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Ways to smooth out the job search process on the web

As I have been reflecting on my job search process so far, I’ve come to realize that it is actually way harder than it needs to be. When it comes to the searching and interviewing process, it seems that the cards are stacked mostly against the job seeker. I’ve waited weeks for responses to my applications, and there is no way for me to know that my resume is even showing up for most hiring managers.

Job sites, which are marketed as tools which are useful for finding jobs, can be confusing and misleading. There are a few excellent ones like Indeed and LinkedIn, but a few others I’ve signed up for send out messages that are designed mostly to draw you into their site. The messages tell you what you want to see, trick you into clicking a link, then take you to a page that advertises for jobs which have nothing to do with what you’re looking for. An email I’ve gotten for jobs that matched my key phrase of “Content Strategist” has brought me to a page advertising for open nursing positions. For a few weeks, I was clicking on job listings for positions which were listed as being in St. Louis, Michigan, but they were really for a company in Minnesota. I still don’t know if this was a mistake, or a deception on the job site’s part. I like to think of this tactic as simply click bait.

One final problem I’ve encountered was a site which would display some really enticing job openings, but reveal the name of the company which posted them only to paying members of their site. I know that they need to make money, but I am not in the position to fork out the money right now to join a site. Especially when the same job openings tend to appear in multiple places.

I feel like these flawed services unfairly take advantage of the job seeker’s state of mind. We are desperate for the next lead, any lead, which brings us closer to our next job. So, its important that the tips we get from job services are relevant and timely, or else it’s just a waste of time. And, there are a lot of job openings to sort through.

And, I know that the experts say that we can rely on the web job listings by themselves. I have also been networking and learning about jobs through word of mouth. But, I can’t ignore the job boards as a resource.

LinkedIn might be the best source for jobs given its job listings, and the information that helpful members share about openings at different companies. The best resource I’ve come across this week were two spreadsheets which listed companies that are hiring. This was pure gold, and very easy to digest. I feel as though it is pretty sad that it takes a good samaritan with some time and access to a spreadsheet to produce job information that is more useful than what an entire job listing platform publishes.

I’d like to see a system created which goes a little farther than LinkedIn. You can do everything that LinkedIn does now, plus the entire review process for candidates is made more transparent. You would be able to see when your application is rejected or accepted, placed in a first stage, or put on hold. Maybe when you’re passed up, this system would make it easier for hiring managers to include a note, so you have an idea of why they decided to go with someone else.

The one good thing that’s come out of the complexity of these different job board systems is that I’ve been inspired to find the ones that are most reliable, and stick with them. Also, I’ve stepped up my networking on LinkedIn, and continue to reach out to all of my connections. But, as a user experience professional, I can’t help wonder why we couldn’t have a better system for connecting job seekers with job opportunities.

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