One year ago, I was spending the majority of my days glued to my computer screen, scrolling through job sites and recording the application processes on an Excel sheet that some may have called neurotic. I was a month out of college and trying to find my first post-grad job.
If nothing else, this period of time taught me a lot about the process of searching for a job. Although sites like Monster and Indeed and online application forums facilitate an easier submission process than the one that existed before the internet, job searching can still feel tedious and difficult. And it’s impossible to know if you’ve scoured the right sources to find the kind of job for which you’re looking.
Using a monitoring service during your next job search can provide another useful tool to assist in landing your dream job.
Monitoring your job search
Using monitoring tools can streamline the process of looking for a job. Rather than searching through a variety of sites, monitoring tools can bring job postings to a single dashboard for your review. Monitoring tools search hundreds of thousands of sites, as well as social posts from certain channels, and collect and store coverage.
Finding the right tools
Monitoring tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes—and prices. Some tools, namely Google Alerts, don’t charge users to create keywords to track coverage. This could be the best decision for this specific use, as it is a short-term project conducted by an individual rather than ongoing efforts from a business.
Paid monitoring services, however, are also an option. Those that offer memberships on a monthly basis, rather than by a yearly subscription requirement, could be a good option if you’re looking for more comprehensive coverage, as well as a team of customer service representatives who can assist with crafting keywords to capture the most relevant content.
Depending on the monitoring tool you select, it may not have the functionality to return results to your main dashboard from searchable sites like Indeed and Monster, causing you to miss important opportunities. Results from these job listings can potentially be retrieved, however, via an RSS feed. Having a team on call would assist in pulling results from these sites that could otherwise be missed.
Crafting the right keywords
Some monitoring tools offer a full Boolean search to let users customize their keywords by specifying terms to include and simultaneously excluding terms that would alter the accuracy of results. Free monitoring tools such as Google Alerts typically don’t offer Boolean searches, so for those tools that lack that search functionality, setting up multiple keywords could help to collect a larger variety of relevant postings.
Additionally, if a candidate has an interest in being employed by a specific company, keywords could be setup to monitor announcements of job postings from those companies. Although candidates could continually check back on the site of the company they had an interest in, monitoring tools have the ability to provide almost immediate updates upon the postings of new positions, giving the candidates the advantage of applying as soon as they receive the update. Monitoring a specific company’s job openings could be a particularly good candidate for creating an RSS feed of new postings.
Don’t neglect Twitter
The Twitter accounts of PR agencies and blogs that post about job openings often use hashtags to share information about available positions.
“PRJobs,” for example, is frequently used in posts about job openings in the PR industry. Creating a keyword with this hashtag will collect these mentions on your monitoring tool’s dashboard, providing easy access to posts with information about new openings and links to applications.
Monitor for job postings from PR blogs
Although not every monitoring tool can collect mentions from job boards like Indeed and Monster, many PR blogs publish weekly lists of available positions, and these sources can be monitored. (Media Bullseye, for example, posts a job list every Friday.)
Creating keywords with the names of specific blogs that regularly publish this type of list and specifying the keywords with terms related to job searching will return lists of jobs relevant to your search.
Rate the coverage
Once your tool has gathered a day’s worth of content, it is important to review the results. Some monitoring tools have functionality that allows users to rate clips. Rating the posts that pique your interest as positive makes it easier to differentiate the postings that warrant filling out an application. You’ll also be able to delete unwanted posts if keywords return jobs you’re uninterested in or irrelevant content.
Monitoring to research new jobs
Once you have a running list of positions you’re ready to apply to, it’s important to do a little research. Deciding to change jobs is a big decision, so it’s necessary to examine companies to ensure the new opportunity will fulfill expectations. Additionally, studying before an interview facilitates greater success.
Monitoring tools can assist candidates with the research process by collecting information on prospective companies prior to interviews and the acceptance of new positions.
Learn about companies
Considering you’ll spend about 40 hours each week in your office, you want to ensure you’re joining a company that has values you share and an environment you don’t dread being around.
A job description provides a comprehensive overview of expected day-to-day job functions and responsibilities, but information about the company culture can be more difficult to gather prior to starting a role.
Monitoring companies you’re applying to, however, collects information about their reputation, culture, and employees’ impressions. Craft keywords to include the company’s name and social handles, as well as terms and partial phrases that are often mentioned when discussing happenings within a company, especially those that invoke emotions, as it is common for employee messaging to have an emotive undertone when discussing occurrences at their job.
Tracking their mentions on Twitter can be especially important in this case, as past and present employees can share unfiltered personal opinions about the company. If you’re looking for an engaged workplace that promotes team building, posts about company-wide volunteer days or holiday celebrations would indicate a good fit between yourself and the company.
Preparing for interviews
Arriving to an interview without at least checking out a company’s website, blog, and/or social accounts usually doesn’t bode well. Having some knowledge on the company’s history, values, and business strategies contributes to a better conversation during the interview.
Setting up keywords with terms related to the company’s name, the name of their social accounts and/or blogs, and terms associated with news or announcements will provide a variety of content to read up on prior to sitting down for an interview.
Rather than scouring the company’s various online locations, your keywords will collect appropriate content and deliver it to your dashboard. Being able to reference a company announcement made on their social accounts or discuss how you could contribute to their content strategy after reading some of their blog posts could boost your applicant profile.
Although it may take a bit of work and keyword refining during the initial setup, implementing monitoring tools to your job search ensures relevant postings to be brought to you and allows you to research the companies posting opportunities. Next time you’re in the searching process, monitor your way to your next job.