirl fall interns, there is a variety of positions in a range of cities.
Take our advice and scour the detailed summaries of each job posting that appeals to you. Be sure to reference The Everygirl in your cover letter and read our careers page for even more tips. While we can’t edit your resume or make follow-up calls for you, we are a well of knowledge when it comes to job hunting, so make the most of it with our career and finance section.
Skillset Specific: 1stGig
A new job site on the scene, 1stGig is just short of hiring an actual human recruiter. We spoke to Katherine Gramann, a brand strategist for the Madison, Wisconsin start-up. She described the site as a career matching service that employs an algorithm to match new graduates with entry level jobs using core criteria that both parties specify. The site is free for new graduates, and as it’s currently in Beta, it’s free for companies to join.
The company’s main purpose is to eliminate the resume process by showing each party exactly how they match up right off the bat. After the match is made, the potential candidate can view the desired attributes for the position and vice versa. Creating a profile on 1stGig takes about 35 minutes, and it feels similar to an online dating questionnaire with examples of why you’re perfect for the job. This means no cover letter, no resume tweaking and no job board scanning. The only matches you get are matches you’re qualified for and that meet the attributes and standards you’ve selected, so revealing a good fit can happen much faster.
Gramann’s advice when creating a profile is to be honest with yourself. Make sure to show what you’re like off-paper and make your best attributes shine. She says, “Potentials have a great opportunity by selecting attributes and providing examples—like they would on a behavioral interview—to convince employers that they’re an even more attractive fit than just the 100 percent match on hard facts already confirms.” To make the most of the site, use examples to back up your skills and build your confidence. Who says you can’t love your first job anyway?