Whether you are looking to return to work or jump-start your career, an online job search site - or a combination of several - may be essential to success in today's job market. They can be a resource for finding jobs and valuable leads, as well as tools that help you hone your messaging about you and your skills. The good news is that there are plenty of online job search resources available, but unfortunately, that's also the bad news. How do you know which one is right for you?
The first step is to understand what you want to find, or at least what you need. The industry or industries you'd like to work in, desired job titles, geographic region and desired pay range are just a few factors to consider. It also helps to know your status within your chosen industry: are you entry-level or an experienced pro? If your desired job or industry is highly specialized, you may have to seek out niche job boards targeted specifically to your industry. Finding these resources can be difficult, but a good place to start looking is with professional associations and trade groups for a given industry. If you are unwilling or unable to move, you may have to focused on localized or regional job boards. Local newspaper and radio station websites are a good place to look for these, but looking up local organizations, such as chambers of commerce and workforce development organizations, online and on social media can also produce leads.
OhioMeansJobs.com is the state's official job search website, operated by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, in partnership with Monster.com. It is completely free and allows anyone seeking employment in Ohio to register, search job openings and post résumés. There are about 66,000 openings from more than 2,000 employers throughout the state.
When evaluating a job search site, look for its business model. Ask how they make their money? Where they make their profit can affect the quality of the search results. Sites that charge employers to post their job openings and search job seeker résumés tend to have fewer "junk" postings, but may be limited in the total number of job leads they contain. Generally, job search experts recommend you avoid sites that charge job seekers for access to full search results or to post their résumés. Some sites are aimed at matching "executives" with high-paying jobs, but Forbes Magazine recommends you look for some written guarantees of the quality and exclusivity of the opportunities, as well as references before you pay. Some sites are free for both employers and job seekers, supported by ads or by a government or corporate sponsor. Free doesn't necessarily mean lower quality.
Next, do you know where the site gets its jobs and how it connects job seekers with employers? Many job boards use an aggregator, or software that searches large portions of the Internet to gather job postings from a variety of sources, including other job search sites, corporate websites, trade associations, professional groups and more. These are good because they provide the largest variety of job openings. However, you should not rely on aggregators alone for job leads. In general, boards that contain jobs posted directly by an employer are preferable because you will be dealing directly with the people who can hire you. Some sites allow postings by agencies hired by employers to find quality candidates. This could put you at a competitive disadvantage, and you may be giving up some control over how your information is used.
You also should consider how much interactivity you will have with the site. Once you create an account and post a résumé, what happens next? Does the site provide the ability to save searches and have the results e-mailed to you? Can you edit your résumé and control access to it? Can you store more than one version of your résumé and control who sees which? Can you delete your résumé or your entire account if you decide to no longer use the site?
A good job search does not rely on only one source for job leads. This means using online and offline resources, as well as more than one online source. But, if you decide to register with more than one job bank, be sure you are able to actively manage all your accounts. Can you monitor each regularly and make the same updates to your profile and résumé across all sites? Smartly researching and using a variety of online job resources can help you enhance your current career or start your next one.
Read more Boomerang...