Job Search Engines: Pt. 2

In the previous post, we discussed the dumbness that comes with Job Search Engines. Well, I’m not done yet. We now continue the stream of consciousness, but involving solutions this time.

There is no question. JSEs get paid to throw any job that might stick at a candidate so they may collect commission.

While this can be good and lead you to something great, it can also be extremely depressing and lead you down a long road of bullshit.

Searching for a graphic design and/or creative jobs, I am constantly recommended jobs having no relation. For example, searching “Artist,” will lead to a dozen listings calling for a “Sandwich Artist.”

Obviously, “sandwich artist” is not a creative services position. What we can draw from this example is people specifically create postings to snatch candidates stereotypically, notoriously struggling with unemployment. Always keep this in mind.

Tip #1: Keywords Are Magical or Tragical

Keywords can find your dream job or land you in the sunglass hut (there’s a story there but not for today) depending on how you search. The content of every JSE is like a sandbox in which you must sift, sift, sift until you find the treasure.

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You know yourself best. Get creative with keywords of things you like to do.

If you are looking for something manually creative, do not search “artist” or “art”. Try instead: “creative art,” “illustration,” “painting,” or “gallery.” These will basically bring you to a slue of different positions more relevant than the latter terms. You will easily avoid the “sandwich artist” dilemma.

Another tricky position to find is Marketing. I cannot tell you how many pyramid-schemey jobs post under the identity of “Marketing Manager, Entry Level and Paid Training.”

AVOID THESE. You’ll want to search something more specific than “Marketing jobs.” I have used “marketing assistant” or “director,” “creative assistant” or “director.”

Even if you are unqualified for a “director” position, your search might find a sentence like “…will report to marketing director…” in which case, you are likely qualified. It basically narrows everything down to real offices where you can learn from real people, superiors and peers alike. You can even try searching programs or OSs you’re expert with.

Tip #2: Use Them, Don’t Abuse Them

If you are not using more than one JSE, then you need to start. Seriously. The smaller, homegrown companies typically use one site. How do I know this?


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LinkedIn, is great for larger companies if that is what you want. However, depending on where and what you are looking for, these are less postings.

Indeed, Monster & ZipRecruiter are pretty great for finding smaller companies. In my cross comparisons, I have noticed larger companies tend to post on both of these if not LinkedIn. The point is, most of these are reliable if you can search around the spam.

Craigslist. I know it is not a typical JSE, but sometimes it can present unique opportunities (no, not that kind of unique). Use only as a last resort. Yes, I might be biased because Craigslist is as fucking scary as clowns. Sifting through the perverts and prank posts is a waste of time, unless you are looking got be a nanny or dog walker (which there is nothing wrong with. Kids are great. Dogs are great). Even then, you might get killed. HOWEVER, I have seen unique jobs listed there for which I could not pass applying. It can also give you inspiration. Just use the Craigslist safety zones if you insist.

In short, using more than one JSE will rock your world with opportunities, if you allow a little extra search work.

Tip #3: Pay TF Attention

As I mentioned, going between JSEs can show the same listing on different sites. Make sure you keep track of which jobs you apply to and for which you are most qualified. Keeping track of your most promising opportunities will narrow down your most powerful skills, potentially leading you to a position that can strengthen what you lack.

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Additionally, do not just headline listings before you apply. Often, the posting will specify something that can make or break your opportunity. If they mention wanting someone with a sense of humor, ensure your cover letter is not static and mundane. If it mentions a required/preferred mystery program of which you’re unfamiliar, mention on your resumé or cover letter how easily programs come to you—then familiarize yourself with tutorials on aforementioned mystery program. It will come up in the interview if you make it that far.  

That’s all of my unqualified advice about JSEs…

Therefore, use JSEs wisely: instead of letting them lead you around, lead it around to what you like and see what best suits your interests.

Demand the change you want to see in the job listings. Do not let it defeat you.

At the end of the day, you’re the one selling your skills. You should be the only salesman on your block.


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