Observations on job search services

I’ve experienced unemployment enough times over the last twenty years that I could bring a unique perspective on how the process has changed, either for better or worse.

One thing to note is that I’ve been in the workforce for as long as the Internet has been around. I was first introduced to the World Wide Web when I was in college, although my very first job search post-graduation was still very much dependent on the newspaper classifieds section.

Nowadays, my job search is completely web-based, and definitely better in many ways. First benefit is that I never get ink on my fingers, except for those times when I need to change the ink cartridge in our printer. But, more importantly I can search as far as wide as I choose, and even subscribe to job alert notifications.

As I’ve ramped up my job search process, I have discovered several services that are helpful. LinkedIn has brought me some solid job leads, and so has Indeed. There are others that I like to keep an eye on.

But, there are a few others that do not deliver what they promise. Some I’ve visited, some I’ve signed up for, but others seem to have started to contact me randomly, and I seldomly find their information helpful. I do know that early on there were a couple of sites which had prompted me to sign up for multiple job sites as I was applying for a job. I wanted the job, so I agreed to subscribe, thinking it would help me in the end.

These aren’t just bad sites, they are manipulative. I’m fairly sure their singular goal is to attract visitors to their site, so they populate their emails with job listing “clickbait.” When I do see a job that interests me, such as “Internet Marketer,” clicking the job title takes me to a page on their site which highlights an opening somewhere for a nurse. At first, I was confused how the email could get things so mixed up, but eventually realized this was on purpose.

I have also gotten emails with links that seem to alert me to a job, but if I click on the link I’m taken to the results of a keyword search on the site. So not worth it.

Here is an example of an email I regularly get:

The first red flag probably should have been that jobs is spelled “Joobs.” All of the links take me to a general search results page.

Another trend I’ve noticed is that there are email alerts that I’ve gotten for jobs I thought were nearby, but they were based inside a city that sounded like it was nearby me, but was in fact located in an entirely different state. After I double checked my profile and confirmed my information was right, I wondered if the job descriptions had been tagged wrong by the employer.

I know what most people would be saying. It’s always important to be careful about the sites we visit, the links we click in emails, and the lists we sign up for. I agree with all of that, and I’ll admit that I’ve fallen for some of the simplest internet tricks that site deploy. But, in the back of my mind I can’t help but think that it would be a lot easier to find a job if these job marketing sites weren’t around to trick and distract me. And, really, they’re not going to keep my attention if they can’t do the one thing right that they advertised, which is to help me find a job.

I am interested in hearing from others about their own job search experiences. What sites have worked well for you, and what sites have you learned to avoid? I’d like to start a list of the best and the worse and share it so that others know what tricks to watch out for, and which sites they should avoid. You can reach me at jon@gazerbeam.com, or DM me on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

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