How do I most effectively use
April 12, 2006 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out how to use and other job/career sites successfully.

I'm embarking on my first job hunt in 10 years, and I've signed up for to help me with my job search. How has your experience been with Monster and with other job sites (HotJobs, etc.)? Is there a substantial difference between the services offered by the major sites? For now, is it worth paying $300 for a resume/cover letter workover? And do the networking areas of the sites provide fruitful leads? Lots to ask, I know, but I'd love to hear of your experiences with Monster and similar sites. Thanks.
posted by young_simba to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it would help to hear what profession/career you're looking for a job in, and your experience level within that world.
posted by MeetMegan at 5:06 PM on April 12, 2006

Use it well.
posted by sdrawkcab at 5:19 PM on April 12, 2006

For finding, is great: it aggregates all the big universal job boards and most (although not all) of the major specialty boards. The key to using it effectively is establishing daily keyword search agents in many different permutations of keywords and phrases.

For being found, the secrets are searchability and customization.

SEARCHABILITY: load up your basic resume with keywords -- specialized skills and the infamous "action" words showing achievement -- and post it on every general site, and every specialty site for your profession.

CUSTOMIZATION: when you see a job you want to apply to, take your basic resume, and customize it to the specific opportunity, and write a SHORT customized cover letter as well. A good specialized job will draw 100+ applications, a good not-so-specialized job will draw 1000+ applications -- you need to stand out with a focused package or you have no hope.

Because of the need for customization, the investment in a resume / cover letter consultant is generally a waste, unless you need help with the basic skeleton.
posted by MattD at 5:49 PM on April 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

MeetMegan -- I've got more than 20 years of experience in my field, but am considering a career change and need to make a decent living because of financial obligations (as in, a mortgage). I'm juggling a lot of variables, and am most interested in the best ways to get started with one or more online job sites, and which services, if any, are worth paying for.
posted by young_simba at 5:58 PM on April 12, 2006

Personally, I've found that recruiters are a MUCH better avenue than sites like Monster. I'll list my resume on Monster if I'm looking for work, because I know that employers generally troll Monster when looking for employees, but I've found that the personal touch of a recruiter definitely helps things a LOT.
posted by antifuse at 3:07 AM on April 13, 2006

What MattD posted about searchability and customization is very important. Make sure your resume includes all the words that someone looking for someone like you would use in a search. That and professionalism are what's going to get you a job.

I would not pay money for resume tuning, but do get other people to look at your resume and give you feedback, both on the content and the format. Make it comfortable to read, make sure the reader has no problem seeing - within a few seconds - what a rock star you are in your field, make absolutely sure there is not a single typo or mistake anywhere on that document.

I recently filled a position on Monster, and it was a miserable experience. Between the constant "resume blaster" spam I was getting at my contact address and the 75% of respondents who had listed salary requirements double or more what we were paying, most of whom did not read the qualifications, and the crappy formatting of Monster's attached resmes, I was deleting applications for the smallest transgressions. Gear your resume and communications toward people who have chronic headaches and don't give them any excuses to be crankier.

Use a professional email address, and that will put you ahead of a healthy percentage of other applicants, in my experience. I don't care if it's gmail, hotmail, whatever, as long as it's not or I don't want to be able to tell anything about you personally from your email address. Yes, people do that. I am horribly embarrassed for them.

The value of recruiters varies from field to field. In IT, as a job seeker and as an employer, it feels like the recruiting agencies are glutted with freshly-graduated Communications majors getting paid commission-only to mostly place other Communications majors at call centers. If you know anyone who's used a good recruiter lately, talk to them and get a phone number.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:40 AM on April 13, 2006

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