Where To Find the Best Job Opportunities
A Step-by-Step Guide
Let’s assume you have already gone through the process of thinking deep and hard about what your aspirations are, how your strengths translate to achieving them, and you are now somewhat clear about the professional path you would like to walk. All you are missing is a great place to find job opportunities. It is crucial to know where and how to search for the right position – being able to identify the most reliable sources could be a game-changer.
So… where to now?
To the internet of course!
In this day and age the internet is, of course, the official channel for job hunting. And for good reason. The vast amount of information online has the ability to solve most challenges you might face on your way, which makes it a pretty decent place to look for “The One” (job). Databases like job boards not only hold thousands of available positions but also typically have highly modifiable search criteria – an excellent way to narrow down possibilities to the ones you may be interested in.
If this approach sounds like something you would like to have a go at, here is a list we have compiled with some great career websites that could aid you in your pursuit of employment:
Companies’ career sections
Maybe job boards aren’t exactly your cup of tea, they are a bit too unfocused for your liking, and you find them difficult to navigate. No worries, there is an alternative.
It is almost universally true that companies publish job openings on their own webpages in addition to having them on job boards. Even better – they often save some of the open positions to publish exclusively on the company website. This holds true especially for junior positions. And bonus points, these websites are usually quite easy to navigate: go onto the main page, look for the “career” section, and voila! this is where the open positions will be.
Have a company you want to work for in mind? Head over to their website and have a browse.
Here. We will break the process down for you.
Let’s open P&G’s website.
You can see right away a button that links to the Career section of the site. There you will find useful information about the company (its values, brands, testimonials from P&G employees, etc., all important things to know in case of an interview). Okay, but you are currently interested in job postings, so you click on “Search & Apply for Jobs”.
Welcome to the typical Job Posting Board on a company’s website. Similar pages dominate the industry so once you learn how to use this once, you can apply it across the board. You see some filters on top and on the left, right? If your company of choice has a ton of opening, you would need to work with these filters to find the job opportunities that actually interest you. You can filter by location, by job field, job type, and so on. In the example below, we have looked for an internship position in the US within the “Finance & Accounting” department of the company.
And because the technology elves did their work correctly, our search result outputted only job opportunities that matched the search criteria.
Once you identify a position you are excited to work in, you can click it to get the juicier information. As you can see in our example, we are provided with a detailed job description and a list of qualifications we would need to possess to be successful with this application. From that point onwards, it is up to you to find the “Apply Online” button, and start the application process.
Pay attention to deadlines!
So you now have several positions you would like to apply for at your fingertips… What’s next?
Well, creating a timeline or a progress plan proves time and time again to be an excellent idea. To say the least, each company typically includes a deadline for its applications, right? But your application does not start and end with hitting the “Apply” button. If you are serious about getting the job, you would typically need some time to work on your resume and cover letter to tailor them to both the position and the company itself. So, with overlapping application deadlines, and all of your other activities, a schedule might not be a terrible idea; especially when it is so easily done: gather all your company deadlines, put them in a spreadsheet, and set some goals for your applications’ progress. Now you have a schedule!
And if you would like to use a tool with a friendlier interface than a spreadsheet, then consider using one of these guys to help you keep up with your deadlines
Have you ever heard of the planning fallacy? This is the ridiculously common phenomenon in which people predict that the completion of a future task will take much less time than it actually does… it is optimism in its most treacherous role, and the planning fallacy is constantly fallen prey to, by smart and smarter people alike.
So, keep this in mind when planning for the near future: completing online applications is a time-consuming process. You will typically need 8 to 10 hours to write a good online application, and that is if you are not busy with anything else as well (lessons, exams, personal activities, etc.). Therefore, be smart: plan ahead with time to spare and try to submit each application ahead of its deadline.
Industry tip: Very often recruiters fill the positions as soon as they find suitable candidates. It doesn’t matter if you were better qualified, they already have somebody who fits the bill just enough to do the job well. That said, to guarantee yourself a fighting chance, aim to be invited for an interview early, that is, when the number of open positions is still high. In any other scenario, even when you perform well, you may still be rejected due to timing or the fact that there are fewer available positions.
Early bird gets the worm, right? That’s the “big secret” that places you ahead of other candidates. Want to get where you want to get? Apply well in advance! Nothing more to it! (Okay, there is some more to it, but we have covered this elsewhere.)
Read between the lines
Additional Job Posting Sources
Here is how online applications work. There is a period in which the wide majority of companies go into a hiring process – this lasts approximately 4 months and runs during the period October through February. Once the hiring cycle is completed, that will be that.
But say it’s April, you have just completed your thesis or are beginning to realize that university will end soon, and you find yourself highly stimulated to do some job hunting. Do you sit back and relax until October? Well, that certainly is an option. Not an excellent one, but it is there.
Alternatively, you can look for what are called “off-cycle” opportunities, like internships and short-term placements. Now, most applicants either don’t know that this is an option, or decide not to go for it, but it is a viable way to get experience, qualifications, extra skills & knowledge, and so on. And the application process is often much more straight-forward than it is with the on-cycle applications. For one, it does not tend to take a full day’s work to complete well.
Let us jumpstart your search for your next opportunity with a shortlist of some of the better off-cycle channels…
Go offline and experience it first-hand!
Career Events & Job Fairs
Let’s cut to the chase. For some of you a big, BIG, part of what makes you who you are is the fact that you have a strong live presence. Surely, it must feel like a talent wasted every time you submit an application online? Here is a solution – go to career events and job fairs in person. You have a magnetic personality – excellent! – go out there and make the most of it. This may very well make the difference and ultimately get you the desired job.
As important all of the above is, let’s not forget the other secret reason we should all consider going to career events: the company gadgets giveaway. A lifetime supply of pens. Sixteen keychains. A flashlight??
But in all seriousness, the benefit of visiting these events is immense: it creates tons of opportunities for you to hand your resume to human resource managers, to grow your network, and to place yourself on the radar. Some professionals you meet might need to fill a position that was not planned earlier; job opportunities like this are actually an often occurrence.
Once at a career event, you are in an ideal position to apply that strong live presence and talk to recruiters; quite possibly, you will make a good impression even without trying too hard. As the conversation evolves, make sure to demonstrate how determined and how excited you are to work with the specific company.
General rule of thumb, when at a career fair, attempt to approach 10 to 15 HR representatives. This creates the impression that you are a proactive and eager job seeker, and, naturally, increases greatly the chances that some of them will reach back to set up an interview with you.
Use what is at your fingertips
University Job Boards
If you happen to be a university student or a recent graduate, do not forget to keep an eye on your university’s careers resources and job boards. This is incredibly relevant especially if you are enrolled in a school that is well-connected with employers in your field of interest. We cannot emphasize the usefulness of university resources enough. But consider this: companies who have developed good working relationships with a certain university announce certain job openings exclusively through the university’s job board to nurture the relationship.
Although this is no state secret, there is a large number of students who do not pay attention to this source of opportunity when job hunting, and if you do the math, this already improves your chances.
Keep up to date with your university’s offers; they may prove to be even more interesting than some posted on community-wide job boards. And it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that this job-hunting channel is probably the most time-efficient of all we have reviewed, as you’ll likely only need to submit a resume and a cover letter.
LinkedIn, through no fault of its own, is another job-hunting resource that is under-used, even though this is a platform where a growing number of industry leading companies publish their current vacancies.
It may seem daunting at first but LinkedIn is a website with an algorithm mechanism which allows it to analyze your job hunt activity on the website and identify your position and industry preferences. You may need to do a bit of browsing to begin with – nothing too complex, simply use the search bar and type the titles of positions you are interested in, then maybe save an interesting opportunity or two – but after a short period of time LinkedIn will begin suggesting jobs for you. These you will find under the title “Jobs you may be interested in”, and they will get progressively more personalized in a direct reflection of your time spent on the website.
Word of caution: although LinkedIn has an excellent tool which allows you to apply directly with your profile, some companies may still require you apply using their own online application system. This does not mean, however, that the recruiter won’t do their research and won’t consult your profile regardless. In fact, if a position has been posted on LinkedIn, it is safe to assume that the company will use every resource the website offers to filter their applicants. This is why it is imperative to have a well-written, regularly-updated LinkedIn profile. This is your online Business Card; make it count.
One last point, for those of you who have one hand glued to their mobile device, LinkedIn has developed a separate app specifically designed to make job hunting a smoother experience. It is called, you will never guess it… LinkedIn Job Search. It is free and easy(-er) to use.
Proactivity is King!
Now, the next two channels we will talk about should be considered mainly by those of you who have no relevant experience.
Often, it is difficult to source your first experience, which, according to the plan, would be the one that allows you to pursue bigger job opportunities & career development. Proactivity is key in these situations. Turn every stone and utilize your time to the fullest, rather than sitting back and doing nothing. Easier said than done, we know, but you can try the following.
Contact Startup Companies
There is no doubt, startup companies are trendy. Even more so, they are innovative, and they work hard. An experience with a team like this would be fantastic for your personal development and for your resume, even if you had not considered it as a first option. Contact several startup projects, and soon, you’ll find yourself with an offer to start. What is more, you will likely have a flexible role within the team, which means that if you get the wording right, you’ll have an excellent story to tell during your future interviews. Not a bad start!
This is usually done when you can find no other options. You can rest assured that even if a firm lists no vacancies, they can probably still find something for you. Perhaps they can use a hand with some admin tasks, especially if it’s free or at the price of two sandwiches per day. Not ideal but a start.
Prepare a well-written 100-word e-mail, attach your resume, and send it to 20-30 companies. Focus on firms that have no formal recruiting process – private equity funds, boutique investment banks, small consulting firms, public entities, etc. Keep in mind that proactivity is key, and maybe even dare to follow up your email with a call; this will significantly improve the odds that you will get a call back.
And do not worry that you are not in a traditional placement: in the long run, the contacts you make, the impression you leave on your seniors, and the network you become a part of will repay you back in full.
The lesson of today? When searching for new job opportunities, Determination and Proactivity are the things that count.
Good luck with your search, and remember, it is always better to have the power of choosing than to be the one to be chosen!