Without a doubt, the most accurate, complete, and timely job information for an employer can be obtained on their own website. There's really no debate about it. If you want to see all the jobs go to the employer's website to view them. Why? Let's face it – employers wish to find applicants through their websites as it's (typically) the least expensive methods for hiring new employees. These sites have the most current and accurate job information as they are maintained directly by the employer. As there is little or no cost to include jobs on their own webpage (in place of placing adds on job search engines) all the available jobs are usually posted compared to only the high-profile position.

Just how many jobs are we missing? Well, let's view some examples. We'll select a few employers in the Minneapolis Area. We're going to go with the assumption that Monster is the main job search engine on the world wide web, so we'll compare against it.

The first employer 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 exact same company in Minneapolis and we found 7 posted jobs.

Let's check out slightly smaller company – Plato Learning. They develop education software and are located in Bloomington Minnesota. On their website they have 5 postings in their Bloomington headquarters. An identical search on Monster brings back just one of the openings.

Still not convinced? OK, let's look at a significantly smaller employer – The Minnesota Historical Society. They are a non-profit organization that operates several museums and historical sites in Minnesota, many within the Twin Cities Area. On their website, they have 6 open positions. Monster has none of them.

OK – so that's 3 employers with a total of 37 openings on their own websites. Monster has 8 of them – resulting in we missing over 80% of the available postings! That's a percentage we just can't deal with if we're looking for work (we tried a few other websites like Careerbuilder and Indeed, and the outcome was similarly disappointing).

What's really surprising isn't that we missed 80% of the jobs. The truly surprising part is that employer websites are probably the most overlooked sources of employment info on the web. Practically all employers today employ a website, and on the website they tend to have a Careers or Employment section listing their available openings.

The greatest challenge with using employer websites is finding them in the first place! A lot of people are familiar with a few of the larger employers inside their region, however, there are typically hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds!) more to pick if you happen to know where to look.

So great – their fantastic resource which might be a task to locate. How do we find them? Though there isn't one “master” list of all employers available, there are a number of smaller and targeted lists available on the internet for free. The best place to start is with Google (or insert your favorite search engine here). Use Google to search for employers in your area. You'll likely be able to find several lists online. Depending on the list and the targeted audience, some of the larger companies are probably found on multiple lists. If you're looking for work in a particular city, search for that city's Chamber of Commerce – they will likely have a list of participating members and may even have links to there home page.

The next thing is to use what you find online to start to build your own list. Keep track of employers that interest you and keep adding to it. Notice employers as you drive around town (provided you aren't relocating) and add them to your list. Add employers where friends and relatives work. Look through the classifieds for the newspaper. You'll find that in a very short period of time your list will grow quickly.

When you have a targeted list of employers you'd like to work for, monitoring their career website is one of the best ways to stay current on their openings. A lot of the career sites (especially with the larger employers) will also let you register and receive e-mail alerts when openings in areas you're interested in come available. Check the websites frequently as this is also the place openings are likely to be posted first (before any postings make their was to a job search engine).

Their websites are also great source of finding our more information the organization to see if you'd desire to work there in the first place. It's also beneficial to browse through if/when you land an interview.

Employer web sites: your job search is incomplete without them!

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