Understanding your sector
Understanding your sector

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3 Where are jobs advertised?

There are many ways in which jobs are advertised nowadays, and it can be confusing for the job seeker to navigate their way around them. Much will depend on the sector in which you are seeking work and the type of employer you are targeting. For example, a local electrical company will advertise their vacancies in a different way from a national financial services organisation, and a large charity will adopt different methods of recruitment from a public body such as the NHS.

Activity 4 Identifying where jobs are advertised

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Think of as many avenues as possible through which employers advertise vacancies. How many can you come up with? Start by thinking about how you found out about your last job, or jobs that you have recently applied for. Write these down in either your notebook or the Toolkit [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Comment

The following list is fairly comprehensive. You may have thought of more – if so, well done!

where jobs are where jobs are
  • Employer websites
  • Advertisements in shop windows
  • Professional/trade body websites
  • Sector-specific websites
  • Jobcentres
  • Newspapers – national and local
  • Professional/trade journals
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Executive search agencies
  • College and university careers services
  • Social media, e.g. LinkedIn

It takes some time to work out which are the best sources for your field of interest, but it is well worth your while spending this time. For example, would you look at The Times newspaper – either the paper itself or the online version – every day in case there are any local vacancies for teaching assistants? This is unlikely – you would need to look in other places, probably more locally.

If you can concentrate your efforts on the most appropriate sources, then you are more likely to come across the vacancies that will interest you, and you won’t waste time in fruitless searches of less rewarding avenues. In turn, this will increase your motivation and improve your chances of impressing employers.

Activity 5 Different sources for different types of job

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Look at the five jobs listed below. Think about the results of Activity 4 and use your judgement to work out where you might find vacancies for each job. The first example has been done to guide you.

Table 6 Identifying potential vacancy sources
Job Potential vacancy sources
Retail assistant (large supermarket)
  • Employer websites
  • Shop windows
  • Local newspapers
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Jobcentre Plus
Electrician (local electrical business)
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IT technician (large hospital)
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Accountant (national company)
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Sales manager (regional car parts company)
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Comment

You will probably have come up with a list similar to the one in Table 7, perhaps with some slight variations.

Table 7 Suggested potential vacancy sources
Job Potential vacancy sources
Retail assistant
  • Employer website
  • Shop windows
  • Local newspapers
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Jobcentre Plus
Electrician
  • Employer website
  • Local newspapers
  • Professional/trade journals
  • Professional/trade body websites
  • Sector-specific websites
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Jobcentre Plus
IT technician
  • NHS website
  • National/local newspapers
  • Professional/trade body websites
  • Professional/trade journals
  • Sector-specific websites
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Jobcentre Plus
Accountant
  • Employer website
  • National/local newspapers
  • Professional/trade body websites
  • Professional/trade journals
  • Sector-specific websites
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Executive search agencies
  • College/university careers services
Sales manager
  • Employer website
  • National/local newspapers
  • Professional/trade body websites
  • Professional/trade journals
  • Sector-specific websites
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Executive search agencies
  • College/university careers services

There is no precise correct answer for each case, and much will depend on other factors such as the local job market, the health of the particular sector or the wider economy, the particular requirements of the job and so on. For example if an employer sees that there is, for some reason, a shortage of skilled electricians in the local area then they are likely to look further afield for staff, perhaps using a recruitment agency rather than just the local newspaper.

A good starting point for researching common sources of job advertisements is the OU Careers and Employability Services.

You have now looked at common sources of job vacancies and how these relate to different types of job. In Section 4 you will look at speculative applications and the hidden job market.

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