What Are the Most Effective Job Sites, and Are They Enough?

All job sites are definitely not created equal; some are much more effective than others. The information on these sites can help you find out who is hiring, what those companies are looking for and what their work environments are like. But they are just the beginning of the job search process. When you have a list of places and positions you’re interested in, the real fun begins! More on that in a bit.

Reviews.com

First, let’s take a look at a summary of a Reviews.com article that lists the best websites for job seekers. Then we’ll discuss what to do once you’ve found the jobs that interest you. Reviews.com is an independent research company that spent six weeks evaluating job sites to determine which ones are most effective for a productive job search. A summary follows; their free, in-depth review can be found here. And thanks to the folks at Reviews.com for sharing this information.

Job Site Reviews

Glassdoor

With an average of 22 new posts per day, Glassdoor is by far the most active website for job seekers. However, Glassdoor is much more than a recruitment website; it allows companies to establish profiles containing detailed information about salaries as well as reviews from past and current employees.

Users don’t need to create an account to search for jobs, but the benefits of signing up are well worth a few seconds of your time. Many employer profiles contain a “Why Work for Us?” section, which lets companies upload photos and videos that showcase their work environment. Glassdoor also has a handy mobile app containing all of the same features found on the website.

Indeed

Sometimes less is more, which is the philosophy behind Indeed’s bare-bones approach to job hunting. The website is simply a search engine for jobs, but it is the most comprehensive of its kind. Indeed is second only to Glassdoor in terms of frequency of postings. Employers appreciate Indeed because posting jobs doesn’t cost anything.

One advantage Indeed offers that Glassdoor doesn’t is a wealth of search filters. You can sort through opportunities based on industry, salary, experience requirements, and more. Indeed also features a salary calculator that uses data collected from previous employees. This can be extremely helpful when it comes to negotiating a salary.

LinkedIn

While LinkedIn isn’t known for having an abundance of job postings, the professional networking website is where most recruiters now look to find qualified candidates. A 2015 survey found that more than half of employers use social media profiles as part of their screening process, which is why you should be careful about what you post online.

Don’t think of your LinkedIn profile as an online resume; customize it to sell yourself as a professional. Participate in discussion forums and take advantage of the messaging feature to make contacts who might eventually help you get your foot in the door.

Honorable Mentions

In addition to recommending niche job sites for individual industries, Reviews.com found the following services to be helpful for some job seekers.

JobisJob: For those looking for jobs all around the globe, JobisJob features a geographic hot spot tool that identifies regions where job markets are thriving.

Dice: For those looking for STEM jobs, specifically in the industries of technology, financial services, and health care.

MediaBistro: Useful for freelancer writers and other professionals looking for work in journalism, advertising, marketing, or PR.

Snagajob: Useful for individuals seeking part-time work and hourly jobs.

Next, the Real Fun Begins: Using Rapid Relationship and Trust Building to Land the Job You Want

Submitting applications through job sites is a great way to start. But if that’s all you do, you may as well be tossing your resume into the void. Studies have revealed that most employers spend only a few seconds looking at resumes when they have hundreds of applicants before them. Submitting your application and just waiting to hear back is a recipe for failure. “For every one person hired through an online job application program, 12 are hired by an internal referral,” claims Steve Dalton, program director for Daytime Career Services at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He adds, “The literal information you find in online job postings is not that helpful, but the information that the postings suggest is very helpful.”

The best approach for maximizing your job search is to begin with job sites and then move into what I call rapid relationship and trust building to gain traction in the field you target. In my book Job Quest: How to Become the Insider Who Gets Hired, I spell out how to create the connections that give you a tremendous advantage when it comes to landing jobs. I explain how to create personal relationships with those known and trusted by the workplace, and how that can open the doors.

In my book, I break the process down into a series of concrete, easy-to-follow steps using a game approach and an analogy to a medieval quest to help you understand what to look for and how to move forward in your search. I explain what luck has to do with it (and how to create your own), how to prepare for the quest, how to get around the resume-blocking gatekeepers (the dragons who guard the hiring managers), how to find key people to connect with (your knights and wizards), what to say once you connect with them, how to continue building your connections, how to interview, when to start using the word “job,” when to go for the close, and how to give back to your connections.

Feel free to read more about this process here, and read an excerpt of the first chapter, The Insider Advantage, here.

How to Network Without “Using” People

“I’ve been searching for a job for six months and I know I need to know someone to get hired. So I am contacting you because I want a job at your company. Can you introduce me to people over there?”

Many job seekers realize that there is an advantage to being introduced to a workplace by someone inside or trusted by that workplace. It is true that when an inside person recommends you for a job, your chances of actually getting hired are much better. How much better? Employee referrals are the top source of internal hiring: almost 60% compared to about 40% for external sources for hiring. Of the internal sources for hiring, 61% are employee referred and 26% come through the company website. Those applicants coming through the company website may be alerted by an inside contact that there is a job posting. Once that applicant comes through the company website portal, an insider can often do a lot to shepherd the resume to the person in charge of hiring.

interview

But what many job seekers do not understand well is that the way you get that introduction and the way that person talks about you to people in the workplace makes a tremendous difference. Contacting someone you do not know and asking for an introduction from them does not help you. It can actually work against you.

When you contact a person who is not a good friend of yours and ask them to introduce you, you are putting them on the spot. How can they say good things about you if they really do not know you?

A good endorsement consists of six elements. The person:

  1. has met you in person
  2. likes you
  3. knows your work
  4. knows your work ethic or knows you from another context like a sports activity or association where you have made a positive impression
  5. knows someone inside the workplace you are hoping to interview with
  6. is willing to vouch for you

Even if you cannot get all six elements, aim for the following: the person has gotten to know you, likes you, knows someone inside the workplace, and is willing to endorse you. With these, you can often get an insider advantage. An endorsement is crucial. But the person introducing you to the workplace needs to have some basis for saying good things about you. Accosting people via LinkedIn is not the way to get that support.

These days LinkedIn is being used as a springboard for this kind of assaultive networking. And it’s not just LinkedIn. One of my friends mentioned that she was contacted by a young woman job seeker who she knew only distantly because she was a friend of a friend. This job seeker was having a terrible time finding a job in the industry. She said:

“I can’t get a job and I have been looking for six months. I see your workplace has a job posting. Could you put in a good word for me?”

My friend told me that she felt offended and “used” by that request. How could she endorse someone she really does not know? How can she tell her workplace to take a close look at someone who might turn out to be a bad hire? My friend felt that this request unfairly put her on the spot. She told the job seeker she would do what she could to help, but then she did nothing because she had no idea how to vouch for someone she did not know.

How could this job seeker have done it differently and earned an endorsement?

The answer has to do with the way you create a good relationship and the way trust is developed. Good networking is all about relationship building, and good relationships are built in person. Not only do you want to meet in person, but you want to be likable when you meet in person. The way to do this might be to set something up with the insider such as a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee. Sometimes you can start by interacting with the person in a setting like an association meeting or an event in which you have a mutual interest. There can be a certain amount of plotting or engineering to meet with someone who could be helpful, but if you are a genuine friend when you meet with them, and you ask for the other person to advise you and brainstorm with you rather than asking them for a job, the person will be far more likely to support your candidacy for a position at their workplace.

True friendship is the goal, whether or not you get a job. And to that end you want to give people gifts that help them have better lives. You can give them gifts of information, like a link to an article of interest, or gifts of support, like help and connection with other people, or possibly small tangible gifts like a book or tickets to a show. These are all part of being a good friend to someone else. And they should come from an authentic interest in the other person that goes beyond you getting a job.

When I asked my friend what the job seeker could have done differently to earn her endorsement, my friend said, “She could have volunteered to help our nonprofit with a program we are going to have which would have actually given her the chance to meet many of the people on the hiring team. That would be a way to show she really cares about our mission. Or she could have asked me to join her for lunch or coffee. If I had the chance to get to know her, I might have put in a good word for her.”

So networkers take note. There is a right way and a wrong way to connect with people inside the workplace you are trying to approach. Utilize rapid relationship and trust building which I talk about in my book, Job Quest: How to Become the Insider Who Gets Hired, to improve your chances of getting those all important endorsements.

Networking Strategies: Making Connections (Part II)

In the previous blog post, we reviewed some tips on how to make the most of your networking opportunities. Here are a few more.

networkingSmall Talk

Small talk is one of those things that you know you need to do but that many people dread. Yet it is essential for success in the professional world. Technical skills and knowledge account for about fifteen percent of the reason you get a job, keep a job, or move up, but eighty five percent of job success has to do with people skills. One key people skill is the ability to engage in small talk. Learning ways to engage others in conversation helps to create a zone of comfort with another person, and helps to create friendship and trust. And just like a sport, you can get better at it if you practice and understand how to improve your game.

The first goal is to engage with another person and create a zone of comfort. Start with openers, which are little phrases or interactive verbal tidbits:

  • “Hi, how are you doing?” “How are you enjoying the conference/ party/ meeting?” “What did you think of the speaker?”
  • “Hi, —–, it’s good to see you again. How have you been? Have you done any interesting traveling lately? I remember hearing you were going to go to Chile to kayak. Did you ever do that?”
  • “Hi, is this your first time coming to this conference/ seminar?“

What openers do is open the door to a more extensive conversation in a way that is comfortable for both people. They are innocuous comments that are open-ended and general, allowing the other person to say something in return that can lead to a fuller conversation. This is one of the reasons that people start by talking about the weather. It is a universal concern for everyone, especially if the weather is bad, because it forms an immediate common bond. “Was your plane on time? Was it delayed because of the storm?” Other common bonds for people at a conference are usually linked to information that helps others: good break-out sessions to attend, good speakers, good places to go for dinner, interesting sights in the city where the conference is held, problems with the hotel (e.g., a broken elevator or a problem accessing the workout facility), or good information about a special service or event (e.g., “Did you know the hotel has a tea time every day in the lobby and the food is great!”).

Be a Giver and a Connector

As you are talking with people you meet at networking events, think of them as new friends, and try to think of ways to make their life a little better. See if you can find ways to give back, because that really helps not only them but you as well. How can you give back? Little gifts of information, connection, support, promotion, and help go a long way to creating and cementing a good relationship.

A gift of information could be a link to an article that might be interesting to a person you got to know at an event. For example, let’s imagine that you have a shared interest: in sustainable foods, in a baseball team, or in traveling to Japan. If you have read an article, blog, or book that was interesting to you on this topic, your new friend might also find it interesting. When you get the opportunity, send an email mentioning how much you enjoyed chatting at the conference, and include the link to the book or article. Try to do that within a day or two of your return.

A gift of connection is an introduction of one person you know to this new person you just met. When you connect people, it helps them, but you also benefit. For example, when I went to a conference of career services providers called the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), I went to a talk by an author who had written an interesting book (Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks by Grover Cleveland). After the talk I introduced myself and we had a fun time talking about where he works and how he developed the concepts for his book. I shared information about my book as well. Then I mentioned that the woman who was the president of NALP this year, Charlotte Wager of Jenner and Block, was a friend of mine. I thought she would really like to know about his book because she helps young associates do better at her firm as part of her professional development responsibilities. Grover was eager to meet Charlotte and I sent an email to both of them to introduce them to each other. A few months later the three of us decided to put together a presentation for next year’s NALP conference. We worked on it together. It turned out to be a terrific presentation and also deepened our friendship.

A gift of support is listening to someone and affirming them. That is something that is all too rare these days. It is a true gift.

A gift of promotion can happen if you are involved in an organization and can offer the person you just met the chance to be a speaker or write an article for a magazine. This can be great for building brand and name recognition.

A gift of help is one where you lend a hand to a project that this person is involved in. These are often non-profit endeavors. For example, you could volunteer to be a judge for the high school moot court competition that your new friend organizes to help students prepare for law school.

Finally, you can give small tangible gifts. A book with a note from you in the flyleaf, thanking the person for spending the time to talk with you, is always a nice idea.

Silence the Inner Critic

Many people who have trouble making connections with others have a harsh inner voice that whispers negative or critical things as they are trying to have a conversation. It would be as if you were trying to play basketball or tennis, but your coach was in your ear putting you down and making discouraging comments. If your inner coach is not supportive, it will be very hard for you to have a positive interaction with someone you just met. How can you stop that harsh inner voice from interfering with your game?

First, listen to the way you talk to yourself. Try to capture the messages you are giving yourself. Are you thinking “I cannot do this,” “This makes me feel nervous and vulnerable,” “I feel afraid that I will make a mistake,” or “I am not good at small talk?” Negative messages come in a lot of varieties. They often originate with a parent or teacher and end up becoming internalized. Most successful people have to have at least a mini-version of the inner critic in order to become successful, reminding yourself to work harder or study more. That kind of thinking is valuable because we prompt ourselves to do better. However, the inner critic can get out of hand with harsh, negative messages that interfere with success. Nowhere do I see this more than when a person is shy or anxious interacting in social settings. Once you understand that your harsh inner critic is interfering with your success, it becomes easier to retrain your inner critic and tame the negative voice.

When you catch yourself delivering a negative message, have a “conversation” with your inner critic. Push back with logic and positive messages. “The only way I will ever get better at this game is to do it and to support myself.” “I have done tough things before and gotten better at it. I can do that again.” “This is going to get easier when I practice it so I have to practice it.”

Finally, reward yourself. Give yourself a gift for having done something difficult, challenging, and outside of your comfort zone. Do you have a favorite Netflix series you can watch as a reward? Do you have a favorite candy? Do you want to buy yourself a small gift? Do it! You earned a reward.

Networking Strategies: Making Connections (Part I)

Networking events and other corporate gatherings are great settings for making critical connections. But if you struggle with how to interact with a roomful of strangers, the following tips will help you make the most of these opportunities.

People NetworkingCome to the Event or Meeting with an Agenda and the Right Mindset

When you are going to a meeting, an affinity group, or an event, if you have a goal in mind, it works better. The goal might be something like: “I will talk with five people here and get to know what they do, where they work, and who they work with.” If you achieve your goal, you can develop greater confidence.

Another goal might be to meet the speaker and have a brief conversation after the presentation with the hope of setting up a longer conversation at a later date. An additional goal might be to see if you want to join the group on a more permanent basis for ongoing networking purposes.

It is also important to have the right mindset. The best attitude to have is this one: “You never know what can happen. Maybe I will meet my next best friend or maybe I will learn something that will make a difference in my ability to change jobs, or find clients.” When people adopt an adventurous attitude they do a lot better when they network. Mindset is everything.

Come to the Event or Meeting Having Done Some Reading on the Topic

When you study up on the topic that is being addressed at the meeting, you will have interesting things to say that add to the conversation! For example, when I went to a conference of career service providers a few years ago, I could see from the brochure that one of the topics for a presentation was whether the following advice is good or bad: “Do what you love and the rest will follow.” Before going to the conference, I read some interesting blogs on that topic and thought about my own reactions to those blogs. Thanks to that preparation, I was able to have more interesting conversations with others who attended that particular talk. I did the same thing with each of the break-out group topics that I signed up to attend.

Learn About the People who Will Be Presenting

If you know the backgrounds and some of the interests of the people at the event you are attending, it will be easier to enrich the conversation. This includes the speakers. For example, once I was speaking on a book tour at a Philadelphia law firm. One of the people in the audience came up to me after the talk and said, “I really enjoyed your remarks, and I saw on your LinkedIn profile that you were a prosecutor in Philadelphia when Ed Rendell was the District Attorney. I actually worked with Rendell when he became the governor of Pennsylvania!” What followed was a lively conversation that would not have happened without that person’s prior research.

Listen Well and Draw the Person Out

The best conversationalists are ones who ask questions, listen well, and follow up with questions that draw the other person out. Sometimes it helps if you think of yourself as an investigative reporter trying to get a story. The story could be the person’s background; you could find out why the person is here and what he or she is getting out of the conference.

Very often the reason people have trouble networking is that they are they are self-focused rather than other-focused. If you are worried about how you are coming across to others, or if you find yourself feeling shy or uncertain, check your thinking. Most likely you are thinking about how you are coming across, instead of focusing on the other person. Change the channel. Don’t think about yourself. Listen to others instead; find out their story.

It is often helpful to realize that you are not the only one feeling this way. Many others are also feeling some degree of nervousness or insecurity. Try to put them at ease. You can even imagine that this is your house or apartment and you have invited them over to chat, and you want them to feel welcome and comfortable.

If There Is a Group, Start with a Person on the Outskirts

If you are entering a room and there are a number of groups engaged in conversation, the best approach is to identify a person on the outskirts of one of the groups. Walk over to that person and put out your hand to shake hands. No one will not shake your hand! Then start the conversation with an opener, draw him or her out, and be curious, following up with questions. Use the ideas above to guide you into a deeper conversation.

Know How to Extricate Yourself from the Conversation

Once you enter into a conversation it can be hard to remove yourself from it. Sometimes it seems rude to leave the other person, so you stay and stay. But if you do that, you limit your networking potential. There are ways to extricate yourself from a conversation. Start by saying how much you have enjoyed meeting and talking with this person, and that you now are going to try to meet a few more people, or connect with another friend who may be here. Then say you hope your paths will cross again. Ask for the person’s card and give your card to him or her. Finally, say that you hope he or she enjoys the rest of the conference. If you are both going to attend a talk, then mention that, or make a plan to sit together. For example, “It’s been great talking with you. I wish we could keep talking but I need to look for a friend of mine who said he would be here. I hope our paths will cross again. Do you have a card? Here is my card too. I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference and I will look for you at the break out session tomorrow.”

Learn How to Think About People Who Are Disengaged or Distracted

People networking in conference settings can be put off by other people they meet who seem to be distracted, disengaged, or inattentive. These people tend to look over your shoulder to see if there is someone else they want to talk with, leaving you feeling unimportant. Perhaps they have a plan to meet someone else, or they have a specific agenda of their own, or they do not know how to network effectively and are uncomfortable themselves trying to talk with people they have not met before. How should you handle this kind of situation? The best way to think about it is to understand that it is not your fault, and to move on. Don’t take it personally. Try to find people you will be able to connect with more successfully.

Know What To Do About a Dominator

There are people who take center stage, suck up all the air, dominate a group, and keep other people from talking. They tend to be loud, and often interrupt. You might find that you are not getting a chance to talk because the dominator has the floor and is keeping all the attention. If you have a good point to make, try to jump in and share your ideas before you abandon the group; you might be surprised to discover that you can get into some fun conversations if you speak up. However, if you have tried, and the attempts are not working, then the best solution is to move on and find another person or group to interact with.

In the next blog post, we’ll discuss additional tips for making the most of your networking opportunities.

It’s Who You Don’t Know … YET

Everyone knows that when it comes to getting a job, it’s who you know. Right? Actually, think again. After counseling and coaching and watching hundreds of successful job searches in my counseling practice, I’d say it’s who you don’t know … YET that matters just as much or more.

When you look for a job using an interpersonal or networking approach, which is still the most productive and effective way for job seekers to find opportunities, you start the search with people you know well in your industry, or with a group of people who are connected to the work neighborhood in which you are trying to find opportunities. If there is low hanging fruit, a job that is known to be open and needs to be filled, and your skillset matches well, it’s true that you might get very lucky very quickly in your search. By asking people in your immediate group of professional connections about jobs they have heard about, you could learn about this opportunity, come to the attention of the workplace through a trusted contact, and land your next job quickly.

But in the experience of my job-seeking clients, it is often the third, fourth, or fifth person they connect with who tells them about the opportunity that is coming up soon at a workplace, or that needs to be filled but there is no posting yet, or that is not even advertised because the need is there but the workplace has not yet posted a position. There is a reason for this.

It is estimated that 80% of jobs are not advertised. To find them you have to go on a hunt. As you talk with friends and friends of friends, especially if you talk with them in the right way, and you are in the right realm where your skills are in demand, by interacting with the third, fourth, or fifth person, going from one trusted contact to another, you are enlarging the range of possibilities to uncover workplaces that could use your help. Some may be advertised, others may not yet be advertised, and still others may never be advertised. There may never be a posting, or there might be a bogus posting, a job posted online to satisfy protocol but the hire is already decided.

When you engage in a process I term “rapid relationship and trust building,” which I describe in my book Job Quest: How to Become the Insider Who Gets Hired, you are setting up a series of vetting meetings with key people who will brainstorm with you. As long as you use the right messaging to open the conversation, you can gain critical insights into the market, work neighborhood, or realm where you are searching. As you work your search, engaging in long gossipy rumor-filled conversations with people in your industry, you will hear about opportunities. This company has a large project that will start in the fall. Another company is expanding rapidly. A law firm just lost a group of partners and associates who moved to a different firm and now that original firm needs to staff up with new people to fill the gap. A friend of a friend tells you that someone with your same skillset who works at her company will be leaving soon to move to another state. Still another person you learn about is pregnant and has told your mutual friend that she will not be coming back, but the company does not know that yet. All of this is good gossip that may lead to opportunities for you.

In the process of talking with many people in the target industry, you also create friendships and trust relationships with a wider group of people who will say good things about you in the grapevine where employers hunt. This is where they find people to hire who are endorsed by people they trust such as current staff. If you are helpful as you network with people in your industry, and you are generous and give back to people who help you to advance your market knowledge, you will rapidly increase the sheer number of possibilities for job opportunities.

You can improve that likelihood even more if you treat everyone you interact with as a genuine new and valued friend, and give back to them. What do you give? Gifts of information, connection, support, and help are appreciated by most people and cost you nothing other than some time. When people recognize that you are a good person, someone they would like to work with or have on their team, they are more likely to informally endorse you to others in the realm, including people in positions to hire or influence the people who hire.

All of this adds up to a greater likelihood of landing a job. We know that 70% of jobs are found by networking. And good networking includes this process of vetting meetings, brainstorming, and giving back to others.

But what about the idea that it’s WHO you know that gets you hired? In other words, Daddy or Mommy has connections and pulls the strings to land you the job, or calls in a favor to get you hired. Isn’t that the real meaning of the phrase “It’s who you know”?

Well, maybe that is the real meaning, but the reality today is different. Okay, you might land a job because Mommy or Daddy pulled the strings, but you won’t keep a job if you are bad at it. Most legitimate workplaces do not like to hire only as a favor, although they will give a candidate a second look as a favor to see if the skills of the candidate match up with their needs. Few workplaces want to waste good money on poor risks. I have occasionally seen people get hired because of a favor, but I have also seen those same people stifled in those jobs because they were nothing more than placeholder positions, not challenging or skill-enhancing jobs.

In addition, if you land a job because of the clout of a powerful person, that process doesn’t do anything positive for your own self-esteem and self-worth. Gaming the system turns out to be as bad for you as it is for the workplace.

When it comes to getting a job by networking, it is often those people you don’t know … yet who will open the door to the job that furthers your career.