A recruiter’s guide to job searching

Use job boards and social networking sites to your advantage

5 min read

May 2021

Man typing on laptop keyboard

A friend who’s been in the same job industry for nearly a decade recently called to get my opinion about online sources for finding a job. She’d just started a job search, and I could hear the stress in her voice. She found a position on a job board that she was really interested in, but when she went to apply on the company website, the position wasn’t posted. She feared she was being scammed. Her situation’s not uncommon.

Recruiting trends and technology are changing rapidly. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a job search, especially when the playing field has changed a lot since you last looked for a position. The fact is job boards and social networking sites can be valuable resources for job seekers if you know how to use them to your advantage and differentiate yourself.

A recruiter’s perspective

In my opinion, there are three websites that job seekers should keep their eyes on: LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor. All offer information and images showing what it's like to work at specific companies, but there are other ways you can leverage each site, too.

1. LinkedIn: Next level networking

Why I recommend it:

LinkedIn is a great professional networking and job search tool. It’s also a great way to make connections and gain valuable industry information. LinkedIn tends to be a tool that many recruiters use to find passive talent—people who aren’t actively searching for a new job but might be a great fit at their company. Your profile is your electronic resume, business card, and references all rolled into one, so be sure to optimize it.

Tips for optimizing your profile:

  • Ensure your info is up to date: That includes your work history, education, and responsibilities. Use keywords that relate to the types of jobs you’re interested in. Recruiters can search the site using keywords.
  • Include a recommendation: Substantiate your skills and increase your credibility by having prior co-workers or supervisors write a recommendation for you.
  • Join LinkedIn groups: Look for ones that are applicable to the types of roles/industries that you’re interested in to gain visibility and access to other members. Joining your alumni association group is also a great networking tool.

2. Indeed: The quintessential job search engine

Why I recommend it:

Indeed helps jobseekers find jobs, read company reviews, and see general salary information for different job titles. It’s a job aggregator, which means it acts more as a search engine, pulling postings from employer’s career sites and other job boards and consolidates them onto one site that is searchable by keywords and location. The value of Indeed is its reach: in one place, you can find jobs which were posted on employer websites, association websites, and other job boards. I’ll make one caveat here: because Indeed pulls information from other sites, it may show duplicate openings. The company’s career site should have the most up-to-date information on opportunities, and Indeed often links users directly to the company’s application page, making for a more efficient job-seeking experience.

Tips for optimizing your search:

  • Familiarize yourself with keywords and job titles that are relevant to the roles/industries you’re interested in and use them when searching. You should also use them in your Indeed profile so that recruiters can find you more easily.
  • Use your headline and summary to stand out. Highlight professional attributes, skills or achievements in a concise and effective way.

3. Glassdoor: Insider knowledge without knowing an insider

Why I recommend it:

How often do you book a hotel stay without reading reviews? In my opinion the same thought process is critical while job searching. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees can anonymously review their company and management team. The anonymity of the information allows for honest and candid thoughts from reviewers. Job seekers are able to review information about the interview process as well as what to expect in terms of salaries and benefits. It also helps identify company culture trends.

Tips for optimizing your search:

  • Consider the reviews holistically: These are opinions, and everyone views things differently. Rather than drawing a conclusion from one or two reviews, read through a good sample size. Use what you learn to create a dialog in the interview (i.e., if work volume is a common concern, you might ask the interviewer about the workload and resources the company provides to help employees be successful).
  • Note the specifics: When browsing reviews, make sure that you consider how recent the reviews are, what location the person worked from and relevance of the role (i.e., different locations may have different sub cultures and older reviews may not have the same clout, as cultures and trends change over time).

There are many tools and websites available to use in a job search, and I’m sure many more will pop up as technology continues to advance. Each offers a vast amount of information and tools that are useful for different reasons. Happy job hunting!

Before moving into her role as a Human Resources Consultant, Sarah Timms was a recruiter in Progressive’s Talent Acquisition Group where she applied her more than 13 years of recruiting experience to build business partnerships and help talented individuals find careers they love.

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