Dear Employment Specialist,
I recently got laid off from my Inside Sales job in printing company, after working there for 15 years. Last time I looked for work, I was checking out the classifieds at the back of the newspaper, and asking my friends and family (which is actually how I got my last job). Now, I realize that all the jobs are online, but there are so many job boards and so many jobs that seem like scams, that I am completely overwhelmed.
Where do I look for work on the Internet? What is my best strategy to find the best jobs?
Signed: Lost Online (LO)
It must be very difficult for you to lose a job that you have been doing for so long. On top of all that, you’re now trying to navigate a changed job market. That can’t be easy. And while it is true that the Internet can be a daunting place to try and find anything (especially that one job that will be just right for you), once you know where to look, you will find that there are many excellent sources of jobs online, with much more available than ever was possible before.
You will find many types of job boards online:
Premium Job Boards:
Probably the most well known sources of job postings online are the very large premium job boards, such as Workopolis and Monster.ca. These boards have thousands of postings Canada-wide. Some offer an “alert” system for users to receive emails notifying them about jobs which match their requirements. These boards are large and well resourced (they charge a very high fee for postings), which include job search information and tips, such as those on Workopolis’ Career Resources.
The challenge with these huge boards is that they’re very competitive, with a large number of job searchers applying per post, making it very hard for individual job searchers to be noticed.
Sector Specific Job Boards:
Some specific employment sectors have their own jobs sites, such as Charity Village (non-profit sector), Work Cabin (green/environmental sector) , Sports Hiring (sports), Retail.ca (retail), IT World Canada (Information Technology), My Jobsite (construction) and Work In Culture (arts). The size and services provided by these sites vary, with some offering additional services such as job search supports, sector information such as labour market information (e.g. Retail.ca offers useful advice about jobs in that sector), industry news, as well as alerts and searchable databases.
Many sector specific sites are posted by professional associations (such as the Toronto Construction Association’s job postings board) which provide a job board as part of their services to members. These are particularly useful sites because there is a much smaller group of applicants, and the jobs are targeted and often unique to the site.
Classifieds sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji can be a sometimes quirky and often interesting source of job opportunities. Anyone can post a job, free of charge. Employers do need to identify themselves and are provided with an email address through which they can be reached. Some classifieds are to be found in online versions of local print newspapers such as Now Magazine or Metroland Media.
The advantages of classifieds are that a large amount of jobs are posted daily, often with fewer limitations on the qualifications required from candidates. Jobs are often in the creative and informal sectors, and there tend to be more entry-level opportunities, which allow for career changers or those seeking first time experience to apply. The flip side of the informality and lower cost of the advertisements, is that the jobs are often lower paid, and sometimes a little “sketchy” or unpredictable.
Recruitment/Employment Agency Job Boards:
Many employment agencies post jobs on their websites (as well as on sites such as Workopolis) as a way to attract candidates, as well as to advertise their services to potential employers. Candidates are required to register and upload a resume to the recruiter site to apply. An extensive list of such agencies can be found on this site.
The advantages of these services include that once a candidate is registered with the agency, they may be considered for other positions which may arise in the future within the agency. The positions, which are largely contract or temporary, can be an effective way for job seekers to gain experience and earn an income, while searching for other opportunities.
The disadvantages are that salaries may be lower than if you are hired directly into a company, because a percentage of your wage is paid to the agency; in addition temporary agency contracts may limit the ability of an employer to hire a candidate into a more permanent position in the future. So, know your rights before signing on.
Vertical/Aggregating Job Boards:
These are websites which use keyword search technology to enable you to search for jobs across a number of job boards simultaneously. A job searcher can enter a keyword (e.g. “Office Clerk”) and a location or postal code into websites such as Indeed, Eluta, Wow Jobs or Simply Hired, which will then search across a number of the premium jobs sites, as well as agencies, companies and sector specific boards, to find all the jobs which match the keyword and location. Job searchers can sign up for email alerts, as well.
Job seekers find this to be a convenient and effective time saver, which allows them to discover new sources of jobs, as well as easily set up job alerts. Users should be careful, however, to use accurate and specific keywords, otherwise they could miss suitable jobs (for example, you might miss a job if you use the term “secretary” but the employer calls the job “administrative assistant”!).
Other sources of online jobs include:
- Company websites: Most companies have websites which include employment opportunities. This is probably the most effective source of detailed jobs because employers are not limited by cost. It is well worth identifying a list of target companies and bookmarking them, so you can check these sites frequently.
- Google.ca is an excellent source of jobs. Simply enter the job title and location (e.g. “Accountant” and “Toronto”) to locate postings.
- Don’t forget social media. LinkedIn is a significant source of job postings, and well worth using for this purpose. Even Twitter and Facebook can be useful sources of job postings, if you connect with employers on their pages.
Finally, a few tips to help you manage the huge amount of job information online:
- Create a professional sounding new email address that is dedicated to job search. This will allow you to register with various sites, without clogging your personal email with new incoming emails.
- Don’t use too many job sites. Be selective and limit your search to those sites which are most effective for your particular purposes.
- Keep organised — make a list (a Word document might be all you need) of all the sites you are using, with the links, so you can check them regularly. Some job searchers have found career management sites such as Jibber Jobber helpful to manage their online job search process.
- Don’t forget to switch off the computer and go out to meet employers face to face. Ultimately, this is how many jobs are found and how you will, most likely, be noticed by an employer.
- Check out our list of job boards which our clients have recommended, posted on this blog.
One tip: don’t forget to use the old tried and true method of networking and leveraging the contacts you have in the workplace to help you find your next job. This is still the most effective way to get hired, regardless of all the new technologies online.
Good luck with your search. Remember that if you do need more personalized help finding work, reach out to one of our Employment Source Centres in the Greater Toronto Area.