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Stop Using Job Sites to Look for a Job — Instead, Use Them For This

Stop relying on a job site to find a job.

Job sites are helpful; they just aren’t all that helpful in getting an interview, which is the first step in securing a job. The online application systems do a poor job of identifying qualified candidates; rather, they do a good job of identifying people who use the right key words.

This does not mean, however, that there’s no reason to look at job sites like,,, etc. What it does mean, though, is that it’s important to know why you’re looking at them. Here are the top 4 reasons I tell people to use job sites that might surprise you.

See who’s hiring. What industries and companies have lots of postings? It could mean they’ve just landed a new project, new client, or a round of funding. However, if the positions are internal, it could also mean that the culture has taken a turn for the worse. Of course, don’t rule out a company that has a lot of postings; be sure to do a lot of research on why they are posting.

Research corporate culture. If you’re interested in working for a company and want to learn more about their culture, one way to do it is to look at a handful of job postings within the same company. You’ll notice what’s their boilerplate text, and also, what’s specific to that job or department. How a company talks about itself and what they emphasize in their job qualifications will give you a better sense of the culture and what they value than reading their website. Find commonalities in how they describe challenges. By reading between the lines, what can you discern?

Explore a different career. Often I work with people who don’t know exactly what they want to do and they default to looking only at jobs related to what they’ve always done. This is a recipe for defeat and discouragement. You can’t find something different/better if you’re looking at what you’ve always done and are unhappy with it. Stop it now.

Instead, use a job site and type in key words related to what you WANT to do. You’ll find out what job titles, industries and companies have some aspects of what you want. Even if you don’t find a role that’s an exact match, you’ll find phrasing you can incorporate into your resume. You’ll gain a better understanding of how to position yourself and your particular set of skills, or whether it’s smart to get additional training.

Create Your Own Job Description. Even more fun would be to create your own job description from all the parts of the roles you like. What would you call that role? Who (companies or people) might need that kind of help? What are you interested in and how could you apply your unique combination of skills to that industry?

Example: The other day I talked to a guy who had spent the first half of his career being a prop master. You know what that meant? Tracking down random, yet very specific, hard-to-find period objects to be used on TV, commercials and movie sets. He loved it because it was like detective work. I didn’t know that was a job. My guess is that there are things you are good at that you have NO idea they are valuable and applicable in another industry simply because you haven’t looked or considered the possibility that it could work.

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