Monday, March 1, 2010

Find The Position You Want: Postings

Everyone knows the easiest way to find a job you want: Search the web postings, the help wanted ads, the newspaper, the cork board at the Gym.

However, at first glance this method seems to be easiest. Click. Search. Read. Apply. QED. But this works at finding the Job you want but it's not much help in actually getting the job. Think of the tens of thousands of people perusing the board everyday, and all the different skill sets they have. You most likely are the same medium-small sized fish as I am, and the competition is huge. Well I have figured out a few ways to make my fish seem and actually be a whole lot bigger. However let's first consider the effective way to use to web based job boards.

First, do what everyone else does. Search for the Job you want or the skills you have. I typed Mathematician. Several hundred opportunities popped up and I find oh wow I don't have a masters degree and I am not a PHD. I could apply for the jobs but I dont meet that fundamental requirement and what's the likelihood of getting it?

But I do notice a few of the postings seem to include similar words: Quantitative, Excel, R, SAS, and SQL. I have a quantitative degree! I can use some of that Software! Now I just found key words that hone in on my skill sets. I search again. And Again. And Again. Keeping track of these words and phrases that apply to me. After a while I have compiled a great list of words and phrases for my cover letter, resume, and keywords that find positions I am interested in and qualified for. Huzzah!

Also, I do not want to teach middle school math in Albuquerque so I remember those awesome Boolean operators. AND. NOT. OR.

So now I can search "Math NOT Teaching" and cut out those random teaching position results real fast. The more time you spend learning how to search effectively now, then the less time you have to spend working on your resume. Which leads us on how to apply for that Posting.

Now most sites send you to an application or resume submission portal. This is great but not all by itself.
  1. Look at the job posting and adjust your resume to match those key words and phrases you found in the position description and qualifications.
  2. Take note of the Company you applied for and learn about it, see my previous post. Use what you learned to further adapt your resume.
  3. Take a couple hours to pound out a cover letter. I will go into more detail on how I have learned an effective cover letter is written in a future post but appeal to what the company wants.
  4. Scour the job posting for an email address, if it's not there check the website, try to find a way to make contact with someone in the company. Send them your resume and cover letter.
  5. Submit your resume and cover letter to the online portal.
  6. Check Back. Frequently. A lot of companies that have positions that appeal to you have more positions like those.
  7. Try to make a contact in the company, cold calling is a bear but it can be effective.
  8. No luck? Rinse your hands of that position and repeat.
Essentially these boards are great for finding jobs but you must go above and beyond your competition. Show yourself as committed and ambitious.

Here are several of the popular job boards:

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