There Are Job Sites on the Internet, Part 1

job sites make you submit

There are dozens of job sites on line, but if you’re just starting to rebuild your career, I wouldn’t bother. Here’s why.

When the company I wrote for folded in 1999, I went online and popped over to a well-known job website where I found the position I held for the next 15 years. Really, it couldn’t have been easier. The company wasn’t looking to hire a telecommuter, but they flew me out to L.A. to meet, we worked out a test project, and they hired me.

Today’s Job Sites

In 2012, I was laid off, so I went back online and scoured the job sites for openings. With far more impressive credentials than before, I submitted countless carefully customized cover letters and resumes. From all this, I received a grand total of zero responses in three years. That’s not rejections — that’s any response at all. Was it my age, and/or something else?

There are now dozens of “free” job sites, or “aggregators,” online. Part of my problem, it seems, was that most of the jobs they list aren’t real: Instead they’re just bait to get you to pay a fee to see the site’s best listings. I tried that a couple of times, wasting expensive, unproductive months before canceling my memberships. Lots of these sites are doing nothing but taking advantage of people looking for work — kicking those who are already down. They’re despicable.

Location, Location, or No Location

An additional wrinkle is that most job site search engines seem to be unaware of remote jobs. This is an issue for me in particular because of my far-flung location and my Daddy-Duty responsibilities. You may have read about growth in telecommuting, but my experience is that such positions are rare, and sites that let you search for them are even more so.

Opening for Experienced Drill-Press Operator/Travel Coordinator

Finally, the job market has become so competitive that companies think they can find someone for any crazy position they invent. I’ve rarely seen a position without some unrelated responsibility tacked on. I applied — locally — for a technical writer position that turned out to be a combination technical writer/event-planner position. I tried to get the job, and not surprisingly failed the event-planner part of the skill assessment. I think the position remains unfilled two years later.

The Takeway

So, here’s what I’ve learned about looking for work online. Keep an eye on the websites of companies in which you’re interested by regularly checking their Careers or Jobs pages. That’s where the real opportunities are. And if any of those listings take you to a job aggregator, click away while the clicking’s good.

Another good idea is to join a Facebook group or two for people in your line of work. You may make some friends, and you’ll hear about openings early.

There also seem to be some freelancing sites —and even some apps — where you can advertise yourself and your services with the hope of being found for work by actual clients. These sites take a cut when you get work, which strikes me as more honest, at least. Do they work? I don’t know yet. I’ll tell you what I’ve found in Part 2.

So, hey. If you’ve found a job site that’s worked out for you, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to be wrong this time.

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