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How to feed your job search
Most of the time looking for work involves active searching — entering the right terms into search engines, scouting countless sites for ads that may correspond to the kind of work that you’d be able to excel at. It’s a lot of work, looking for work. But imagine looking for a job and getting customized job alerts delivered right to your computer screen without you having to bother to actively look — after all you can’t spend your entire day Googling around (okay, you can but you probably don’t want to) till you hit gold. Instead, the gold can just magically appear once it gets posted online and you’ll know right away that it’s there. You can do this via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) on feed readers such as Google Reader where the alerts can deliver content right into your inbox.
Assess it then RSS it
Although not a new application (around since about 1999), RSS delivers web content via something called a feed reader. According to Wikipedia, “The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work [content], downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds. RSS allows users to avoid manually inspecting all of the websites they are interested in, and instead subscribe to websites such that all new content is pushed onto their browsers when it becomes available.”
RSS allows you to save time by automatically picking out the information from the sites that interest you — in this case, job alerts or any content related to career. Time Atlas lists other benefits of using RSS feeds:
- The feeds work in a variety of feed readers.
- You can read the feed when it suits you.
- You don’t have to give anyone your email address.
- You can unsubscribe.
- They’re free.
As for feed readers, once you download them (for free), they can simply be an icon on your desktop that downloads all the information that you’ve subscribed to. You can read it (the accumulated, downloaded information) at your convenience. There are many feed readers you can choose to install. For example, What Is RSS lists Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows — integrates with Outlook). The What Is RSS site explains that, “[o]nce you have your feed reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your feed reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.”
Alert your inbox
Another way of having job postings (and career-related items) delivered to you is via alerts, for example through Google. By entering a keyword term you can get relevant items in your inbox on a regular basis through a search engine. Here’s an example:
Google - go to Google Alerts and enter the terms in the search query, for example, “administrative assistant, jobs, Toronto” (you can be more specific by entering the name of the company you’re thinking of working at or entering the name of the employment site — like Workopolis — where this job posting may appear). Next you fill out where you want the jobs to come from — blogs, news sites, discussions, etc. — in the result type box. Follow this by specifying how often you want the alert to be delivered, how many results and finally, enter your email address where the results should appear. I use Google Alerts all the time to find articles and news on “career” and “employment” (my search terms), for example.
Most if not all job sites have the alerts option set up — you can subscribe to it as soon as you register for the site and provide your email address. An example of this type of service can be seen at Charity Village, a popular job site for nonprofit and like-minded professionals.
Check out Service Canada’s RSS service to see how you can sign up for free job alerts as soon as they come up in the career area and the city and province of your choice. It’s also important to note that you can get job alerts from specific companies that you target if they have the job alerts option. You can also subscribe to the alerts to simply be able to follow the news about the company that you’re after so that you can be aware of situations such as planned job openings, department cuts and expansions, and so on. If you ever make it to the interview, such insider knowledge will demonstrate how well you’d fit in the company and how diligent you are with your research.
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