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The Best Techniques to Tailor Your Job Search and Decide Your Next Career Move

We all know that, like most everything else, the job hunt is moving into the digital space. While you may be psyched to have access to more opportunities, you may also feel overwhelmed when your online job search yields a metric sh*t ton of results.

Try searching “marketing jobs in NYC” in a regular job search engine and you’ll get literally thousands of hits. 20,313 to be exact, I just checked. What exactly are you supposed to do with that? The answer, of course, is cut it down, to the useful stuff. But how? Well, that’s when these 7 techniques will help.

Work those filters

Filters are the lifeline that keeps you drowning in a sea of roles–most of which, you won’t really dig, anyways.

Challenge yourself to use all of them. All? Yes, all! It’s a chance to reflect on possibly under-examined career options/preferences, like what company size or start date you prefer. Even if you’re flexible and choose multiple options for a given filter, try to use every single one as an exercise of self-reflection and to tailor your results.  

Subscribe to career or industry newsletters, blogs, and podcasts

If you’re relying solely on job boards and job search engines to find new career opportunities, you’re missing out. Career hubs and industry publications churn out curated lists of companies that are hiring specifically for the roles, experience level and industries you love. These also offer a more in-depth view of the company that showcases not only their job openings but also their culture and perks.

They can also provide you with useful tools to crush the application. Job search engines, in many ways, are like those pitching machines that launch baseballs at you but don’t provide you with the bat to hit em out of the park. This is to say, they release jobs into the online universe, but don’t necessarily provide you with tools to land them.  

Use a job board that’s tailored to your career interests

First things first, it’s important to understand the difference between a job board and a job search engine. Well, that sounds boring. Maybe. But it’s important for two reasons. First off, employers actually pay job boards to list their openings on them. Which means, they’re actively trying to fill the roles you see. Meanwhile, job search engines auto-compile jobs all around the web (including its many dark corners), so you’re bound to run into a few expired listings and maybe even some fake employers/scammers.

Second, while job engines are a bit of a free-for-all, many job boards cater to a niche. They list jobs for a particular industry, skill set, company size (i.e. a startup), or city. Our FindSpark job board, for example, lists jobs at creative, business and tech companies in NYC and Chicago.

That being said, if you’re looking for hourly, seasonal or part-time work, you may want to give the old job search engine a try, since job boards sometimes eschew these types of listings.

Establish must-haves and deal-breakers

These will depend on your goals and your circumstances. For example, if you need a job pronto and aren’t an excel wiz, ignore that marketing analyst role. Maybe someday. But for now, move on. 

Clicking through fewer job descriptions will save you hours, which you can invest in jobs that actually align with your current skill set and needs.

Pay special attention to roles at companies where you have connections

Many job boards allow you to narrow your results to companies where you have connections. Although it’s definitely possible to build a network and stand out at a company where you know absolutely no one, this is definitely one of the most promising segments of your job search.

Referrals, getting face time with someone at the company and mutual connections are the golden tickets to competitive gigs, so find out where your peeps are at and apply if you find something that catches your eye.

Follow companies and career-focused accounts on social media

Career resources abound on the Twitter, the Instagram, and the Facebook. If you’re able to take your eyes off the adorable puppies falling down stairs, find career influencers and accounts that share jobs and career advice. You can start by following FindSpark and one or more career influencers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

And, if you’re in love with one company, you should follow them, on social, too. It’s a great way to stay updated on openings, news, and their culture.

Sign up for job alerts from your favorite companies

Did all of these and still didn’t find what you wanted? It happens! Sometimes you end up bookmarking 15 listings, sometimes you can’t find anything for experience level, skill set or that matches your interests. It’s the nature of the job hunt.

For those days when your search feels turns up zero good results, you can always sign up for job alerts from companies you like, so that when a good match opens up, you’re the first to know. You can easily turn on job alerts on the FindSpark job board like this.

Have job search techniques that helped you zero in on a cool opportunity? Share it in the comments!

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