If I had to name the top things job candidates turn to me for guidance about, without hesitation “Where should I focus my efforts?” would be high up the list.
There are just so many new routes for candidates to consider today aren’t there?
Let’s face it, if you haven’t been active in the jobs market for the last few years then half the options open to you today didn’t even exist the last time you were job hunting!
So here’s a quick low down on the Pros & Cons of 15 options for landing your next job that are open to candidates in today’s market. I’ll no doubt have missed some other options – feel free to suggest others using the comments field below and I’ll be happy to add my thoughts on those too.
|Generalist job boards – applying for jobs||Tend to have the most advanced matching technologies for presenting you with appropriate jobs.
Some will offer advanced candidate interfaces allowing you to track application status and apply for roles with one-click technology.
Most likely to have mobile apps and smartphone compatible websites.
|Bulk posting deals can harm the quality of job postings on these sites.
Invariably have fewer employer brands advertising in each sector than a dedicated niche jobs board.
The sheer volume of applicants received means candidates may not always hear back following an application.
|Niche job boards – applying for jobs||In sectors where niche boards are well established, are likely to provide a more comprehensive range of job listings from employer brands.
Higher price points for advertising means a better quality of job postings and less incidence of “phantom job postings” than on cheaper jobs boards.
|Often have less advanced job board technologies, so you may not be able to store multiple resumes on these sites and track the progress of your applications.
Less likely to offer mobile apps.
|Uploading your CV / Resume to job board databases||Can provide quick visibility that you are open to approaches.||Concerns over your own employer becoming aware that you’ve posted your details in such databases.
Loss of control over who has your resume and which employers it is being circulated to.
Undoubtedly less effective in the wake of LinkedIn, with most job boards having seen recruiters migrate to what is effectively a free resume database on LinkedIn.
|Applying via Corporate websites||Collectively, major employers in most sectors are likely to have more roles listed on their own careers pages than anywhere else on the web.
Applying direct means the employer incurs no cost should they choose to hire you, making you more attractive than candidates sourced through the recruitment agency channel.
|It is a mind-numbingly tedious process to research and find the careers pages of all the employers in any given sector!
Chances are that once you’ve found openings of interest, you’ll be forced to submit your application via a long-winded and painful online application process (with hats off and apologies to those few employers who have addressed this issue already…)
|LinkedIn – approaching recruiters||Undoubtedly LinkedIn has given candidates a potential Rolodex of contacts at their target employers and recruitment agencies that they never had previously.
Provides a mechanism for having recruiters look at your LinkedIn profile (and recommendations / examples of work) to form their first impression, rather than your CV / Resume.
By following companies and monitoring insights from signal you can make yourself a more informed and knowledgeable candidate.
|Requires a significant investment of time to build up one’s network sufficiently, either through building connections or by becoming an active member of groups. Therefore not ideal for generating immediate results, more of a long term career development strategy.
To a degree this can be overcome by paying for a subscription, but arguably you still want to invest time in building up relationships with employers / recruiters before submitting any applications, so as to leverage the social / trust element of the social media equation.
|LinkedIn – perfecting your profile||Recruiter surveys suggest that recruiters are using LinkedIn to approach candidates as their number one activity on LinkedIn. Ensuring your profile appears in relevant searches – and strengthening the message it conveys when recruiters do find it – ensures your efforts are being expended in ways that correlate with the ways recruiters are looking to reach candidates.
You also have to assume that any recruiter receiving an application from you via any channel is likely to check your LinkedIn profile before inviting you to interview. So this activity will make your other job hunting activities more effective too.
|There remains the concern amongst candidates that their colleagues / superiors will see that they have been actively updating their profile – and that this could flag that they are looking to move on.
Try to update your profile and make all enhancements to it in one go to minimise the chances of your activity being noticed – and ensure you review your LinkedIn settings to control what activity on the site is and isn’t visible to others.
|LinkedIn – applying for jobs||In some sectors and some geographies, LinkedIn has achieved good penetration in the market and is therefore a strong source of job listings from employers.||Market penetration is not yet on a par with well-established niche job boards, so best used in conjunction with other job board sources.|
|Twitter – following recruiters||Can help you start meaningful discussions and build rapport with many recruiters. Can also help inform you about their companies and the markets they operate in, so building up your knowledge in advance of any application / job interview further down the line.
Using twitter search and services like Listorious, it’s a quick process to find relevant recruiters / employers to connect with.
|Once you’ve started on Twitter, you do need to make sure you log in regularly. There’d be nothing worse than you attracting the interest of a recruiter and then their interest cooling because they’ve not heard back from you for days after they tweeted you…|
|Twitter – engaging in discussions||Twitter has opened up the scope to engage recruiters in dialogue again. One of the biggest complaints in the last decade was that the dotcom era had made employers and recruiters less contactable as they simply couldn’t cope with the telephone and email enquiries that would result if they were more openly soliciting candidate enquiries. Through its short messaging format, Twitter has essentially made it more manageable for recruiters to engage with candidates in one on one “discussion”.||There’s a divide between recruiters who are actively engaging in discussion on Twitter – and those who are using it purely as another channel to broadcast job adverts. So you’ll encounter frustrations along the way that there are organisations of interest to you that are simply not responsive to dialogue on Twitter.|
|Engaging via other social media||Many companies have fantastic facebook career pages with lively interactions between recruiters / employees and candidates. Plus many other career-focused social networks such as Social-Hire andBraveNewTalent have sprung up in recent years, providing new ways to engage with the most socially-active employers.||There are only so many hours in the day, so it’s important to focus your time on networks that have a good selection of recruiters that you would want to interact with.|
|Careers Fairs & Careers Events||There’s nothing like face-to-face time to impress on a recruiter your star qualities and employability.
There’s a significant cost to the recruiter – both in terms of resources and money – to having a presence at a careers fair / open day / careers evening. This means the likelihood that there is a genuine and urgent hiring need within the business is greater than with any other option you might pursue here.
|The cost of participating means that such events tend to only take place when hiring needs are quite significant, so in the current market there are sectors and geographies where candidates may simply not see a relevant event to attend anytime in the next 12 months. So great if they are happening in your sector, but will not be an option for all.|
|Virtual Careers Events||A lower cost option for recruiters means some events will happen via this medium that would not take place physically.
As a candidate, the time and financial commitment to attend is much lower – and the chances of you being “seen” at the event by those you wouldn’t want to see you there is much lower than for a physical event.
|By their nature, such events tend to target broader hiring needs than say a targeted job advert or recruitment agency brief. Hence you’ll still tend to only see these virtual events taking place in sectors and geographies where there is significant hiring demand throughout organisations (rather than pockets of hiring activity, as is the norm in some western economies right now)|
|Attending Careers Webinars||Give you great insights into individual firms and therefore help prepare you to write applications that will stand out from the crowd. Plus will ensure you sound knowledgeable about their business come interview time.
Depending on the format, may offer you scope to interact with (and impress) staff from the business during the course of the webinar.
|It’s hit and miss how many of your target employers will be running anything like this during the time window you are looking to move. So something to do where possible, but not to rely on as your major source of leads of potential hirers in your sector.
Very time consuming if you start attending dozens of these – since the employer has a log of who has participated, who asked questions and who left early. So popping in and out of webinars isn’t a good option for a serious job seeker.
|Networking / Referrals||In survey after survey, employers identify referral hires (ie. those introduced to the business by their existing employees) as being their preferred source of new hires. So working your personal network for introductions to businesses can lead to lots of interviews – and ultimately a higher chance of successful integration into the organisation – than applying via any other option presented here.||For most candidates reading this, your network will give you only partial access to the industry you work in and so is only an option for approaching a fraction of the employers that would be of interest to you. So an option to be used alongside others rather than to be relied on in isolation.|
|Working with Recruitment Agencies||In spite of all these other options, employers still engage recruitment agencies to fill a significant proportion of all the new vacancies they have (the reasons for which are not about to go away, but would require a whole article to do justice to!).
The only way you can be considered for all the openings that may be of interest to you is therefore to be working with recruitment agencies as well as pursuing these other options.
For many candidates who’ve not been active in the market, a recruitment agent will also give you insights into your market value and the salary you can command – such that you are not going into remuneration negotiations blind.
|It can take time to identify the most professional and well connected recruiters in your sector, if you haven’t been active in the market yourself for some time.
Employers will on occasion use recruitment agencies to search for candidates for roles they may need to fill in the coming months (ie. as a no cost insurance policy that will allow the potential needs of the business to be met). Through no fault of the recruitment consultant, this can result in openings vanishing or the hiring process being delayed – and therefore the candidate being left frustrated.