I read today that there exist over 100,000 job boards and countless other career advice sites on the web. Given the number, it is impossible, even for a gifted Career Coach, to know or visit them all. But, I do a pretty good job staying current with the best and most versatile. Each year I research my brains out to make sure that I am presenting the 80 or so most useful ones on my Job Guy website resources page.
Obviously, this means that I know of 80+ links that are pretty cool. But Patch won’t give me enough space to write about all 80+, so I am forced to go with my Job Guy Top Five. Picking only five from among so many worthy competitors was a huge challenge. In some cases, it was so close that I had to bend my own rules with sly honorable mentions. Ok, maybe this is really a Top Ten, or Eleven…but they all are really good!
Career site #1: Simplyhired.com
Simplyhired.com is an aggregator job board. Aggregator job boards collect (aggregate) job listings from thousands of other job boards and company career sites. While the aggregators don’t yet provide the same level of functionality as do the more specific boards, they make excellent starting off points to determine which more specialized sites may be worthy of further inspection.
In a tough battle among two champion aggregator boards, Job Guy gives the edge to Simplyhired over Indeed.com. Both do a great job of producing job requisitions. As of this writing, Simplyhired listed 96, 822 jobs within 25 miles of Mansfield and 784 in the town itself. Indeed.com was right behind with 73,541 and 534 respectively. It is in the ancillary toolbox where Simplyhired holds the advantage. This site is tightly interwoven with the #2 website on Job Guy’s list: LinkedIn.com. Once logged into Simplyhired.com, a job seeker can subsequently log into LinkedIn or Facebook to see their contacts pop up on the screen.
The interaction between Simplyhired and LinkedIn is impressive. By logging into LinkedIn through Simplyhired, and entering a company name into the search box, a job seeker can see the profile pictures and key info for relevant connections in a column right next to the listed jobs! This makes it instantaneously apparent where one has contacts and which pathways make the most sense. Curious souls can experience a similar affect going through LinkedIn and signing into Simplyhired.
Simplyhired doesn’t work as well with Facebook, producing only an alphabetical scroll of friends who are in no way connected to the jobs being searched. It is better than nothing, but not by much.
Career site #2: LinkedIn.com
I admit to being a bit biased toward LinkedIn. The site started in 2003 and I joined in 2004. Seven years and nearly 1500 connections later, I consider LinkedIn to be the most significant aid to professional networking since the business card. LinkedIn recently passed the 100 million member mark, lists contacts in over 200 countries, and includes executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies. Over one million companies have created LinkedIn pages.
The primary benefit to LinkedIn is building connections. Even though the site is continually moving what had been basic functionality into its premium packages, it still offers several ways to expand professional networks for free. Staying connected to or reconnecting with old colleagues, classmates, and affinity group members are just a few of the most common applications. The site also has a job board that lists nearly 38,000 positions, many of which are available exclusively to LinkedIn members. Today I found almost 1,200 jobs listed within 25 miles of 02048. Plus, it offers the aforementioned access to Simplyhired.
While Facebook is the #2 most visited web destination in the World behind Google, it has a way to go to become a profound force for finding jobs or changing careers. But it is trying. In September 2010, the company launched BranchOut in an apparent attempt to compete with LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent Twitter, as a career management destination site. While Facebook attracts over ten times the traffic that LinkedIn brings, it did not start out collecting detailed career information from members; it is working overtime to close the gap by recognizing vigorous BranchOut networkers with “medals” and “awards.”
Career site #3: Glassdoor.com
For those job seekers desiring an “inside look at jobs and companies” (who shouldn’t be?), Glassdoor is terrific. The site includes real (allegedly) employee insight on hundreds of companies regarding hard to find information about company culture, supervisor competence, pay grades, and, believe it or not, actual job interview questions. Case in point: I once had a client ask me about how to prepare for a Gallup interview. I had no clue! Not only did Glassdoor tell me what a Gallup interview was, but a member shared the entire list of questions he was asked when competing for the very same job within the same company for which my client was interviewing. Needless to say, my client was really happy to have this type of opportunity to prepare (and yes, he got the job and is doing well in it).
When using Glassdoor or similar sites like the older Vault, it is important to remember that disgruntled employees and prospects are often more motivated to “share experiences” than are happy ones. Since posters remain anonymous and are insulated from counterpoints, there is always a risk of unwarranted or even dishonest content. Buyer beware, for sure, but this is a must visit site anyway.
Career site #4: ONET.org
ONET is a site built to interface with the United States Department of Labor. It helps users sort out career options through an easy-to-use series of drop down menu selections. Job seekers can sort by their own work style, values, interests, education level, etc. The site provides job descriptions, educational and training requirements, salary metrics, and career growth projections. If I weren’t such a fun coach for my clients to work with, I would feel threatened by this site.
For professionals-to-be, a terrific sister site exists for high school students looking to establish career direction. Mappingyourfuture.org performs essentially the same level of support as ONET does, but for those who are just starting out. Very, very, cool.
Career site #5: Job-Hunt.org
Ok, so Job-Guy admits to having a fondness for websites with hyphenated names. But truly, Job-Hunt would have earned ranking here even without the affinity. This site is crammed with information about almost anything one would ever want or need to know about looking for a job. While I find the advice columns to be a bit of a mixed bag, the array of lists and directory links offered here is outstanding (when you visit, focus on the left hand column of links). It is also nice that the site was developed locally, in Marlborough, as a tribute to 80,000 Digital Equipment Corporation workers displaced in the mid 1990s.
Indeed (pun intended), there are hundreds of great sites on the web to help get simply hired; I would welcome input from readers on their personal favorites and why they like them. Perhaps we can produce an updated version of this article based on that feedback in the second half of the year. Anyone who would like to share an opinion is welcome to contact me through my Patch.com link or directly to my Job-Guy email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.