In fact, some internet-driven job search methods are far more effective than others.
Some, including the most popular, aren’t a great use of your time – at least until you’ve worked hard on all the others. So start with No. 1 on this list, then go through all the options.
Depending on your career goals some will work better for you than others. But don’t ignore any of them. And don’t spend more than 20% of your valuable time on any one of them. In other words: diversify your online job search!
No one wants to read this advice, but networking is the quickest way to a new job. Networking doesn’t mean attending events in big rooms full of strangers! Networking means staying in touch with people you know and meeting new people. I’ve seen people connect with new jobs at a funeral, and they also connect at football games or over coffee with friends.
You are five (5) times more likely to be hired if you have been referred by an employee than if you apply without knowing anyone. Employers really prefer to hire someone known to a current employee than a complete stranger off the street.
Connecting with people at your target employers or choosing to work for an employer because you already have friends or family who work there is the most effective method of landing a new job.
2. Employer Websites
Visiting your target employers’ websites and finding the jobs online there is a clear option. Often, you will find a link to “Current Jobs” on the home page. Sometimes, the link to job postings is labelled “Careers.” While you are on the employer’s website, you may be able to sign up to have new jobs sent to you.
Check out the employers’ sites so you are familiar with what they do (products, services, senior management, locations, etc.), and use that information you collect in your interactions with the employer.
LinkedIn is currently the most powerful and effective professional social network. The site also has job postings (see the “jobs” link below the search bar at the top of every page). Also, check out the Jobs tab in LinkedIn Groups (you can join up to 100), and the company profile pages for your target employers.
LinkedIn is one of the best online venues for connecting with people who work at your target employers (and who worked there in the past). Use it to vet the employer, too. You can also find job postings and employer/company pages which provide you with information about the company.
Use LinkedIn to connect with people who attended the same schools you have attended, even if you didn’t attend the schools at the same time. Alumni networks can be very powerful. Search for people working at your target employers who attended the same school you attended. That’s a starting point for expanding your network and finding jobs online.
4. Job Aggregators
The aggregators are powerful and very useful, including sites like Indeed.com, which is the largest source of job postings in the world, aggregated (collected) from employer websites, job boards, association websites, publications, and more. Indeed and the other aggregators like LinkUp.com show you job listings you probably wouldn’t find otherwise.
When you click on a job listing, the link takes you to the job source which can be an employer, a job board, another website, or another source of jobs online. Jobs posted on craigslist sites aren’t usually included in an aggregator’s site unless the employer cross-posts the job.
5. Social Media
Social media is a powerful way to connect with jobs online. Unfortunately, not done well or done without concern for your online reputation, social media can ruin opportunities for you, too. But, ignoring social media, particularly LinkedIn, is not optional for most professions and locations.
In addition to LinkedIn, job postings are available on both Facebook and Twitter. Many employers have Facebook pages for both marketing and, often, also for recruiting. Employers are increasingly posting jobs on Facebook.
In Twitter, follow your target employers’ Twitter accounts for news and look for a Twitter account for jobs online, too.
6. Job Boards
Job boards are still very popular, but, as employers have increased their recruiting on their own websites and as the aggregators have made those jobs online more visible, the general job boards are perhaps not as effective as they once were. Look for niche boards like Dice.com (for IT) and Idealist.org (for nonprofits).
Be careful to avoid the imitation/scam job boards that exist to collect your personal information but offer you no benefit.
7. Recruiters, Staffing Firms, & Head Hunters
Recruiters are the traffic cops in the process of hiring people. They can help or hurt you, and several different kinds of recruiters exist. The important thing to remember is that they work for employers, not for job seekers.
8. Classified Ads
Online classified ads, particularly on sites like Craigslist.org, can be very effective for job search because they are very low cost to use, and free in many locations. That low cost attracts small employers who can’t easily post jobs on their own websites. But, do be cautious! Because the price of posting is very low or nonexistent, scams are posted.
9. Associations and Alumni Groups
Associations and school alumni groups are very effective for networking, and often their websites have job postings for members. If you have worked for an employer in the past, look for an “alumni group” for that employer.
You’ll find many ways to connect with other alumni — both school and corporate — in LinkedIn Groups.
Google has many hidden talents plus excellent tools for finding job postings as well as helping you with your job search in many other ways.
This is a list of the top sources of jobs online, roughly in order of the number of job postings available.
Do remember the job postings may not be your quickest way to a new job.
Be Careful When Searching for Jobs Online!
When conducting an online job search, be sure to keep in mind that many scams are published on all job posting sources. So, you need to be relatively cautious and skeptical about applying for jobs online.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Job-Hunt.org!
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.