job search

How to Get Started With Recruitment Marketing

By Oscar Waterworth

It was not so long ago when talented people went out to find suitable employment by proving to employers just how great their potential is. Nowadays, employers have to compete in order to attract the attention of talented people and give compelling offers that will interest the best candidates enough to work for an organization.

Recruitment marketing is a way to promote a company's culture and story in order to let talent know that working there has many perks and benefits. It involves creative and innovative ideas for winning over talent and qualified employees. Here are a few tips on how to get started with recruitment marketing.

Tell Your Story

Talented recruits need to know why they should they join your organization and what kind of benefits will they have if they work for your company. They need a compelling reason to share their talent with your company and kick off their career with you. That is why it is important to tell your company's story the best way possible and convince potential employees that they have a bright future waiting for them in your organization.

Your company needs to formulate a strong message that will capture the attention of those who are actively searching for employment and those who are still passive and indecisive. It is a good idea to closely work with your HR department on creating a campaign and choosing effective strategies that will provide the best results when it comes to recruitment marketing. Together with your HR, you can create a recruitment persona that will reflect on what kind of people and skills your organization needs in order to target specific audience.

Involve Other Members of Your Team

 In order to create an awesome recruitment marketing strategy you should enlist the aid of your existing members of the team. For instance, HR is already helping you to create a message and a recruitment persona, now ask the marketing team to come up strategies that will help you deliver the message to recruits and interest them as much as they would interest customers into buying something.

Do not hesitate to involve your team into helping you out. After all, they are good at what they do and they can also shift their skills to create recruitment marketing strategy that is just effective as a product marketing strategy.

Leverage Content Marketing for Recruitment

Content marketing has always been an effective way to attract customers and capture the interest of viewers. Content is also a good way to reach out to recruits and spark their interest as well. Promoting content for recruits is pretty much the same as promoting to customers, with few adjustments of course.

You can use your company's website to promote recruitment content or manage a different website or a blog with a specific purpose of attracting recruits. It is important to remember that your blog has to have good performance, otherwise viewers will leave. You can host your recruitment blog separately or use shared hosting with other blogs, which is more economical. Regardless, a website or a blog will be the hub for your recruitment content and it must serve a purpose of promoting your company's story and culture that will hold the interest of recruits.

When it comes to recruitment content, you should make sure it contains in-depth information about your organization such as working benefits, career opportunities, career advancement etc. You should also involve your employee's personal experiences and reviews to help you boost the impact on viewers. Transparency and creativity will speak for your company's legitimacy and potential employees will have a detailed view into your company's culture - which in turn, will make them feel closer to your organization and hopefully help them decide to join you.

Recruitment marketing is very similar to product marketing. The only difference is that you are not trying to convince people to buy something, but rather join your company. Recruitment marketing involves leveraging content, social media marketing and other strategies, with a slightly different approach.

Oscar Waterworth is a writer and a senior editor at Bizzmarkblog. He frequently blogs about the latest developments in the tech, marketing, and business industries. To stay updated with Oscar’s latest posts, you can follow him on Twitter.

Is it Time to Ditch the Cover Letter?

By Stephanie Hammerwold

Whenever I have a friend who is in the middle of applying for jobs, I hear the inevitable grumbling about cover letters. I don’t blame them—whenever I have done a job search I find myself complaining about such things.  Studies show that the average time that a recruiter spends on a resume is a measly six seconds. With such a small amount of time spent on a resume, is the cover letter getting any attention? After over a decade in HR, many years of which included reviewing applications, I think it is time to bid farewell to the cover letter.

What Recruiters & Hiring Managers Look at in Applications

Filling out an application, creating a resume and writing a cover letter can be very time consuming. When a piece of paper or information on a screen must fill in for making a good first impression, the stakes are high, which can be a stressful situation for even the most seasoned professional. The questions I hear most often are, “What does a potential employer want to see?” and “What should I include on my resume?”

I must admit that I am not surprised by the six-second statistic. When I screened applications and resume, I always start with a quick scan. I was most interested in seeing what someone’s work history was and if it was relevant to the job. If there was enough there to pique my interest, I would spend much more time on the resume and read it in detail before making a decision on scheduling an interview. You may have noticed here that I am talking about the resume and not the cover letter. That’s because the cover letter was often the last thing I read.

The reason for this is simple: there is very little information in a cover letter that cannot be gleaned from a good resume. This is my biggest argument for ditching the cover letter. Conventional wisdom on cover letters was that the letter should point a recruiter or hiring manager toward the highlights of your resume. But if your resume is well organized, you should not need directions in your cover letter, right?

Changing the Application Process

Employers, it is time that we all agree to stop asking for cover letters. Let’s let resumes and job applications speak for themselves. While we are on the subject of unnecessary steps in the application process, many companies seem to ask candidates to jump through hoops to apply for a job. This is a good reminder for employees to review their process and to determine which steps are unnecessary.

Applying for employment can feel like a full-time job itself. Many applications ask for a cover letter and include pre-employment questions. Perhaps it is time to remove those things from the first stage of the application process. Consider starting off with a basic application that asks for just enough information to help decide if a candidate is worth pursuing. If they are, then ask them to provide additional information. This saves an applicant from wasting time completing unnecessary application materials and keeps employers from having to read through excessive text. When reviewing your application process, ask yourself if the information you are soliciting is necessary to make an initial decision on a candidate. If it is not, remove it from the application.

If there are additional questions you want to ask beyond work history and experience, consider moving them later in the process so that only candidates who are moving on to the phone screen or interview have to provide additional information. This helps to focus your screening on only the relevant information.

Some Final Advice to Job Seekers

Job seekers reading this may be tempted to stop sending in cover letters, but do not abandon them so quickly. Make sure to read all the instructions an employer provides before applying. The application process is not a good place to stage a cover letter protest. If a potential employer requires a cover letter, draft something concise that highlights some of your accomplishments and explains in a few sentences why you are the ideal candidate for the job. If you do end up getting hired and, better yet, get hired into a supervisory position or something in HR, spend some time making the case for getting rid of the cover letter once you have put in some time at your new company.

Using Recruitment Marketing to Attract the Best Candidates

By Oscar Waterworth

It is no longer sufficient or acceptable for recruiters to simply put up a job advertisement and hope for the best. Regardless of how great (you think) your organization is or how many people are trying to get in, you are unlikely to attract the best possible candidate and even less likely to attract the best possible field of candidates from which to choose without having engaged in recruitment marketing.

For a variety of reasons, the balance of power in recruitment has shifted from employers to potential employees. Candidates - particularly young and educated ones with no dependants - are no longer desperate for stable work and are willing to wait a long time before committing to a full-time, permanent job.

On the flipside, they are not willing to spend a long time in that job if it doesn't suit them – this has made recruitment a very particular and complicated science that is not just about finding the most impressive candidate, but the right candidate and convincing them that their organization is worth committing to.

It also means that the candidate search is not limited to the unemployed – it means attracting the best talent regardless of whether they are employed, unemployed, underemployed, interstate, overseas or even retired! It means targeting the "passive" job market and catching the biggest fish out of the biggest possible pond.

How do You Attract Candidates Who are not Even Looking for Work?

As mentioned above, in order to give yourself the best chance of attracting the best possible candidate you need to cast the web as wide as possible. This means more than just advertising a “position vacant” on as many mediums as possible, and in fact it means more than just advertising a position at all. This means a constant and consistent marketing campaign of your company or organization as an employer, rather than just a goods/services provider.

As such, the search for the ideal candidate doesn't begin once a position becomes vacant – it should have already been occurring in the form of brand development as an employer. It should have been occurring on various mediums, whether exclusively online or on traditional media as well (depending on your organization's budget).

If you are a software development firm, you want all software developers to know that you exist and you want them to know how great conditions in your office are – you want a video of your office to pop up on their Facebook feed, complete with classy footage of your existing staff happily brainstorming on beanbags, sipping on fresh lattes from your state of the art coffee machine!

Your organization may not match this description, but you can certainly find competitive advantages of your workplace (whether this is the location, the conditions or any other factors) and find a way to highlight these to prospective employees.

Developing a Reputation as an Employer of Choice

Most HR departments, although great at their core business, are not equipped to conduct the kind of full-scale recruitment marketing campaigns that are required to stay competitive in the talent market. If this is the case in your organization, it is highly recommended that you engage the services of brand developers.

Brand developers are able to build up the kind of reputation your organization needs to catch the biggest fish through a comprehensive process including content marketing and analytics. Recruitment marketing has become a science in itself, which a company neglects at its own peril.

You may know that you are a great employer, your existing employees may know that their conditions are great and this may be outlined in great detail in your job advert – but nobody knows this except the active unemployed job seeker. And even then, only IF they are using the same channels in their job search that you've advertised on. To avoid the risk of missing out on the best possible candidates (as we speak!), make sure you have a recruitment marketing campaign in place sooner rather than later.

Oscar Waterworth is a writer and a senior editor at Bizzmarkblog. He frequently blogs about the latest developments in the tech, marketing, and business industries. To stay updated with Oscar’s latest posts, you can follow him on Twitter.

HR Hammer Interview: Rathin Sinha of JobFindah

There are numerous benefits to having a diverse workforce. Not only have diverse teams been shown to perform better and appeal to a wider customer base, but it is the right thing to do. Ensuring that hiring brings in a variety of people helps bring in multiple perspectives, which can improve the overall success of a business. Rathin Sinha founded JobFindah, a job board committed to helping connect employers committed to diversity to job seekers. I recently spoke with Rathin to learn more about his site and to find out what makes his platform different from traditional job boards.

Tell me about your background and why you decided to found JobFindah.

Prior to JobFindah Network (JFN), I developed America’s Job Exchange (AJE) and led its growth until AJE was acquired and integrated with Time Warner Cable. Previously, I built and ran the e-commerce channels for, which became perhaps the largest online sales channel for our industry. Earlier, I had stints as a CMO, Head of strategy, marketing, e-Commerce and a strategy consultant for Fortune 500 companies.

I decided to launch JobFindah to carry on the original vision of AJE that couldn’t be carried out as the new owners were weathering the affects of consolidation in the cable industry. Consequently they had no appetite for investment in a non-core business such as AJE other than harvesting it for profits. We, on the other hand, wanted to build a modern platform that solves the challenges of talent acquisition within the context of regulatory compliance. Customers kept telling us that they wanted a solution that is not confined to merely checking the box for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) compliance, but a solution that truly helps them find great talent, enhance diversity and also fulfill the requirements of the OFCCP regulations. JobFindah is built with that vision in mind--an aspiration to serve the broader needs of our customers beyond just compliance.

What makes JobFindah different than traditional job boards?

Unlike traditional job boards that merely offer recruiters online real estate for posting jobs and then leaving them "praying" for applicant response, JobFindah offers a systemic approach through our "Attract-Reach-Manage" framework. We focus on attracting applicants to employer job postings using job boards and employer branding. This allows us toreach applicants through a diverse set of partnerships and job distribution technology while also managing the compliance process through mandated outreach, reporting and analytics capabilities. Helping businesses with their OFCCP compliance and reporting is a core expertise of ours, but so is the focus on applicant delivery. JobFindah offers a broad set of products and solutions so businesses can optimize their strategy based on goals and budget.

How does your service help companies improve their hiring practices and contribute to a more diverse and inclusive workforce?

We help companies attract general talent through job postings on our flagship job site, as well as through our community specific sites for the veterans, women and individuals with disabilities (and more in the pipeline). We help them create branded micro-sites to communicate their culture of equal opportunity and inclusiveness via social media to engage with a diverse set of talent communities. To improve effectiveness in hiring from the under-represented groups, we help companies with targeted job distribution and community partnerships at the ground level. We help companies post or list their open job ads on state-run as well as reaching out to community-based organizations where employment counselors help job seekers to search, select and apply for the right jobs.

Finally, we provide tools and software that empower companies to broaden their links with local organizations and events. Overall, by using our solution, companies can greatly improve their hiring practices, and build a diverse and inclusive workforce based on their overall corporate ambitions and commitments.

What are some steps employers can take to ensure they are building a diverse workforce?

Companies should use JobFindah as the foundation to build their more ambitious efforts to enhance workforce diversity. JobFindah provides all the required elements of compliance and recruiting diversity as well as the tools, technologies and marketing capabilities for companies to go beyond the requirements and create a culture and environment of inclusiveness.

Is there anything else you would like to share about JobFindah?

JobFindah was built as a continuation of the original vision of AJE which couldn’t be executed, and so this is our opportunity to take the category from a myopic compartmentalized service to a truly effective platform for results. Current players either lack the grasp of the possibilities, or they perhaps decided not to invest in the change as this can also cannibalize their current profitable business models. The industry, however, needs to embrace the change and we hope to be the catalyst for the change.

Connect with Rathin on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

How to Address Blemishes in Your Work History

By Stephanie Hammerwold

Most of us have some kind of blemish in our work history. Maybe you were let go from a job, you have a long gap in employment or you check yes to the question about having a criminal conviction. Those things can be stressful when filling out job applications. If you are called for an interview, it can be an added challenge to figure out how to explain them while still making yourself look like the ideal candidate. In these situations, it is important to remember that things like criminal convictions, gaps and terminations are not the full story of your experience and qualifications. By preparing in advance and thinking through standard responses to these questions, you can turn a blemish into a positive and use it as a way to show you are the best candidate for the job.

Be Honest

It may be tempting to lie about areas of concern in your work history, but be careful. Potential employers may do reference and background checks, and lying could be grounds for automatic rejection. If you are hired based on false information, and an employer later finds out, they could terminate your employment for falsifying the application.

Instead of coming up with an elaborate excuse or outright lying, use the interview as an opportunity to take control of the story of your blemishes and put a positive spin on what happened by showing how you have learned from the experience, grown or changed your life for the better.

Criminal Convictions

As an HR professional who has interviewed countless applicants in the course of my career, I have received this question many times: how do I address my past criminal convictions in a job interview? This is one of the biggest hurdles for anyone with a conviction looking for a job.

Addressing convictions starts with the job application. If this question comes up on the application, keep your answer brief. State the year of the conviction and a few words to describe it with a note that you will discuss it in more detail during an interview. You can also learn about various tax credits and federal bonding available to an employer when they hire an ex-offender. Programs include the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Federal Bonding Program. The National HIRE Network has a list of programs offered at the state level. Sharing information on these programs can help encourage an employer to give you a chance, and it also shows you did your research prior to applying for jobs.

When it comes to the interview, keep your explanation brief. Once again, remember to be honest and take responsibility. Use the interview as an opportunity to show how you have improved and made changes in your life.

For example, if you have a drug conviction, explain that you made some bad choices in the past and have since gone through treatment and have successfully maintained your sobriety. This helps show an interviewer that you are able to move past blemishes in your past. If you participated in any education or vocational training while incarcerated, mention those things during the interview. This will help turn your conviction into an inspiring story about how you overcame a major challenge in your life rather than just being about the conviction.

Gaps in Employment

When the recession hit in 2008, many employees were laid off from jobs and had a hard time finding work. As a result, it is not uncommon to see gaps in employment on resumes and applications. Even if you have gaps in employment for reasons other than being laid off, it does not mean you have a strike against you in the job search. Just as with any other blemish in your work history, use the gap to show something positive.

For example, many parents take a few years off when raising young children. When reentering the workforce after a long gap used to care for children, do not hesitate to mention the other ways you used your time. Volunteering in your child’s school, organizing a fundraiser or managing carpool are all activities that use skills relevant to a job. And let’s not forget that the effort to manage children’s schedule is a job in and of itself. The same is true for any gap involving caring for a family member.

Gaps in employment may also be caused by searching for work in a bad economy, and most interviewers will see this as a viable reason for for an employment gap. Even time off to travel or to focus on an activity can be a plus in an interview and give you an interesting story to tell.

If your gap in employment was for health reasons, remember that you do not need to disclose details about your diagnosis or treatment. Simply stating that you took time off for health reasons is sufficient.


Another tricky thing in an interview is addressing a termination. Just as with the other blemishes we spoke of, take the opportunity to show how you have learned and grown from the experience. Explain what you are doing differently now so that you can ensure an employer that whatever the reason is for termination was before will not be an issue in a new job. For example, if you were fired for attendance issues, explain how you have addressed what was causing the problem. You might say, “I had a hard time getting to that job because my car broke down regularly, which interfered with my ability to arrive on time. I have since bought a new car, so I no longer have issues with reliable transportation.”

Avoid using this question as a chance to badmouth a former employer or a horrible boss. Doing so in an interview may leave the interviewer wondering if the issue was really with the employer or if it was with you. While it is true your boss may have been a horrible person, it is not necessary to go into that in an interview.

This is another area where honesty is important. It would be better to take control of how the story of your termination is told rather than lying and having a potential employer find out by checking references.

Focus on Your Accomplishments

Remember that the story you tell about your work experience should focus on your accomplishments. Convictions, gaps and terminations are only a small piece of the story. Be confident in drawing an interviewer's attention to the good things on your application because that will ultimately be the impression you leave them with. Your accomplishments can include a variety of things like work achievements, school, volunteering and anything that demonstrates your readiness for the job.

Finally, remember to make a good impression. This includes dressing for the job you want and not just throwing on jeans and a T-shirt. Even if you are interviewing for a retail or warehouse job, dress up and look professional. Speak professionally and confidentially, and do not be distracted by your cell phone. All of these things help counter any negative impression the blemishes in your work history might make.

Easy Ways to Improve the Hiring Process


By Stephanie Hammerwold

The new year will be upon us in a few weeks, so it is time to start thinking about resolutions. With job openings increasing and unemployment dropping, it is a good time to start thinking about your hiring process and resolving to improve it in 2016. Here are a few easy ways to take the HR Hammer to your hiring process and setting up a system that helps find the best candidates to fill your openings in the upcoming year.

Job Descriptions & Ads

While it is not a legal requirement to have a job description, it is an HR best practice to do so. A good job description clearly communicates expectations to an employee, but even before someone becomes an employee, it is a tool to ensure that a candidate understands the requirements of the position. Creating or updating a job description also ensures that everyone at the company is on the same page about what the position will do.

Prior to posting an ad, review the existing job description for accuracy. Jobs evolve and change with each new person who takes on a position, so make necessary adjustments to the old description. If you are starting from scratch, get input from people already doing the job so that what you have on paper accurately reflects the day-to-day work of the position.

&&&Use your job description to create your job posting ad. Gone are the days of having to string together cryptic abbreviations to minimize the cost of a classified ad in a newspaper. Most job posting sites give you plenty of space to describe the position; however, this does not mean that you have to create the War and Peace of job postings. Remember that job seekers will be scanning many job sites, so keep your posting brief. Focus on the key responsibilities and qualifications for the position, and include something about your company culture and benefits. You can include a link to the job description on your own site for interested job seekers who want more information, but the goal of the ad is to spark someone’s attention enough to learn more about your company and to visit your career site.

Winging It

Sometimes we get so busy that preparation for an interview is little more than a quick scan of a resume while a candidate waits in the lobby several minutes before the interview starts. Unfortunately, such an approach is little more effective than trying to read and memorize a semester’s worth of material in the hours before a final exam. There is a strong possibility that you will miss out on important details and will forget to ask good questions.

To help avoid having to wing it for interviews, take some time to develop interview questions while you are creating or updating the job description. If the candidate is going through multiple interviews, this is a good way to prevent making the candidate answer the same questions over and over. It also gives you a chance to review questions for suitability and to get rid of any questions that might be inappropriate or touch on protected classes. Focus on asking about work experience, relevant training and education and questions that require the candidate to demonstrate their knowledge.

Do not forget to schedule some time to review the candidate’s resume and application prior to the interview. Get to know their experience and history so that you do not have to waste interview time on questions that the candidate already answered on paper.

Too Many Cooks in the Interview Kitchen

Now that you have a polished job description, beautifully written ad and flawless questions, it is time to take a look at who will be a part of the interview process and just how many interviews a candidate has to go through. Keep things simple, and avoid unnecessary interviews.

In all my years of interviewing job candidates, I have come to realize that you can usually get a pretty good idea if someone is a top contender within the first few minutes of the interview. That does not mean you should stop the interview after only a couple minutes, but it does mean that having the candidate come back for multiple interviews or having a large team of people conducting interviews is probably a bit excessive.

With the exception of high-level positions, you probably do not need too many people involved in the interview process. It is often good to have a second opinion, and the hiring manager and someone from HR should be sufficient. If you feel the need to include others, consider conducting panel interviews to cut down on the number of interviews. Trust your managers to make good hiring decisions. Train them on interview skills so that they do not need a bunch of people involved in the interview process for openings on their team. If you find that a number of people would like to be involved, consider quick, informal introductions following an interview, so others have the chance to briefly meet a candidate before a final decision is made.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

Finally, put a process in place to make sure there is adequate follow up with candidates. At the conclusion of the interview, let the candidate know how long you expect the decision process to take. If it takes more time than planned, follow up with the candidate by making a call or sending an email. Once you have made a decision, get in touch with all candidates to let them know whether or not they got the job. Waiting for a call about a job is stressful, and a quick call or email can help ease the frustration many feel during the waiting game of the hiring process.

Job Seeker Advice: What HR Wants to See in a Resume


By Stephanie Hammerwold

One of the most common HR-related requests I get from friends is to review their resume. Even in the age of LinkedIn and online portfolios, there are still countless articles about how a great resume can be your ticket to success. There are no magic tricks that can guarantee your resume will land you your dream job, but there are things you can do to keep your resume from automatically being tossed in the reject pile. After years of reviewing thousands of resumes, here are my tips for creating a clean, easy-to-read resume that showcases your experience and qualifications.

What (Not) to Include

I am once and for all taking the HR Hammer to the objective section. If you have an objective section lingering at the top of your resume, I’ll give you a moment to go delete it right now. Most resume objectives are the same, and it is some variation on “To find a job that challenges me and where I can be a positive member of a dynamic team.” A company already knows you are trying to find a good job, so there is no reason to waste valuable resume real estate space with an objective. You want to showcase your skills and experience rather than write a generic statement that is similar to what many other job seekers have at the top of their resume.

Now that we have the objective out of the way, let’s tackle the question of length. It used to be that one page was the generally accepted length of the resume. This was in the days before online applications and emailing in a resume. These days, it is not very common to mail in a resume. Length becomes less important when a recruiter or hiring manager is scrolling through resumes on a screen rather than flipping pages. This does not mean you should send pages and pages to a prospective employer, but it is perfectly acceptable to fill two pages. Unless you are applying for an academic job or a highly specialized position, I would not recommend going much longer than that.

It is important that your resume is easy to read because your resume usually only gets a minute or so to make a strong enough impression to warrant a closer read by a recruiter or hiring manager. Have clearly labeled sections (e.g. work experience, education) and create bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs.

The star of your resume should be your work experience. I prefer to see work experience listed chronologically by job rather than sectioned out by skill. If you want to showcase some skills relevant to the job, include a short section at the top with a few sentences summarizing your experience. For those who are new to the workforce, include any volunteer experience or school activities as part of your work experience if you have not worked before or have only had one job.

Do not forget to include education and any relevant training at the bottom. Avoid listing every single training you have attended, but instead focus on including things relevant to the job.

Show, Don’t Tell

Some job seekers fall into the trap of simply listing skills without showing that they have used those skills on the job. For example, take this statement:

Experienced in using Microsoft Excel

Consider rewriting this statement to show that you know how to use Excel:

Used Microsoft Excel to manage the budget and expenses for the annual company picnic

When I see this on a resume, I know that a job seeker has experience using the software.

Focus on ways that you used a skill in a previous job that is relevant to how the skill will be used in the job you are applying for. This is especially useful if you are jumping careers and want to show how your skills from other jobs will be applicable to a new career.

Good Writing Matters

Write your resume in clear language that is easy to understand. Do not get bogged down in buzzwords and inflated language. Say exactly what you did. A prospective employer does not need to read phrases like this:

Collaborated with team members to build capacity in an impactful manner that increased optics, learnings and upward velocity.

Instead, be clear in what you did and accomplished:

Managed recruitment and training of 100 new employees for a new store location; implemented new hire training programs that reduced turnover by 10% from the previous store opening.

Do not send out your resume without having at least one other person proofread it. I have been in situations where I was deciding between two high-level candidates with similar experience. There have been times where it has come down to spelling and grammar mistakes. If a candidate does not make the effort to make sure they are sending me a clean resume, why should I hire them to be a manager?

Remember that your resume is often the first impression you make with a potential employer. Be honest about your experience. Take the time to put your best effort forward. Write cleanly and clearly, demonstrate your skills and qualifications through your experience, and make sure it is free from errors.

Still not sure your resume is in good shape? Use the contact form on the about page to get in touch with the HR Hammer for a resume review.

Job Seeker Advice: How to Conduct a Targeted Job Search

By Stephanie Hammerwold

Looking for a job can be a big undertaking. Major job posting sites are overwhelming and often job seekers find themselves wading through endless ads promising ways to get rich working from home. While some people may have luck with casting a huge net online in their quest for the perfect job, the average job seeker may find that resumes sent in response to ads on major job sites go into some kind of application blackhole. The way around this is to take a targeted approach in your job search.

Search for Companies, not Jobs

The key to a targeted job search is to look for companies that provide the type of work you want. While companies may not pay to post all their openings on a big job search site, they will probably put all their openings on their own website. Check the company’s site regularly for new openings. I worked for one company that was popular in the community. Many applicants were people who had walked into one of our stores asking about job openings or were persistent job seekers who made a habit of regularly checking the company’s website. This meant we rarely had to rely on paying to post our openings on other sites.

Research companies in your area, and do not limit yourself. Last year I spoke to graduate students at my alma mater. Many of them were planning for careers in academia or the nonprofit sector. I reminded those eyeing nonprofit jobs that there are for-profit companies out there who have a socially-minded philosophy that is similar to what can be found at a nonprofit. Before starting my consulting business, I worked at a small grocery chain that had a goal of giving at least 10% back to the community. They also offered a volunteer benefit for employees and other programs that were focused on giving back. In doing your research on companies, look for such opportunities to expand the pool of places you can see yourself working.

Connect with your target companies on social media. Some companies have even set up specific profiles for job seekers. This is a good way to find out about new openings that may not be posted on major job search sites.

Use Your Network

Here’s an inside tip about reaching out to the companies you want to work at: do not call their HR department in the hopes that it will make your application stand out. As an HR person, I can tell you that it’s not that we do not want to talk to every applicant, but HR is often inundated with calls to the point that it is impossible to get back to everyone. For job seekers, it can be discouraging to send in an application or resume and then hear nothing. Even though HR may not be the right place to go to make a personal connection when you first submit an application, there are ways to reach out effectively.

Focus on your network. Do you already know someone at the company? If so, they may be a good resource to put in a good word for you or to introduce you to someone who has power over hiring decisions. LinkedIn can be an excellent tool for seeing who you may already know at a company or if one of your connections may be able to introduce you to someone who works there. As I mentioned earlier, some companies connect with job seekers through social media, so this can be another way to network with people in a way that could bring positive attention to your application.

Finally, get involved in your community. This is an excellent way to connect with people who may turn out to be powerful connections when it comes to finding a job. In my own experience, the best networking happens at events where the main objective is not marketing yourself. This may be volunteering for a beach clean up, working on a political campaign or getting involved with your favorite nonprofit.

The Problem with Job Sites

What you have heard about job posting sites is true: companies do not post all their jobs in such places. Posting on some of the bigger sites can run several hundred dollars each. For many businesses, this means they may be choosy about which jobs they pay to post. When I used to work on hiring, I would only post harder to fill jobs on the big sites. Job sites can also take a lot of time to wade through. Even when employing filters and narrowing search criteria, it can be a challenge to find jobs that are a good fit. This is especially true if you live in a major metropolitan area, where the list of open jobs may be really long.

While it is good to keep an eye on the major sites and give them a weekly scan, a better strategy is to figure out what kind of job you want and to then find the places offering positions that are a good match.