When it comes to careers, who doesn't need a little help? It's not just the 14.6 million unemployed, but the millions of employed who are stuck in comatose companies or dead-end jobs. While there are plenty of websites that have useful information for job seekers today, many people still look to the web largely to find job openings. Here are seven sites that stand out for their intelligence, niche, data, or usefulness, rather than their job listings:
Fistful of Talent: Reading the posts on this blog is like listening to a lunchroom full of human resources professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters talk about their likes, dislikes, and strategies. You'll learn things like how recruiters find candidates online, the kinds of questions they like, or their worries about the recruiting process. Sample tip: "A while ago, [SimplyHired] instituted a LinkedIn button. It used to be hidden under their 'more' options, but now it has a prominent display at the top of your job search results. So if I run a search for a recruiting job and connect my LinkedIn network I can quickly see who I 'know' at all of the companies that return posting results. And guess what? Now there's a Facebook button."
Seeking Alpha: This website graciously transcribes public companies' earnings conference calls. That allows you to brush up on all the crucial, timely details about the company you really want to work for, giving you the kind of insight that can elevate a cover letter or interview. The more you know a company, the more hiring managers will feel your pursuit is a targeted one. And they like to be targeted. If you were, say, applying for a job at J.M. Smucker, you could listen to their most recent conference call and learn that sales of their new premium jam—made of "the best fruit" and 100 percent sugar—are exceeding expectations, and that marketing spending this next fiscal year will match last year's record marketing spending. Whether it seems relevant to the position or not, building a foundation of up-to-date knowledge is critical.
Careers at Alltop: This aggregator of topical RSS feeds puts an army of well-known career bloggers (including U.S. News Outside Voices contributors) right in front of you. Career expert Anita Bruzzese might give you a lesson in how to network without hating it. Career coach Marty Nemko will teach you how to cope with self-loathing. The folks at Careerbuilder's Work Buzz blog will keep you updated on companies that are hiring. While you're there, you might check out other Alltop pages relevant to your work.
[Bookmark the U.S. News Careers page for more top job advice.]
CareerDiva: Eve Tahmincioglu describes her site as "the thinking man or woman's career blog." But even if you're not much of thinker, her advice will make you smarter, in part because she has her nose in the news. If you're short on time, just click on the "Getting Hired" tag. You'll find hundreds of posts to help you along, or answer some of the trickier questions of job hunting. For example, if you're wondering how to dress for an interview, you might consider removing or turning around the enormous rock on your finger. You'll look more serious.
Facebook: OK, this is more of an app than a site. But this site allows you to mix work with pleasure and mimic more natural and traditional styles of networking. Presumably, you have hundreds of friends all over the country and most of them have listed their current and past employers in their profiles, or "Info" tabs. If you use an application like that offered by SimplyHired, you'll be able to search for jobs where your friends work and ping them for extra information on the company, or ask for the name of the person who's hiring so you can contact them directly.
[See what hiring managers want.]
Indeed's Job Trends: Wondering what kind of positions are growing in demand? You can search any term to see the growth in percentage of posts that include the term. The kind of words that are showing up in an increasing number of posts: Facebook, iPhone, virtualization, social media. It's an inexact science—take a closer look at the kind of job postings that include the word "Facebook" and you'll find that many are either at Facebook or from staffing companies encouraging job seekers to find them on Facebook. But "virtualization"-riddled job postings are for IT positions, through and through. Bonus trend charts: job postings per capita, job market competition, and industry employment trends.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: This site is a bit of a beast, but it's incredibly useful. To start, hover your mouse over the Employment tab on the left, and click on "Employment Projections" in the drop-down menu. The most straightforward data is in the tables that start at the middle of the page. You can see the list of the projected fastest-growing occupations (physical therapists, biomedical engineers, dental hygienists, etc.) and occupations with the biggest declines (farmers and ranchers, file clerks, telemarketers, etc.). Back on the homepage, you'll see a tab indicating resources for job seekers on the left. Click it. You'll find a library of information on topics such as educational requirements for occupations that interest you. Say you're a restaurant manager and you want to move to California. You can search "occupational employment and wages by area" and find that the greatest number (by far) of foodservice jobs in the state are in Los Angeles, but the highest hourly wages are in Napa.