There's an exhaustive supply of advice out there about how to use LinkedIn for your job search. But what about other online tools for landing a job you love? As a professional career coach, I am always on the lookout for innovative approaches that make the most of the Web. Here are my top three ways to expand your job search online beyond the obvious.
1. Kick it old-school with listservs. While it may seem like listservs are a relic of the past -- given they've been around since the late '80s and are not especially high-tech -- they are often one of the best places to hear about job openings. The beauty of listservs is they usually involve professionals in a particular industry or alumni groups that share information under the radar, away from the thousands of people combing large job boards. When someone posts a job to a listserv, they will often let you know if it's for their direct team along with extra background information. I've been on a local New York City listserv for progressive public relations professionals ever since I used to do this type of work. I forwarded one recent job posting to a friend, which quickly turned into an interview after she emailed her application directly to the listserv poster. Another listserv, WIN.NYC (also in Washington, D.C.), has more than 1,000 members on its Google Group and is highly organized in terms of jobs, events and apartment listings. It's an incredible daily source of job openings.
So how do you find the appropriate listserv for your area of interest? It's usually through word of mouth. Talk to a wide range of people in your field of interest and keep asking. If you're looking to move cities, I recommend you talk to or email people who live in that area and see what lists they might be on that you can join. Check your college alumni lists. Not every school has them, but many do, and often they are regional. Don't forget to actually read the listserv emails once you sign up!
2. Find the best curated and specialized online job websites. I'm still amazed when people looking to break into nonprofits or social justice work are not familiar with Idealist.org, the largest job, internship and volunteer board for nonprofits nationally. Whatever your industry, it's important to determine what the specialized job boards are for your field. For higher education jobs nationally, for example, you'll want to look at HigherEdJobs.com and InsideHigherEd. In the tech community, there's Dice.com and GitHub, among others.
When you do find the right website(s), make sure to take advantage of the option to set up a daily or weekly email alert using keywords, the appropriate job level (say, entry versus more experienced) along with functional area (marketing, operations, HR) or other search functions that make sense for you. This way you don't need to remember to go back to the site every day. It requires more work on the front end, like setting up an account and creating a search, but you'll save time and energy later. You can also create a filter so these dump into an email folder for when you are ready to review them. If you're looking to relocate, you'll want to find regional websites that area recruiters are posting to for local talent.
3. Join Meetup.com. When I wanted to explore whether recruiting would be a good career move for me, I asked a recruiter friend how to meet more people in the field. She suggested I join the NY Recruiting Meetup Network. Indeed, I went to a few events and met a variety of in-house and third-party recruiters. Admittedly, when I went to these events, I did meet other jobseekers like myself, which may not prove especially useful or can feel frustrating. However, I think the pros outweigh the cons, and even fellow jobseekers can have contacts and valuable information.
Here's how you might make use of Meetup.com: Say you want to move to Michigan but don't know anyone there and are not sure where to start. Do a quick search on Meetup.com under Detroit, then click "careers and business." You'll find Detroit Urban Sustainability Happy Hour (193 members), Michigan Internet Marketing & Real Estate Investors Club (1,167 members), D-NewTech for those in the startup community (1,392 members) and more. Visit the group and see how active they are along with upcoming event listings. You can also check out profiles of members. Even if you haven't moved to the area yet, you can get a head start by joining these groups to feel part of the community.
These three online tools have generated a lot of success stories for my clients. What tools have you used effectively that may not be obvious?
Michigan is home to countless new stories being told through a growing number of voices. They speak of emerging technologies, along with thousands of IT and engineering jobs just waiting to be filled. Of course, the talk is also about how Michigan is an incredible place to call home. Opportunity is knocking. Open the door to Pure Michigan. Begin your story at mitalent.org.