Who has the job opportunity you want? An employer.
All you have to do (all!) is find that employer.
You don't want to be job hunting again very soon. Instead, focusing on specific ("target") employers will make your job search more effective and, hopefully, shorter.
An I'll-take-any-job-any-where approach is useless now because too many jobs are visible.
Consequently, you waste time and energy applying without a list of target employers -- places where you think you'd like to work.
You MUST be focused to be found, and you MUST be found to be hired!
Based on your work experience, you probably have a good idea of employers you want to avoid.
To develop your list of target employers, determine what kind of employers would make you happier and more successful in your work.
Use that information to develop your criteria for the best employer for your next job:
Search Google/Bing, the local Chamber of Commerce member list, local news, and other sources (more below) to discover potential employers to consider (or avoid) for your next job.
Be sure to know and use the right keywords for your target employers and target jobs. To learn more about your keywords, read the Guide to Personal SEO for details.
To find large and well-known (or growing) employers, scan the lists published by major publications. Usually, the location is provided, or you can search by state:
Then, use search to find employers that interest you in these directories:
Finally, of course, use Google and Bing, but not, perhaps, the way that you usually use them to find things.
Leverage the map search function that both search engines offer so you can find small or less well-known employers than the lists contain. These often include employers you may not know about.
The hundreds of thousands of small employers, combined, typically hire more people than the large employers.
Both Google Maps and Bing Maps will usually open to your location -- a little creepy, but also very handy for a local search. If you want a different location, specify that location, and the map will adapt.
Click on the image below to see live search results on Google Maps.
Bing and Google don't necessarily find the same results, so it is a good idea to check both. The image below is from the same search on Bing Maps. Click on the image to see the live results.
The sites above offer you starting points and opportunities to find employers you hadn't considered before.
Visit the websites of your target employers.
Often, job openings are listed on the employer website, and they may NOT be posted anywhere else.
Not every employer or Web team “gets it” about using the Website for recruiting. But, every day, more catch on. Hospitals, medical centers, and 99% of the Fortune 500 post jobs on their Websites, and 95% of the Fortune 500 offer obvious links to their job opportunities on their home pages.
Many times the link to "Jobs" or "Careers" or even an invitation to "Join Us" are in the very top of the employer's home page, or on the very bottom. But, sometimes, the location of the job listings is not obvious.
No obvious links to jobs you can see anywhere? Don't give up yet!
When you know the name of the employers you want, search engines like Google and Bing should help you find their websites. Search for the employer's domain name (Amazon.com, Microsoft.com, Whitehouse.gov, Harvard.edu, are domain names), and then search the employer's website with a search engine.
For example, assuming that Apple is one of your target employers and you can't find jobs posted on the Apple site, type one of the following queries into Google or Bing:
site:apple.com (jobs OR careers)
site:apple.com (~jobs OR ~careers)
Replace Apple's domain name (apple.com) in the searches above with the domain name of your target employer to find jobs at the employers you want.
For more on using Google to find jobs, including an explanation of the Google search queries above (like why and how to use a "site:" search), see the "Google-ize Your Job Search" article for more tips on using Google effectively.
As long as you are visiting employer websites, look around them. You should be able to find a lot of information that you can successfully leverage to stand out from other job seekers, and that's one of the keys to job search success today.
Learn how to leverage the information in the next article --
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.