Online job hunting for job-seekers can be a challenge. But, despite the current economic reality, job-seekers should not shy away from taking a creative approach toward their job search. The toughest part is finding an initial approach that works for you.
Generally, people gravitate toward large career databases- like the one at your college or on generic websites such as Monster.com- and conduct one or two searches.
The disadvantage to this approach, however, is that it limits one’s ability to get constant updates about postings and information without having to re-visit the website again. In the meantime, jobs are being posted and taken down- and people are missing those changes.
To remedy this, Google is a potentially great tool. Here are three tools that I’ve found useful:
1. Google Alerts
Never underestimate the power of Google Alerts as a research tool about companies and jobs. If you have a Google Mail account, your alerts can be easily synchronized with your account, and allow you to get all web data pertaining to a keyword at a time interval that is convenient for you. The account, furthermore, automatically groups all of the emails together, making it easier for you to look back on previous alerts. All you have to do to set an alert up is choose a keyword, a medium to search, and your preferred frequency of alerts.
One of the most important things to do is narrowly define your topic or search term in order to prevent it from flooding your inbox. For instance, the term”defense policy and national security jobs” is less likely to overflood your inbox than “policy jobs.” Be prudent in your wording- and experiment to see what works.
At the very best, you will be the first person to see a job posting on a website and it will give you an advantage when you apply. At the very least, you’ll be able to track a company’s progress by getting constant information about it from various sources and news articles- and be able to intelligently talk about the company during interviews.
For more information about setting up Google Alerts, click here.
2. Google Reader
If you are finding that Google Alerts is too broad and time-consuming for your needs, you can limit your scope to specific websites and keywords. This can take form in two ways. On the one hand, some websites have a direct link to career opportunities and RSS feeds that allow you to get job postings as they go up on the website in your Google Reader. On the other hand, you can also do keyword RSS feeds utilizing job database search engines. Here is an example with the popular website SimplyHired.com:
Step 1: Go to the website.
Step 2: Say I am looking for general “policy intern” positions in “Washington, DC.” I type those into the top search button, and pull up the following results.
Step 3: At this point, I can look through the general postings and filter them based on specific companies (see the left bar). However, on the top of the results page, I also see the following two options: ‘receive e-mail alerts’ or ‘view as RSS feed’.
If you are generally satisfied with the results that you got from your search, you can select one of these two options to receive alerts when new jobs or internships are posted that fall under that category. If you decide to select the RSS feed option, you will be taken to this website where you can decide which RSS feed tool you will be using. If you click “Live Bookmarks,” you will see other RSS feed tools, including Google. Select your choice, click “subscribe now,” and you are all set!
The great thing about this tool is that you can still be very general in your keyword search and consolidate that information into your Google Reader account instead of getting constant e-mail alerts. The logic and process is the same as with the alert, but specialized feeds from particular websites make the process less overwhelming.
Keep in mind that SimplyHired is just one of many career websites that you can apply this search strategy to. When it comes to the job search process, it’s better to have a great number of results and still have a manageable amount of information.
For more information about setting up a GoogleReader account, click here.
3. Google Search
This is the most general tool- one that most people have utilized at one point or another. However, unlike the Google Alert and Google Reader, you are not automatically alerted to new postings or opportunities. As a start, it is a very useful tool, but it is important to keep in mind that you could use other strategies to conduct a more thorough job search. If you aren’t already, remember to use quotation marks with key words and other boolean expressions. Here are some tips on to search effectively.
Since most job postings appear online, it is crucial to get yourself familiar with job-searching on the web. The three tools discussed above are just a few examples of how you can use Google to help effectively consolidate and update information.
Any other ideas?