When most of us think of an online job search, we think of the big job search engines like Monster or CareerBuilder. And with good reason, these sites are the undisputed heavyweight of online job searches. They are popular, have high visibility nationwide, and have a huge volume and diversity of job postings. On top of that, most have additional job and career resources such as sample resumes, job forums, and company research. All of this is also free! Really good reasons to use these sites in your job search.
Wow – sounds great. If these big job search websites are so fantastic why would we ever go anywhere else? Great question. In fact, plenty of people don’t go anywhere else. Many a job-seeker will solely pound the big search sites daily looking for matching (or somewhat matching?) jobs. Their entire job search is 15 minutes every morning on Monster.com. The upside to this approach is it’s very, very easy. The downside to this approach is that it’s very, very easy.
There are thousands of job posting posted on these websites and probably even some matching jobs for your specific search. However, if you only look at one or two websites you’re likely missing a ton of great jobs that may be the perfect match for you. Here’s why: Employers typically have to pay to post an opening. The likelihood of an employer posting all of their jobs at Monster or CareerBuilder is tiny – in fact it not happening. Instead, they may post a portion of their high-profile or high-need openings. So, if your ‘perfect’ job isn’t one of them, you won’t find it and may settle for a job that’s not ideal and be looking again in a year.
Another issue with the this approach is that because of their popularity, some employers decide not to (directly) post their openings on these sites. Why is that? Well, think about how difficult it is to post for an open position online. It’s really easy. There’s no resume or cover letter to print and no stamp to buy. In fact, it’s close to free (depending if you want to include the cost of getting online – which could also be free at school or a library – or even work). Because of this, it’s easy to apply for jobs you’re a great match for, but it’s just as easy to apply for jobs that you’re somewhat a match for, and just as easy to apply for jobs that you have no business applying for. So an employer can be overwhelmed with hundreds or even thousands of applicants and has to sift through the resumes to find the true matching applicants.
One of the answers to this is that instead of posting the opening themselves an employer would work through a staffing agency. The downside to the employer in this approach is that they need to pay the agency. The downside to the job-seeker is that you’ll likely not know the actual employer for the open position – instead it would be posted under the agency name. The other downside is that, because the employer has to pay again, they probably won’t be posting all their openings.
So let’s take a look at a couple examples. Let’s choose a couple of employers in the Minneapolis Area and we will use Monster for our tests. We’re going to go under the assumption that the best indication of the ‘true’ number of jobs they have open are found on their own company website. We believe this is true because there’s little cost to them posting all their open positions on their own site.
The first employer we’ll look at is General Mills. They’re a very familiar Fortune 500 Employer headquartered in Minneapolis. On their website, we searched for all open positions in Minneapolis and we returned 26 jobs. Next we went to Monster and searched for the same company in Minneapolis and we found 7 posted jobs.
Let’s take a look at a little smaller company – Plato Learning. They develop education software and are located in Bloomington, MN. On their website they have 5 postings in their Bloomington headquarters. The same search on Monster brings back just one of the openings.
Still not convinced? OK, let’s look at a much smaller employer – The Minnesota Historical Society. They are a non-profit organization that operates several museums and historical sites in Minnesota, many in the Twin Cities Area. On their website, they have 6 open positions. Monster has none of them.