But looking for a job is a job in and of itself. Aside from all the work that comes with editing a résumé, writing a cover letter, preparing for interview questions, and gathering references, there's finding a position you want and need in the first place. Doing that is both easier and more tedious than ever with all of the sites that proliferate.
There are more generalist options such as Monster, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor (which have a mix of sheer volume, reviews, and social networks built in), to more specific ones that cater to age groups, like WayUp, or industries and fields, such as Idealist. Ironically, one tool that can help you narrow your search is Google.
That might not seem apparent, as the search engine is often the place where you dump your half-formed and random questions. However, after its launch last summer, Google's job search function has become a tool that can aggregate the best of other sites, using some of what it already knows about you to tailor the results. Here are three quick ways to make your job search even easier using it.
1. If You're Looking To Stay Close
People with a longer professional track record or who have a certain degree of stability are often more comfortable seeking jobs farther afield. But whether you want to stay exactly where you are or go halfway across the world, location is a likely a key factor in your search, says Nick Zakrasek, the product manager for Google's job search feature.
"[People] generally tend to prefer jobs that are closer, to ones that are further away from where they're looking," he explains. "We also see a lot people who are entry-level — maybe they have moved, are coming out of school, or are trying to get their first job — and we’ve tried to make it easy for those folks to focus on the things that matter to them."
In his experience, what tends to matter is a desire to not move for an entry-level job, or ensure that a certain commute time is both doable and manageable. Hence, search (perhaps unsurprisingly) is integrated with Google Maps. If you have ever tried to find out how long it would take to meet a friend by cab, car, or train when running late, you've probably already stored your home and/or work address in Google Maps. In this case, doing the same will help enhance your job search.
"If you’ve stored your home location with Google Maps, this feature will automatically calculate the commute time for you to any job that lists its location," Zakrasek explains.
2. If You're All About The Money
There is nothing wrong with being focused on your potential paycheck when looking for a job. You likely have bills to pay, loans to pay back, and a roof you need to keep over your head. Plus, on the lighter side of things, fun isn't always free and funding your off-the-clock pursuits will require cash.
When you are deeper in the throes of the job process — say, interviewing or negotiating — you'll want to do your best to get reliable, up-to-date salary information. That can come from acquaintances who have worked there recently, industry data, or even government stats. But at the preliminary stages, most people cobble together a basic idea of a job's salary using various job sites. Google job search can help get estimates for those figures, even if the listing you like doesn't include that salary.
"What we've done is work with sites across the web like Glassdoor, PayScale, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter, and provided a surface for them to show all of their salary estimates alongside jobs," Zakrasek says. "Before, if you found a really cool job that spoke to you, you would have to do separate research on each of these sites to figure out what the estimated pay might be. What Google is doing is using an algorithm to find the most relevant salary estimates for that job title, even though on the web they're not connected at all."
For example, he explains, search could pull up a job listing through Monster that provides salary estimates from Glassdoor or PayScale — making your job hunt a lot less tedious at the outset. Not to mention, much more financially beneficial. He adds that the best way to get this information is still from an employer, but in the absence of that knowledge — especially in the beginning of the search — at least give yourself a ballpark to play around in.
3. If You Don't Know Exactly What You're Looking For
There is the type of person who has always known what she has wanted to "be," how to get there, what classes to take, what internships and roles to apply for, and what path to embark on to make it. Then, there is the type of person who is just as passionate about her interests, but can only describe that work by how it makes her feel. You know — "I just want a job where I can ____, and that lets me _____. You know?!" Many of us have been there in our careers.
There's no shame in not knowing exactly what you want to do. What is more important than berating yourself is to see what's out there, and then do something. If you aren't exactly sure what career you want, but have a better idea of the kind of job you need based on your current circumstances, you can use filters on Google job search (as you would on most sites these days) to get more specific.
"Some sites focus on professionals, other sites focus on people looking for remote work. At Google, we want to serve everybody as best we can," Zakrasek says. "We see a lot of queries where people look at jobs for 16 year olds. We also see a lot of people looking for jobs for career change. They type in really broad queries like jobs in Houston. That could mean anything, and we’ve designed this to be flexible."
If you fall into a broad category, keep moving forward and sort by category in the bar at the top. There are nonprofit jobs, for-profit gigs, entry-level positions, and mid-level career options for those transitioning. Start here, and let your curiosity — and increased focus — be your guide.