Wikipedia defines research as, "Research is defined as human activity based on intellectual application in the investigation of matter. The primary purpose for applied research is discovering, interpreting, and the development of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge on a wide variety of scientific matters of our world and the universe. Research can use the scientific method, but need not do so."
In other words, research is finding out stuff we don't currently know in a focused, disciplined way. For those of us looking for work, it's our life blood.
We all know that the job boards are less than rewarding route for getting interviews, at least in today's economy, so what's our alternative? That's what and why we research. A couple of tools that are important in this are http://www.indeed.com/ and Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en ).
Indeed allows you to search a ton of job boards without spending 12 hours a day. I know, I know, I just said that job boards aren't the answer, but they are due diligence, and they are a constant source of information. It is very possible to find something where you do have a connection, and that connection will help you get to the interview, and something more than 25% of the people being hired, do go through job boards, so they count. Indeed is a tool for this to be an efficient process.
So what do you have Indeed search for? A particular job title? maybe. How about a company? That might work as well. How about using a key word search? That’s my suggestion. For example: I’m looking for a job as the Director of IT for a moderately sized company, say 500+/- employees. What my search is set up for is “information systems” and “information technology” (with quotes) and within 25 miles of zip code 98117. The reason is that there are at least a dozen titles that translate to Director of IT, but pretty much all of them will have one of those two phrases written out in them. I was sent two emails this morning that in combination identified 63 new jobs posted that fit my criteria. Of those, at least 60 don’t matter to me, but a few do. Today there was a position titled: “Data Center Operations Lead”, a title I never would have thought of, but which I do want to investigate.
The question becomes what would you look up that will point you to relevant opportunities? What word or phrase will highlight potential opportunities for you?
Now for something that is even less direct, but has more potential. Google Alerts . There’s an earlier post on Google Alerts, Adam Green commented on it and added a URL to his Google Alerts tutorial.
Google Alerts searches the web for new posts that meet the criteria you set up. The key question you need to establish criteria for your search is having enough stuff to make it useful, but not so much that nothing is found. Think of it as a google search run every day for new stuff based on your criteria. For example, if I search for my name, “Steve Paul”, I get almost 100,000 hits. If I add Seattle, it’s down to 2600, add 98117 and it’s down to 19 hits, all of them about a local divorce attorney (not me). Using “Stephen Paul” Seattle 98117 – I get 117 and several are about me.
My point is that using google alerts is likely to be a bit of a trial and error process. It is very easy to be overwhelmed, so as too much info comes in be prepared to cut back and modify until there is a useful result.