How To Identify Good Jobs
I asked a group of 20 middle to senior level job seekers at Right Management if they thought current job search technologies were effective. Only a few hands went up. Instead, I received looks of frustration. When asked for comments, I received several worth sharing.
“I am a Director of Marketing. When I did a search on Indeed, hundreds of jobs were returned. As I entered more keywords and changed my zip, I was lost in tons of jobs. I had to spend a lot of time finding something that fit my background.”
“I applied to 15 jobs last week. Most are not good matches to my skills, but I figured I needed to give it a shot in this market.”
“I am focused strictly on job networking. I don’t search for jobs online.”
These three responses are three very typical responses in the job market – the overwhelmed, the spammer, and the overly selective.
Has job searching become this poor of an experience?
Unfortunately, many would say it has. Job searching relies on basic info, such as keyword searches and zip codes to identify jobs. While this works for searching for webpages, it doesn’t work for complicated searches where multiple factors are in play, including:
- does the job match your experiences
- does the job interest you
- is the job a good fit for your goals
- are you likely to get an interview for this job
Keyword searches fail for job searches because keywords often reflect your interest and not unique skills, goals, or include information on success rates. Wouldn’t a search based on your probability of getting an interview be one of the primary components of the search process?
A Better Way
We started researching this area at the beginning of the year and found surprising results. First, we found matching jobs based on your experiences and interest required choosing the right keywords. Second, we determined goals were really a part of the interview process and not part of the job search. Job descriptions do not contain the information about career mobility, career training, and salary growth. Third, and most surprising, we found simple ways to identify if a candidate was likely to get an interview.
Finding Jobs that interest you and match your experiences.
To find jobs that match your experiences and interest you, we start with the candidate’s résumé. We asked them a simple question “when you meet people who have worked in your industry or your function, what 5 statements in your résumé would interest them? Underline those sections.”
What we found in this simple exercise are the unique skills, areas of interest, or experiences that a candidate likes, are proud of, and enjoy doing. With these 5 statements, candidates generate a list of keywords focusing their job search. This does not create the perfect list, but it focuses candidates and produces better results. An example shift:
Title = Marketing Director
Keywords = Enterprise Software, CRM
Title = Marketing Director, Manager, Director, Marketing, Strategy
Keywords = Lead generation Facebook, eMail campaigns Eloqua, Remarketing techniques
Knowing your opportunity
Another major factor we uncovered was the likelihood of getting an interview. As we analyzed job descriptions and résumés, we found industry, years of experience, social connections and job posting date could predict your success rate.
The first two are self explanatory, but the 3rd requires explanation. Jobs have a shelf-life until they are filled. The most common process followed includes posting the job, two weeks of gathering résumés, 1-2 weeks of interviews, then an offer. What we found is that the first 3 weeks after a job is posted is the most crucial time to apply. Applying day 1 or day 21 didn’t change the success rate. However, applying day 28 did. Our belief is that companies have moved into the interview and offer stage and are not actively reviewing new applications but have not removed the job because the position is still open. Therefore, watching and managing the job posting date is vital to improving your success rate.