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The Best Online Resources For Finding & Applying for Jobs

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January 25th, 2018

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September 19, 2018 - 1:57pm

The Best Online Resources for Job Seekers Series - Part One

In this first of a six-part series on The Best Online Resources for Job Seekers, we recommend our top picks for finding published openings online, as well as free and fee-based tools for ensuring you put your best resume forward when applying online.  
 

Best Sources of Published Openings

Our top picks as sources for job leads are Indeed and recently launched "Google for Jobs". 

Job boards like CareerBuilder and Monster were the dominant players in the early days. More recently, ZipRecruiter has emerged as a significant player, but job boards have largely been overshadowed by “job aggregators” (also known as job search engines) such as Indeed and Simplyhired. These 'one-stop shops' allow you to search multiple job sites with a single query, including CareerBuilder and Monster.
 
 
Glassdoor made a name as a destination for anonymous comments and salary information from employees. Now Glassdoor and LinkedIn provide job listings as well. It's worth mentioning that all of these sites allow job seekers to create an online profile, allowing them to be found by recruiters and hiring managers who have not posted a position, but who are sourcing an opening. LinkedIn is the only site we’re aware of that provides the name of a contact for each job posting. You’ll find that most online listings do not provide this valuable information. I'll say more about Glassdoor and LinkedIn in Part Three of this series. To be clear, Indeed and Google for Jobs do not appear (at the time of writing) to include postings from Glassdoor and LinkedIn.

Indeed

As the dominant player in job search engines, Indeed spiders thousands of websites including job boards, third-party recruiters, professional and industry websites and employer career sites. You can:
  • Enter job titles and zip codes to find jobs by location
  • Filter results by salary estimate, location, experience level, job type or company (see screenshot below) 
  • Leverage Indeed's ‘Advanced Search’ feature to find jobs using more complex ‘Boolean’ keyword searches to exclude unwanted terms or add options such as contract, full-time, part-time, etc
  • Save jobs, re-run previous queries and set up email alerts 
  • View a detailed description of each job posting and "easily apply" via Indeed, or by visiting the site where the position originated, to submit an application
  • Upload your resume and make it public or private 
  • View JobTrends by job category
Example Indeed Job Search Results
 

Google for Jobs

Google has recently launched its entry into the job search engine space and is anticipated to be formidable competition for Indeed. As we would expect, Google for Jobs provides an elegant interface that streamlines the search process through selecting category, title, location, date posted, type, company type or employer filter tags. Job bookmarking and email alerts are always helpful, and Google for Jobs provides added information features, such as competitive salary information (also just added by Indeed), and multiple application choices for jobs that are listed on multiple sources.
 
Note that Indeed does not allow Google to spider its jobs, so both search engines are worth using, even though some duplicate job postings will be found.
 
Google for Jobs example screenshotTo launch Google for Jobs:
  • Go to Google.com
  • Enter a search query as you would any other search. E.g. Project manager jobs in NYC
  • In the search results, look for the window with the "Jobs" excerpt (shown right)
  • Click the blue bar to launch the Google for Jobs interface, shown below.
 
Example Google Job Search Results
 

Man with clipboard frowiningImportant Disclaimer

It’s easy to explore ‘online classified’ systems and conclude this is as good as it gets. But with the advent of the ultimate classified job listings came a new reality. The ease of finding job postings means more applicants and more competition. HR departments are deluged with resumes for every position and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) that sort, filter and find best matches. This results in an environment where just filling out an application is no guarantee of an interview. So, once you have identified a job to apply for, the work of applying begins.

Best Tools to Get to the Top of the Resume Pile

Keyword Analysis and Resume Customization Tools 

You will likely run into online application forms to fill out once you apply online, but most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) are designed to scan a resume that you upload. The ATS reads your resume and assigns a score, based on pre-assigned required keywords. The top 5% of applicants (or less) will be considered for an initial screening interview. Those resumes not appearing in the top results are unlikely to be ever read by a person.

Conclusion: when a ‘perfect’ applicant fails to get a high enough ATS score, he/she is eliminated from consideration out of the gate.

To make sure your resume appears in the top search results:
  • Match the requirements of the job description, as defined by relevant keywords that symbolize your hard and soft skills
  • Customize every resume (and accompanying cover letter) for each applicationkeyword finder magnifying glass

Our top picks as sources in this category are two free tools - WordCounter and TagCrowd and two subscription resources - Resunate and JobScan.

Two free tools to analyze job descriptions and identify the most important keywords are WordCounter and TagCrowd. These are easy-to-use options to measure word frequency, which is an important consideration when trying to maximize your ATS scores. Repeated words are the first factor to look at when compiling your list of keywords. WordCounter gives you the actual counts, and TagCrowd provides a ‘cloud’ image, which is helpful as a visual reference tool when customizing your resume.

WordCounter

TagCrowd

WordCounter screenshot TagCrowd screenshot
 
When first analyzing a job description, it is important to break down word ‘frequency’. What words are repeated in the description, and how many times? As a general rule, you want your resume to repeat those same words at least the same amount of times. WordCounter breaks down the word roots, so I typically like to copy the results into a Word document, so I can edit them. With ‘word cloud’ systems like TagCrowd, the most frequently used words show up in a larger font, which makes for an effective quick reference while you are customizing your resume.

Resume Building Tools

Our top picks as sources for resume building tools are Resunate, Jobscan, and Resume Assistant.  

There are a variety of ‘resume builder’ options for those who are willing to pay. Resunate and Jobscan have been out for a while, and are pretty widely known. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, but both are worth exploring since you can trial them both free of charge before committing to a subscription.

Resunate

Jobscan

Resunate will build a resume for you based on the job description you put in, but it will always produce a PDF – though some ATS systems only accept Word documents.
 
Resunate’s JobFocus Score and Content Suggestion functions can provide worthwhile input to inform the customization process, but the editor is limited. Although Word has it’s limits, I prefer to customize the resume myself in Word, then Save As a PDF if necessary.
Jobscan compares your resume with the keywords in specific job descriptions and generates a detailed keyword report in which it makes very specific recommendations for how to improve your resume. You can also scan your LinkedIn profile.
 
Jobscan even goes so far as to suggest other jobs you could apply for, depending on how good of a fit you are for the job posting you analyzed. Keep in mind that neither of these tools will generate a cover letter, which is also very important when applying.
 
A subscription to Resunate ranges from $24.99 per month to $49.95 per month, depending on how long you commit to the service. There's a free trial option with no requirement to supply your payment information. Jobscan subscriptions range from $30 per month to $49.95 per month. You can scan a limited number of times for free, which is a great way to kick the tires.
While these tools are focused on applications, there are other uses for a resume besides applying for a posted position and I'll say more about this in a future post.

Resume Assistant

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 generated all kinds of speculation, but the release of Resume Assistant took many career professionals by surprise. A tool that integrates LinkedIn with Word makes sense in so many ways, especially considering that so many ATSs require Word documents. Microsoft rolled Resume Assistant out in late 2017 for Office 365 users. In this clip, you'll get an idea of the powerful features this integration offers. 
 
 
Key features of Resume Assistant include:
  • Links to LinkedIn job openings with information on their requirements. Your resume can be customized for a specific role, with the ability to apply directly via Word
  • Market demand data for related skills
  • Comparative professional experience filtered by industry and role
  • Links to ProFinder, LinkedIn's freelance marketplace 
As with all the tools we discuss here, Resume Assistant is no panacea. The fact that it only links to job listings on LinkedIn is a significant limitation. If subsequent releases were to include links to Indeed and Google for Jobs, that would certainly make it more of a universally applicable tool for applications.

Final Thoughts

As you explore the resources in this post, there are two important questions to ask yourself:
  1. How will you turn what is a reactive activity into a proactive one? Applying for jobs after they have been published is a reactive approach to finding your next opportunity. It puts most job seekers in a highly competitive pool, where the best candidate for the job does not always get selected and the majority of applicants will never hear back after submitting an application. Once you have identified a good fit, filling out applications is only the beginning of what job seekers can do to find work. In the coming posts in this series, we'll explore approaches that will help you to be successful in your search.
     
  2. Is a contract, consulting or short-term gig an option? Don't discount these opportunities. The freelance workforce is growing faster than the traditional workforce and contingent workers now constitute a growing share of the labor market. A position that you may have discounted because it's not full-time and permanent may turn into a better opportunity. Plus, you have the opportunity to assess an employer and a role before you commit to it, just as employers are doing. 

Recommended Reading and References


AJO Career Coach - Mike BallardMike Ballard is an AJO Career Coach & Trainer with 10 years experience providing career transition consulting services to 1,900+ professionals in transition, including C-Level executives, program and project managers, sales managers & account reps, IT, software developers, technicians, engineers, insurance & administrators. Mike specializes in helping job seekers understand hiring technologies and developing effective career marketing strategies to find the right job and employer.