When it comes to looking for security contracting jobs, you need all the help you can get for staying up to date with what jobs are out there. You also need to be able to react quickly to job announcements. So any tools and procedures that can help you do that, should definitely be used for your job search strategy.
Now of course there are the basic methods that most guys use, like perusing the forums/FB groups, signing up for job list subscriptions, asking around within their networks (personal and online), and checking out the various job boards/career pages and sites. But when it comes to doing a search efficiently and with speed, it can be kind of time consuming.
The other factor is that some job announcements operate on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. I can recount at least two of my contracts that I got, purely because I answered the job ad so fast. Recruiters, if presented a large pool of candidates that are generally the same, will often just go down the list as they get those submissions. And if those recruiters are on a tight schedule where they have to deploy guys ‘yesterday’, then they have no time to waste. They just go right down the list and start calling and emailing folks. So it pays to be quick on the draw when it comes finding jobs and responding to them.
So how do I make this process faster and more efficient? Well one tool I use is called an RSS reader.(Specifically one made by Feedly) RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it is a tool that bloggers/journalists/researchers use to receive and process lots of information with. And the really cool thing about an RSS reader is that you can set them up to give you updates as they are sent out by the various blogs and sites. Meaning as soon as someone posts something, it is sent out immediately to the RSS feed, which if you have that RSS feed link in your RSS reader, then you will get that post.
How does this apply to job searches? Well, next time you are at a jobs website or a career page, look for a little graphic in the corner or somewhere on the page that says RSS. They will look like these icons.(see top graphic)
Put your cursor over it and copy it. Then paste that link into your RSS reader search engine, and when it comes up, put it in a category that is applicable. When I find a cool jobs RSS related feed or interesting website, I will put it into my Feedly RSS reader. I set my reader to update immediately.
What happens next is that every time that site posts a new job, that post is sent out to all of the RSS feeds. Meaning you will get that job posting as soon as it is posted, and you will see it in your RSS reader just waiting to be read. What is even cooler is that you can set up an RSS reader on your smart phone or tablet, and check your reader on the go.
I find myself checking my Feedly online and on my smart phone all the time. But if I do not check it and mark it as ‘read’, then it just stays in the hopper until I do read it. So if I am away for awhile or do not have access to the internet, I will still have a nice collection of materials to read at my leisure. You can keep all those posts in your reader as well and just mark them as read. I don’t delete that stuff because sometimes I will go back and re-read stuff.
You can also share those posts on social media, or do emails, thanks to the tabs included with most readers. I do this every day for blogging and social media sharing, and it is how I keep up to date with the news of the industry. It is also how I keep up to date with jobs.
Once you build an RSS reader, you will find yourself constantly looking for RSS feeds (post feeds, comments feeds, etc.) and URLs to put into the thing. Look everywhere for them, and also know that sometimes you can just put the URL for the site into the reader and it might recognize that site and it’s feeds. Play around with it and you will see what I mean. It is a fantastic tool and it will dramatically expand your ability to efficiently process the information that is out there. Here is a list of all the job boards/sites I have in my reader, complete with links to the feeds/URLs. Definitely put these guys in your reader.
I personally use Feedly and it is a great reader. I also used Google’s RSS reader, but that closed down and after some research I ended up at Feedly. There are other RSS readers out there and they all do the same thing with various bells and whistles. Below I will leave a great tutorial on how to set up a Feedly account.
Enjoy and happy hunting! –Matt