Finding vacancies - using online job boards to apply for jobs
The Internet has replaced newspapers and trade journals as the major source of advertised vacancies, and nowadays they carry a lot less job adverts than they used to.
Indeed, the newspaper or the journal will usually refer you to an online job board, where many more vacancies are listed. An example is Thursday’s Yorkshire Post, which has just a page or two of job adverts and refers you to Yorkshire Jobs Today
Other online job boards include:
A huge database of vacancies. To benefit from the full range of features offered by UJ, you will need to create an account. To do so you must have an email address and a Government Gateway account. If you don't already have a Government Gateway account you will need to create one during the process of registration for UJ. You must make a careful note of your Government Gateway ID and password as you will need it to log in to UJ on subsequent occasions.
A job ad ‘aggregator’ which allows you to search many different job boards at once
Another site that searches many job boards at once
A comprehensive job ad ‘aggregator’ with over 500,000 live vacancies pulled together from every major (e.g. Guardian, TotalJobs, Jobsrapido, Prospects) and niche (NHS, BBC, Apple) job board.
Find jobs with the City Council and local schools.
Leeds Jobcentre Plus tweets a selection of local job vacancies.
Find out how an Apprenticeship could work for you, and find the right vacancy.
If you don’t have access to the Internet at home, you can get it at Leeds Central Library and the branch libraries. Please bring along your library card or some ID in order to use these facilities. Alternatively, you may have friends or relatives who are happy to let you use their computers.
Job boards will allow you to search for vacancies within a certain distance and / or by specific job sectors. It’s important that you are able to check them regularly so that you don’t miss an opportunity.
To get the best out of online job boards, you will need to register with them and upload (attach) your CV to your account. Employers are increasingly searching these uploaded CVs to find suitable candidates. By registering with online job boards, building a personal profile detailing your skills, and uploading your latest CV, you are advertising yourself to these employers. Once you’re registered with a job board, you can also receive regular emails showing the latest jobs that match your skills and experience.
To register with an online job board you will need to have an email account. Because you’ll be using your email address to communicate with companies, don’t make up a joky address but instead use your name. If someone else has already selected this address, you will need to try some variations of your name to find one that is available, for example, if joe.bloggs is taken, try joe_bloggs or combine your name with a relevant date or number, e.g. joe_bloggs2013 For a strong password use a combination of letters, numbers and characters. But bear in mind that you need to be able to remember it! If you have difficulty understanding computers, the Internet and email, Leeds Library Service runs a programme of learning sessions to help you get the most out of them.
To register with an online job board you will also need to have your CV ready in ‘electronic format’ rather than just in printed form. It will have to be saved as an electronic document (known as a ‘file’) on your own computer, on a portable ‘memory stick’ and / or saved in your email account.
If you get an adviser or a friend to help you with your CV, always make sure that they save it in one or other of these ways rather than just printing it out. Otherwise you may have to get it typed all over again when you want to upload it to a job board, email it to an employer, or update it!
When you have registered with a job board [such as Universal Jobmatch], completed your profile to describe your skills, and uploaded your CV, you can then begin to use it to search for vacancies.
Once you have found a position that interests you and matches your skills and experience, you will often be able, with a click of the ‘Apply’ button, to automatically send your CV to the company, organisation, or recruitment agency which is advertising the vacancy.
Sometimes an advert will, instead, display an email address to which you must email your CV (along with a ‘covering message’), or a telephone number with which to contact the employer.
Sometimes, clicking the ‘Apply’ button will take you to the website of the company, organisation or agency which is advertising the vacancy and you will then need to register with their website and complete their online application process. You will still need the information which your CV contains, and you may also be asked to upload your CV at some point during the process.
Here’s a list of the information you will need to have ready in order to create another personal profile and complete the online application process, just as you would when writing a CV (although application forms tend to ask for more information than is usually included in a CV):
- Your contact details, address, telephone number(s), email address.
- Education - names of schools / colleges attended and the dates you started and left, subjects studied, exam results with dates, qualifications gained.
- Details of any training you have done - who provided the training, what the courses covered, any tests taken, certificates awarded, etc.
- Names and full postal addresses of current and / or previous employers or work experience placements and the starting and finishing dates of your employment, as well as reason(s) for leaving. You will probably also need their phone numbers and your managers’ names.
- Your job titles, details of your roles, key responsibilities and the skills you gained.
The job description and the research you have done on the company to which you are applying will help you to identify the specific skills, experience and qualities that the employer is looking for. Emphasise that you possess those particular attributes by giving examples of how and when you have demonstrated them.
To keep your examples focused, try the STAR approach, as you would in an interview. First, describe the Situation that you were in and the Tasks that you needed to undertake. Set the scene, say what needed to be done, and why. Then describe the Actions you took – explain why you made certain decisions, what you did and the skills you used. Finally, what were the Results? How were they measured? How did you improve the situation? In what ways did you help the company or organisation? What did you learn? What would you do differently next time?
What we’ve said in the section on CVs about using ‘action words’ to start sentences and being consistent in the use of tenses, also applies when completing application forms. However, while it is better to use the third person when writing a CV, it is usual to use the first person, i.e. I and My, when completing application forms:
· My experience of ..... proved useful when .....
· I was responsible for ..... when .....
· I was involved with .....
· I supported ..... during .....
· A sound knowledge of ..... was demonstrated by my .....
· I work well as a member of a team because .....
· In my previous/current job/role I most enjoy(ed) the .....
· I am able to plan my workload, for instance, when .....
· I can work to tight deadlines, for example, when .....
· I have used my knowledge of ..... to develop .....
- You will also need contact details of two people who will give you good references. Check with them first! (It is usual for application forms to include such information, whereas in a CV you would put References available on request.)
- There will also be several employment eligibility questions, such as:
· Can you demonstrate that you are eligible to work in the UK
· Can you work for a minimum of 16 hours a week?
· Are you available to work late nights and early mornings?
· Are you available to work weekends?
· Do you have any unspent criminal convictions?
Application forms come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the employer and the type of job for which you are applying, and will include a variety of questions or requests for differing amounts of information.
Many retailers’ websites, for example, will ask you to answer 'killer questions’ as part of the application process. These give you a choice of answers and are designed to find out how you would deal with customers and colleagues in a number of hypothetical situations. You may also be asked questions which test your numeracy and problem solving skills. Only if you get above a certain score will you be allowed to continue with the application. So take your time and think carefully before you opt for a particular answer!
You may then have to provide a statement, similar to a covering letter, on ‘why you want to apply for the job’. You should be able to copy and paste relevant sentences from a previous covering letter or email as a starting point, although you will probably have to do some rearranging (or ‘reformatting’) of the text so that it looks right.
Don’t be surprised if an online application takes a couple of hours and a lot of concentration to complete. Give yourself plenty of time and make sure you won’t be disturbed, particularly if the form doesn’t have a ‘save and come back later’ facility, as you will have to complete it in one go. Make sure that all sections of the form are completed fully and that you avoid silly mistakes, such as spelling errors or inaccurate dates. Usually the process won’t allow you to proceed to the next section in the online form unless you respond in some way to each question, so, if any question does not apply to you, put Not Applicable (or N/A).
If possible, you could first word process what you want to put into the online form and then, when you are happy with it, ‘copy and paste’ the text into the online form. This way you can avoid mistakes and keep a copy of what you’ve sent so that you can adapt it for further applications and use it to prepare for an interview. This is important as some completed online forms are difficult or impossible to print out.
Finally, when you have completed all the sections you can hit the ‘Apply’ button.
You will probably be emailed automatically to indicate that they have received your application
Remember - if your application is successful and the company or organisation wants you to attend an interview, or be available for an initial telephone interview, they will probably choose to let you know by email, so make sure you check your email account every day, otherwise you might miss an invitation to an interview!
# Top tip: make a note of User IDs and Passwords! When you open your email account and each time you register with a job site or the job section of a company’s website, you will end up with another website address, User ID and Password to remember. If you forget them, a lot of time will be wasted. It’s a good idea to carefully write all of these details down in a small notebook and, once you’ve learned how to use your email account, also put them in an email which you send to yourself. This is all part of being organized when job searching!