Don’t be fooled by how easy it is to apply for jobs online. According to a USNews article, only 15% of jobs are filled through job boards. As I have discussed in other posts, you are one of hundreds of applicants hitting the “APPLY NOW” button on any given application. That may seem like a good enough reason to ditch applying online altogether, but don’t let that stop you from leveraging the information available to you for free.
Instead of focusing on online job boards for submitting applications and getting interviews, try using them in a few slightly different ways. Here are 3 unexpected ways online job boards can help you in your hunt.
Strategy #1: A fast way to form your target company list
Job boards are a great aggregator of information. It’s much easier to identify lots of job openings quickly through portals than going company by company and viewing their “careers” page. Open up Google Drive and make a spreadsheet of open positions you may be interested in based off of what you see on the job boards.
When creating your spreadsheet, make sure to include:
- Company Name
- Web Developer
- Contact Name
- Jordan Shaffer
- Contact Email
- Contact Phone
- Employee Reviews (1-5)
- My Ranking (1-10)
Having a strategic plan in place before you start applying will save you time in the long run. Pay special attention into finding multiple contacts at each of these companies, preferably those who you will be working with when/if you do get hired. Remember, “More than 70 percent of people land jobs through networking” – Hannah Morgan of Career Sherpa.
You may even want to make a list of companies with postings for jobs that are not quite what you’re looking for. Even if they aren’t hiring for your dream position today, by having a master list of your target companies, you can easily remember which businesses to check up on and network with throughout your hunt.
Strategy #2: Your source for insider information
In addition to your typical job portals, there are sites like Glassdoor.com that go beyond job listings and provide self-reported salary information and employer reviews by real employees. Use this information to your advantage:
Narrowing down your search — You don’t want to work for a company that is hated by the vast majority of its employees. Look for red flags among the reviews. There will always be “squeaky wheels” but looking through a few reviews will quickly show some trends, whether positive or negative. Sometimes you might find a company is even more loved and respected than you thought, bumping them up higher on your list even if the pay isn’t best in class.
Follow your passion — The jobs section is the bread and butter of all online job search portals. I personally appreciate the design of Glassdoor’s job searching platform, as it reads well and lists similar companies with related positions on the side bar as you scroll through each job posting. This allows you to save a job description for later, see employee reviews, ratings, etc all on the same page. Well done, Glassdoor, well done.
Knowing your worth — Glassdoor is a great resource to gut-check your salary expectations. You may be aiming for a figure that is a bit higher (or lower) than the market rate. Use this information when negotiating an offer toward the end of the process. If you know the market rate for your role is far higher than the offer, and that the company typically pays employees a salary that’s inline with the market rate, don’t be afraid to speak up!
Know what to expect — One of the reasons Glassdoor is a must have resource for jobseekers is it even goes into details about what to expect when you are interviewing at that company. This covers topics such as what kinds of questions past employees had to answer in their interviews, how many interviews they had to go through before they got hired, how to best communicate with the interviewer, and much more. You need to create a free account to access this information.
Explore perks of the job — If you’re like me, you’ve at one point or another experience work-life balance issues with past companies, limited PTO, or worse yet expensive health benefit packages. With the benefits tool you can explore past and current employee’s take on company’s benefit plans. This includes benefits such as vacation and paid time off, 401k plan, employee discounts, and much more.
See what you get — One of the ways Glassdoor exceeds other online job boards is it’s ability to view company photos. From company outings to a day in the life of a aircraft and software certification engineer, photos tell a meaningful story and peels back the curtain behind prospective companies. This allows you to get a glimpse of the company culture before you even apply.
Strategy #3: Your keyword “thesaurus”
Job portals house a lot of information—thousands of companies, a myriad of job postings, and countless job description bullets. Use this to your advantage. You may not be aware of differing terms used in your industry for your dream job. Some companies may refer to “content marketing specialists” by terms like “social content manager” or “content wizard.” Write down the different terms you see to open up your search to new companies. Leave no stone unturned! In addition, you can identify the keywords that tend to pop over and over in the job descriptions to optimize your resume. Of course, they should always be tailored to the listing, but starting with the top terms will save you time and effort further down the line.
Wrapping it up
I hope you found these strategies helpful, as they have definitely helped me in my past job searches. If you still aren’t getting much traction in your search, check out my free job search course here.
Job portals are excellent tools for researching and developing a game plan for your job searching strategy. Don’t use them to randomly fire off applications, as that will get you no where, FAST. Instead, use online job boards as one of the most valuable tools in your job hunting toolkit.
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