By Susan Adams
Today we’re launching our first-ever list of 75 websites for your career. My colleague Jacquelyn Smith and I started with a list of almost 700 sites nominated by readers, and then combed through them, trying to zero in on those that offer the best tools and advice for job seekers and workers looking to advance their careers. Click here for the full list and short descriptions about each site.
We’ve also pulled out ten sites we think are the most useful places to spend your time online. We’re calling them the “best,” but we say that with some humility, since we know that every job seeker and worker has a different set of priorities and needs. Though we researched widely, we realize our picks could be a subject for debate. Please tell us your thoughts.
We’ve included the job aggregators Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com, where you can do a job listing search quickly and efficiently, Monster.com, because it’s packed with free advice about job search basics like résumé and cover letter writing, Idealist.org because it’s the best job board for non-profit jobs and volunteer opportunities and USAJobs, the massive listing of federal jobs. We’ve also referenced the careers site of our competitor, The Wall Street Journal, because it’s full of high-quality content (and even sometimes includes links to our stories). Our No. 10 recommendation is really a piece of advice: Find a site that is specific to your career area, like finance or technology or journalism, and check listings there.
As we launch the lists, I feel compelled to say, as I’ve written numerous times before, that no job seeker should spend all day on the internet, reading career advice and sending résumés into the black hole of online postings. Rather, the web should be a place where you can get help and advice on job search basics like writing a résumé and LinkedIn profile, preparing for interviews and salary negotiations and researching and mulling over job options. If you’re in job search mode, coaches recommend you spend no more than 10% of your time online. The rest of the time should be devoted to pursuing leads, networking, researching companies where you want to work and getting out and meeting people in person.
That said, the web can also be a place where you find valuable leads on open positions and tell your network you are looking for work. In January I posted a story about David T. Stevens, who had worked in sales for two radio stations in San Jose, Calif. The day he left his job, he posted a status update on LinkedIn that said, simply, “I’m up for grabs. Who wants me?” One of his contacts got in touch immediately and recommended him for a program and events manager post at the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. Less than two weeks later, he started a new job there.
Another story from real life: a New York City editor I know was looking to move back to Dallas where her parents lived and she had previously worked for six years. She had left in early 2007, and though she was in touch with some of her old colleagues, she hadn’t told anyone she was looking to move back. In a search on Indeed.com in August, she saw a posting at her former employer and noticed that the contact person was someone she knew. She emailed him and he got back to her within 10 minutes, eager to set up an interview. Within a month she had the job. “I think they evaluated me on my merits,” she says, “but it helped that I had the personal relationship.”
Her story is telling: Most people get jobs through people they know. Though a web search can alert you to opportunities and let other people know that you’re looking for work, it can’t replace personal relationships and the work of following up.