Best Online Resources for Your Job Search

I debated today’s topic for a while, yesterday. Résumé’s would be the obvious next step. However, I’m going to save that for another week. Today, I want to talk about the websites that are crucial to any and all job searches. This list applies to everyone from the high school graduate to the 50-something trying to return to the workforce.

I preface this by saying it is a general list. Depending on where you are in life and what field you are interested in, there may be other methods on and off-line that you should use to find a job.

1.  Indeed.com

Indeed is the number one job search engine I have found on the internet. I don’t care who you are or what types of jobs you are looking for, you must use this site. Use it to its fullest potential and make an account.

An Indeed account mostly involves creating an online résumé. Fill it out as completely as possible. This is not like Facebook, where everyone can see you information, Instead, Indeed has a handy feature where you can apply for a job with the press of a button. This speeds up the application process exponentially. The website also has a ‘Apply with LinkedIn’ button. Fill in your first and last name, address and all other information you are asked for.

The greatest thing about Indeed is that it works like a master job listing search engine. I admit, I’m not 100% sure how it works, but I can tell you this from experience. When you apply for a job through Indeed, the site might take you to the employer’s website, another job search engine like Career Builder or have you apply directly through Indeed. This makes me think the search engine pulls job listings from all over the internet.

I had the greatest success in my job search by using Indeed. It has the most job listings of any site I’ve ever been to and provides many ways to apply. There is even an app. I got the job I have today by hitting the ‘Apply with Indeed’ button on the Indeed app.

2. LinkedIn

I mentioned that you can apply for a job through Indeed with a LinkedIn account. This alone makes it crucial. The website is best described as Facebook for business professionals and networking. This is not the place to connect to your bestest friend from high school (poor grammar intentional). This is the place to connect with people who can help you in the job search. I admit, I do have a number of college friends on LinkedIn. There are many reasons for this, which can be summed up by saying they experienced my work and skill during college. The same can be said for certain professors I am connected to. If someone who knows someone who know that college friend posts a job ad, being connected to that person may give me an advantage.

You can also use LinkedIn to apply for jobs. What I like most about using LinkedIn to search for jobs is the automated emails you can create. If you want, you can save a search and request to have an email sent to you when a new listing fitting your criteria is posted.

This photo, “LinkedIn Centipede Participants in the 2010 ING Bay to Breakers” is copyright (c) 2014 A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The LinkedIn profile is again like an online résumé, only much more complex. You can keep it simple if you want, but there are a number of apps you can add to show off rewards, interests and causes you support. In addition, you can ask people to recommend you. Instead of having a list of references employers need to call, people can review your experience on your profile. Don’t worry about this causing damage. None of those comments are ever posted on your profile without approval.

Like Indeed, make sure you completely fill out your profile. The only difference is that LinkedIn is more of a social network, so it’s not the place to post your address. What really separates LinkedIn from Indeed is that potential employers can also search for you. To this day, I get about one email a month asking if I am interested in a job. LinkedIn is not only a place to find jobs. It is a place where jobs can also find you.

3. Search for area-specific job listing sites

These are different for everyone and, I would argue, not as important and Indeed and LinkedIn. That said, it is very important to have your information listed on sites specific to your area. Whether you are going into journalism, teaching or engineering, there are websites out there specifically for you. There won’t be as many job listings to go through, but being there increases the chances someone involved in your area will find you.

4. Career Builder

Career Builder is specifically useful if you are looking for an entry-level job. There are some jobs that need more experience on there, but I mostly see internships and entry-level positions when I’m use the site. It’s a good place to be a member to and gives you the option to apply to similar jobs with the click of a button after applying to one. Career Builder is still not nearly as important as Indeed, but it’s a good companion site to be a member of.

5. Twitter/Facebook (optional)

Twitter is far more useful than Facebook, but both are optional because you will gain more from the other sites. Via Twitter, you can follow those who are specifically dedicated to listing jobs in your area and communicate with businesses. Twitter is more public than Facebook, so posting a question to a business you want to work for provides a marketing opportunity for them.  There is no problem with tweeting “@jobIreallywant I’d love to work for you. Keep me in mind when you post a new job (link to online résumé here)”

I follow an account specifically dedicated to Chicago area jobs and Chicago media jobs. Twitter may be less personalized, but it has the potential to inform you about jobs just as they are posted.

Facebook, on the other hand, is much more simple. Keep your profile clean of anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Un-tag yourself in anything you don’t want to be associated with. Lastly, don’t be afraid to post a link to your Indeed résumé every now and then on Facebook. You don’t know who some of your friends might be connected to. Throwing your résumé on Facebook is just one more way in which you can put yourself out there.

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Obviously, many of these sites involve creating a résumé. Next week, I will write about how to create a killer résumé that is sure to grab attention. Until then, what websites have you used in the past to find a job? How would you rate those sites?

Disclaimer: I am not a job or career expert. Most of the above is based off of my own experience and the advice I've given to friends and family. I write these posts because I noticed my advice made a 
difference for those that took it and I hope that you can too. If possible, I highly recommend taking some for of career preparation class. A lot of this information is based on what I learned through the Career Leadership Academy at the University of Iowa and it was a huge benefit to my job search after graduation.
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