Friday, July 16, 2010

Book Review: Seven-step job search by Michael Farr

Seven-Step Job Search: Cut Your Job Search Time in Half (Help in a Hurry)In my library, books with perfect phrases, write a cover letter in an hour, and step-by-step resumes in the title are popular books, since the patrons have usually picked them up because they are pressed for time. Their interview is tomorrow or the deadline to submit the resume is at 4pm today, so they gravitate to the books that promise them a speedy solution. Seven-step job search may not promise a speedy solution, but it does provide a plan for getting a job search organized and on track.
Seven-step job search explains how
  • to identify skills which you will need to display on your resume and while in an interview
  • determine a job objective which you can use in your online job search
  • employ effective job search methods: if networking works, work it
  • resume writing which is basic and includes some sample resumes
  • interviewing and salary negotiating skills
  • following up
Getting organized for a job search is the hardest part, since some people don’t always recognize that it is a logical process. For example, they write a resume before conducting an inventory of their skills, so they are not quite sure what to put in their job descriptions or on their cover letter. You aren’t locked into an order—and you may have no choice about the order of the process if you get an interview before your resume is ready—but a basic book like this can help you get organized and may even reveal some of the weaknesses in your job search, such as your interview skills are superb but you always choke the minute money is mentioned.
Seven-step job search is a good overview of the job search process and how to put it in order. It is skimpy on how to use online resources to look for work, but there are other books and resources that can fill in this gap. Some of the steps may have to be filled in with other resources, such as occupation specific resume samples when writing a resume, but this book explains the process for a person who is not finding work and needs to fix their strategy or for a person who is gearing up for a job search and who wants to conduct one efficiently.

Seven-Step Job Search: Cut Your Job Search Time in Half (Help in a Hurry)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Helping Job Seekers? Vertical Search Engines

The Points of Reference blog has a post on Helping Job Seekers and the one recommended resource is That's it? That's the online job seeking source that Booklist could come up with for librarians that are helping job seekers? They could have at least linked to this article from the Searcher, The Info Pro's Survival Guide to Job Hunting, which even if it is a little dated, was thorough.

Not that I have any problem with Indeed. I actually like it and use it with our clients, but there are many other resources that might be better suited to this question. Maybe I just object to the title "Helping Job Seekers" as if this one resource will do it. Maybe I just need a cup of coffee. Anyway, there are more.

Vertical Search Engines

There are many vertical search engines, like Indeed, that scrape posting from major job boards or that accept feeds from employers. SimplyHired is another vertical search engine which has similar tools to Indeed, which includes the keyword and geographic descriptor mentioned in the blog post. They also have salary information, mapping tools and mashups with social networking software like Facebook and LinkedIn, so you can see if anyone in your network is currently working for the company.

These two vertical search engines also have a Trends feature that you can use to find out just how many of the jobs you are looking for are indexed in their engine.The Trends feature is meant to show you increases and decreases in job postings for a specific, title, region or keyword over time. If you take a look at the axis marked "Percentage of Matching Job Postings" you'll get an idea of how many jobs with that keyword are found in their database--or just how many jobs with that keyword there are available. Look at "librarian" compared to "engineer".



You can see just how many more jobs that mention "engineer" are available, as opposed to "librarian". That has to do with our economies, the types of professionals that are needed for each industry and sector, and just how many different flavors of engineer there are. (There are four distinct types of engineer civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical and more swirling sectors and specializations than what you could find at Baskins Robbins.) I just used it as an example to show that some vertical search engines will index more jobs of a certain type depending on where they scrape from and who's feeding them their feeds. This is something a librarian should consider when they recommend the search engine to patron: if you check the trends for "electrician" and compare by your state, one vertical search engine may have more postings than another and you may want to try another vertical search engine for your patron.

Other vertical search engines include Career Jet, Oodle, and JobCentral, which is a project of a consortium of employers to provide a place to post jobs for free.

SimplyHired is also messing around with a Local Search feature that is relevant to the job seekers that come into your library who need to find local work and who sometimes forget to add the limiting keyword of their homebase to their job search. Combine this search with a map and you can help someone who needs to relocate. This is the real power of a vertical search engine for job postings alone: it can look everywhere. At least everywhere or every sector it has indexed.

International Job Posting Vertical Search Engines

For Canadians, try Eluta. The result lists are smaller, since the board doesn't scrape but accepts employer supplied feeds only. I would also recommend WowJobs since it also includes Craigslist in its results, which is a great place for people to find a wide range of employment opportunities, especially work in the trades or short-term gigs. Yes, there may be job scams, but there were scams posted in the print classifieds; you need to educate your patrons about them.

Many of the vertical search engines mentioned have international channels of their search engine: Indeed, SimplyHired (click on the link marked USA below the location field to switch countries), CareerJet (click on Career Jet Worldwide for more information), Job Rapido and WowJobs.One of the reasons why I include the Career Jet widget on this blog is that is lets you search in different languages to get local results--I tested this on the Chinese version of the site to look for jobs in North America--which would be an asset to some library patrons that need a boost in English.

Indeed, though useful, is just the tip of the job posting vertical search engine iceberg. You should also make your decision for which vertical search engine is useful for your patron by asking them a bit about the type of work they are looking for, beyond I need a job. That's like responding to a patron's query of I need a book by just pulling the closest one off the shelf. Now, I know you're tempted to do that some days, but a little more questioning will help them find a vertical search engine that may lead them to some relevant jobs.

The Round-Up