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Posts Tagged ‘top job search websites’

How to Use Social Networks to Find Job Opportunities

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Using social networks for your job search can expand your network and introduce you to new people, but you can also leverage those networks to find job announcements and find places to upload your resume.

Did you know LinkedIn has a job board? Follow the “Jobs” tab on LinkedIn.com’s top toolbar. It will bring you to positions suggested by LinkedIn based on your profile. The best part is that the site shows who posted the position (and links to that person’s profile), and displays people in your network who are connected to the organization of interest. Be sure to fill out your profile completely and take advantage of LinkedIn’s capabilities.

Many agree that job seekers should focus on using Twitter to expand their networks and meet new people. In addition, there are a variety of services that stream job opportunities and have tools to help connect job seekers with new opportunities. Here are just a few of these services:

@jobshouts / jobshouts.com
A free resource for job seekers, this service tweets jobs from their Twitter account. As Alison Doyle of About.com explains, “…Jobs can be found either by following JobShouts on Twitter, or by searching “jobs” or keywords found in posted job titles. Each job creator is carefully screened by a jobshouts.com team member. Jobshouts provides quality jobs in a variety of verticals to a targeted group of twitter followers and professionals.”

@TweetMyJOBS / tweetmyjobs.com
This service created close to 10,000 location and job-type specific Job Channels for job seekers to follow. After job seekers register, the founder explained, “Jobs that match the profile are tweeted directly to the job seeker via their preferred communication channel, and can even show up as text messages on their mobile phone the instant that the job gets posted.”

@tweetajob / tweetajob.com
Job seekers specify a location and career interest and receive targeted tweets. Jobseekers may choose to receive job postings via Twitter feed, through the Tweetajob search engine or via mobile devices.

Some applications that take advantage of Facebook’s social graph are beginning to take a professional focus. Two to watch:

  • Branchout. This app offers jobseekers many options. You may search for open jobs by company name, position, or skill and filter those jobs by location. For example, you could search for IBM, V.P. of Sales, or sales, and sort your results by city. The most powerful feature on BranchOut is the ability to identify friends and friends-of-friends at the companies where you want to work. Just type in the name of a company, see your 1st and 2nd degree connections at that company, and request an introduction – if necessary – in just one click.
  • Jibe. This application only posts jobs directly from Fortune 1000, name-brand, and up-and-coming companies. They note, “You won’t find any spam, multi-level marketing, or commission-only jobs on JIBE… You never have to leave JIBE to apply for a job, and you never have to fill out the same profile information more than once.”

A new service, now in open beta, StartWire lets you sign in via LinkedIn or Facebook and will sort through 7,000 + job boards, employers, and search firms to identify the ones that are actively searching for people like you. StartWire may help accelerate your job search through social collaboration with a trusted network of friends, colleagues, and experts. It allows you to download your resume, create updates on where you’ve applied, the status of your applications, and the companies and jobs you like. You may share your updates with your selected network and get advice, targeted jobs, and networking recommendations from StartWire experts for free.

Consider incorporating some of these social networking tools into your job search plans to enhance the power of the social web.

Cover Letters for Recent College Graduates

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Recent college graduates are often anxious and confused about what to write in the cover letters that accompany their job applications. As a result, they tend to make two major mistakes: they either don’t send much of a cover letter at all, or they use the letter to simply summarize the information that’s on their resume.

These are crucial mistakes. A cover letter can be one of the most effective ways to make an application stand out, particularly for recent grads, who generally are at a disadvantage when it comes to experience.

The reason a cover letter can make such a difference is because, for most jobs, picking the best candidate is rarely solely about skills and experience. Those obviously take center stage, but if that’s all that mattered, there would be no point in interviews; employers would make a hire based off of resumes alone. But in the real world, other factors matter too—people skills, intellect, communication abilities, enthusiasm for the job, and simply what kind of person you are. A good cover letter effectively conveys those qualities.

Here are some keys to a great cover letter. Using these tips, in conjunction with Job & Career Accelerator’s Cover Letter Builder, can really help move a candidate to the “call for an interview” pile.

  • The cover letter should be written in a conversational, engaging tone. Recent grads sometimes feel that business writing means being stiff or overly formal; the best cover letters are more conversational (without being overly casual, of course).
  • The letter should show personal interest in working for this particular organization and in this particular job, and it should be specific about why. Doing this makes it clear that this isn’t not the same form letter that the candidate is sending to every other job she’s applying for.  Employers want applicants who are interested in this job, not a job.
  • The letter should not simply summarize the resume that follows. With such limited initial contact, applicants are doing themselves a disservice if they squander a whole page of the application on repeating the contents of the other pages!
  • Instead, a great cover letter should provide information about the candidate that will never be available from a resume, like personal traits and work habits. For instance, if a candidate is applying for an assistant job that requires top-notch organizational skills, and the candidate is so organized that she alphabetizes her spices and color-codes her bills every month, most hiring managers would love to know that! And that’s not something that would ever belong in a resume, but the cover letter is a perfect place for it.
  • One tip for a great letter: Read the ad and deduce what traits are needed to excel in the position, and then write straightforwardly about those. For instance, a job-seeker might write, “Reading over your ad, I suspect you’re looking for someone detail-oriented and organized, and that’s why I’m responding.”  Or, if the ad specifically listed those qualities (and thus no deducing was necessary), the candidate could write, “Your ad called for someone detail-oriented and organized, and I’m continually lauded for those qualities.”
  • (Of course, candidates need to be smart and genuine about this. Writing “Your ad called for someone with an English degree and I’m continually lauded for mine” won’t pass a straight-face test. People are rarely lauded for their degrees by anyone other than their parents.)
  • A great letter avoids sounding overly salesy. Recent grads tend to be especially prone to hyperbole in their cover letters, perhaps because they’re not sure what else to say and they’ve been told to sell themselves. The best letters avoid statements like  “You won’t find a candidate better qualified than me” or “I’m the best candidate for the job”; these sorts of statements come across as overly cocky, naive bluster (especially from a candidate without significant experience). Instead, they’re simply straightforward and explain why the candidate is a strong match.
  • A great letter gets the details right. I can’t tell you how many cover letters I receive from candidates who get the title of the job they’re applying for wrong, or who ignore specific instructions that were in the ad.  It’s important that grads realize that little things really do matter.

Approaching cover letters this way will help grads stand out from their competition, the vast majority of whom aren’t tailoring their letters this way.

Of course, this approach does take longer, so job-seekers may argue that they have no time for this kind of personalization when they’re applying for 50 different jobs. But if they narrow it down and focus on fewer jobs and take the time to write a truly compelling cover letter tailored to each specific job, it’s likely they’ll find that 10 truly personalized, well-tailored applications get better results than 50 generic applications.