There used to be a time when the job hunt was a lot simpler. Back in the day it used to simply be either a question of responding to adverts placed in newspapers or learning of openings through word of mouth from friends or family members. But now there are many other places to turn to find job openings. This change has come about not just because of the rise of the Internet and its thousands of job sites. It’s also a consequence of what we might call the industrialisation of job hunting. Over the last couple of decades recruitment consultancies and temp agencies have come to play a pivotal role in the process of recruiting employees, and the year-round schedule of careers and employment fairs that tour the country is another important element of this sector. The thing is that when job hunting people often restrict themselves to just a couple of vacancy sources. They find one website that throws up half a dozen or so vacancies that interest them, and from then on that site becomes the only place they go to for job postings. Although this is fully understandable–consulting just one vacancy source can often occupy enough of your time–it does mean that people are often limiting themselves to other opportunities that could actually be closer to what they are really looking for. This is not just a question of having access to more vacancies, but also the fact that no one vacancy source is likely to offer all the opportunities for any single industry. So we’d like to take you through eight potential sources of job openings. You’ll no doubt be familiar with at least a couple of them, but you might not have considered some of the others.
Let’s start with the type of vacancy source that has become probably the most widely used in the UK. There are loads of job sites out there. Some of them are either local or focus on one specific industry, while others cover all sectors and all places. There are two key benefits to these sorts of sites. The first is that new vacancies can go live around the clock, making it a much faster way of finding new vacancies compared to old-fashioned approaches such as adverts in newspapers. The second is that, if the site is big and popular enough, there are likely to be lots of vacancies to search through. This second benefit is a bit of a double-edged sword, however. Lots of vacancies means lots of information to sift through before you find suitable positions. And often it’s the case with job sites that the vacancies stay listed long after the position is closed. There’s little point in applying to a job advert that is more than six months old, unless it specifically states that they are constantly looking for new people. The other issue with job sites is that they’re not always the best source for vacancies for any particular sector. As a rule of thumb, the broader the range of job sectors offered by a site the less likely it is that it is the top source of vacancies for specialist roles. In other words, the most popular job sites might have lots of vacancies for customer-service roles, but not many for marine biologists. So if you’re going for a specialist role, often it’s worth looking beyond the main job sites.
Websites of companies
One useful strategy when job hunting if you have a specific career in mind is to draw up a list of companies within that sector that you’d be willing to work for, and then visiting their own website. The majority of larger companies have a dedicated jobs section, while smaller ones are likely to at least have a contact email for the person responsible for human resources. If you’re feeling cynical about this approach it’s worth bearing in mind that just because a company advertises some roles on a job site this is no guarantee they put all of their vacancies there. So you could be missing out. The great benefit of this strategy is your search will be based around who you want to work for. The downside is that this approach can obviously be more time-consuming than simply going to a job site.
Papers and Magazines
This might seem a bit of a dated way to look for jobs, but it has some merits. Local papers are often a good source of part-time or casual vacancies, so are a great place to look if you’re justlooking for a way to earn some money in a hurry. Specialist newspapers and magazines, meanwhile, will also contain vacancies, and you should at least check them out once if such a publication exists for people working in your sector. Teachers, for example, all know TES as a key vacancy source, and similar publications exist for other sectors as well.
Recruitment Consultants and Temp Agencies
Recruitment consultancies and temp agencies are an increasingly visible presence nowadays on both the web and the High Street. They’re essentially middlemen for companies who need to fill vacancies, but don’t want to use their own resources to undertake the search. Some people swear by recruitment consultancies, while others don’t like them. On the positive side they are very likely to have vacancies in your area in a wide range of sectors. Once you’re registered with a recruitment consultancy they may also continue to put you forward for new vacancies that come their way, meaning that you’re effectively applying for new jobs without having to do anything yourself! The problem, however, is that the fact that they’re an intermediary between you and the employer, which means that whether your vacancy goes forward to the employer is entirely the recruitment consultant’s call. Really a lot depends on the relationship you have with the recruitment consultants themselves. If you’ve impressed them and keep in regular contact with them, you’ll be at the forefront of their mind and therefore they’ll be more likely to contact you if a vacancy comes up in your area.
More and more colleges and universities organise job fairs nowadays. They’re a great way to learn about an industry that you think you might want to work in and the companies that operate within it. You can also learn about specific recruitment schemes they have for graduates or school-leavers. However, job fairs in themselves are more of a one-off thing, and shouldn’t be relied upon for finding out about vacancies, even if your job hunt is going to be based around graduate schemes. It’s unlikely that every employer who might have suitable vacancies will be represented at the job fairs you go to, and it’s certainly always worth checking for other openings elsewhere
Job centres have a bit of a mixed reputation, depending on who you talk to. As the place where people who are registered as job seekers and are receiving unemployment benefit are obliged to go, they are understandably both scrutinised by the media–either to complain of their failings or highlighting current unemployment rates–and often despised by the people who go to them every week. However, job centres certainly do have opportunities, and you shouldn’t rule out using them, especially if your priority is to find work that pays rather than a career opportunity. Another plus point of them is that as a registered job seeker you’ll get assistance from the job centre’s staff in applying for vacancies, as well as access to training opportunities that’ll help you with your quest for a job.
Websites of Bodies Associated With That Skill or Profession
This avenue is overlooked with surprising frequency by young people, presumably because the bodies that regulate professions often keep quite a low profile. But if you’re looking to follow a skilled career, it’s often a great idea to turn to the websites of these bodies. They’re in fact among the most likely people to have vacancies that are relevant for what you’re looking for. If you think about it from the employer’s point of view, it stands to reason that you’re more likely to get suitably qualified candidates from amongst those connected to that job role’s professional body. So even if it means paying a membership fee to that body to access their vacancies, if you’re serious about your career you should definitely consider turning to the professional bodies.
Word of Mouth
You certainly can’t rely on word of mouth to get a job, but in some situations it might just deliver what you are looking for. If you have a friend or relative that either works in a sector that you’d like to be in or for a company you’d like to work for, it’s more than likely they’ll have the inside track on openings that’d be of interest to you. And they’ll also be able to give you a very well informed perspective on what things to cover in your CV and cover letter to maximise your chances of success.