Got a Search Agent?
March 31, 2010
Got a search agent? Make sure it's working for you, not against you!
What's a Search Agent?
A search agent is a simple query of current job listings and interview opportunities that you can set up to run at your convenience. You can automate your search agent to alert you to opportunities that fit your criteria. If you have a well-constructed automated search agent, you are less likely to miss deadlines because you'll get regular email reminders to log in to your account and apply.
Anything that can speed up and organize your job search is good, right? Not quite. If you set up your search agent incorrectly, you will definitely miss opportunities! At the end of last quarter, a student who came in for help with his job search said, "I know the economy's bad and there haven't been any jobs for my major, but I wonder if you can help me anyway." As it turned out, although he was correct about the economy, a good number of employers are still coming to ECS to hire. Unfortunately, since he had set up his search agent incorrectly, he missed dozens of opportunities.
How to set up a comprehensive search agent:
1. In your job search account, click on ‘JOBS' in the task bar. Click the ‘Advanced Search' tab.
2. Check the box in front of ‘save as' and type in a name for your agent. For example, you might create a search for All ME co-op & intern jobs.
3. In the ‘show me' field, select ‘all jobs and interviews.'
4. Skip the ‘posting date' and ‘key words' fields for now.
5. Select your major from the drop-down menu. You can select more than one major by holding down the ctrl key while clicking. [If you are a FABE major with a machinery focus, for example, you might want to check both FABE and ME.]
6. Click the position type[s] you're currently seeking.
7. Skip the other fields, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the ‘submit' button.
This is a basic search agent. Although it's basic, it's effective, since it will give you the most comprehensive results. You can run your search agent at any time by going to the ‘Search Agents' tab and clicking ‘run' in the options column.
Setting up a specialized search agent:
In addition to your primary comprehensive search agent, you can set up any number of specialized agents using the "Key words" field. Keep in mind that key word searches are somewhat helpful but unreliable. You could easily miss a particular job that may actually fit your interests if the specific key word you entered isn't in the job title or description. For example, if you enter sales as the key word, but the description uses the word marketing instead, that marketing job won't show up in your results. Similarly, if you enter automotive in the key word field and the description says automobile or truck or vehicle, that job won't show up in your results.
To set up a specialized search, follow the steps above - except for step #4, enter the key word for a specialized interest.
Automating your search agent to keep your job search on track:
This is a handy feature, since everyone can use a reminder from time to time!
1. Once you have set up a search agent and clicked ‘submit', click on the ‘Search agents' tab in the JOBS section to schedule it to run automatically.
2. Click the ‘Schedule' box in the options column.
3. Click ‘yes' to enable your agent.
4. Select a frequency. [Recommended: Day for ‘period' and 3 or 4 for ‘multiple.' ]
5. Keep the default answer as ‘no' when asked ‘Include only new results?'
Now your search agent will run every 3 [or 4] days and will send you an email to remind you to log in to your account to apply for jobs and interviews. This will help you keep your job search on track, no matter how busy you are!
As always, if you have questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 292-6651 to schedule a personal consultation.
"Don't waste time learning the 'tricks of the trade.' Instead, learn the trade."
-Attributed to both James Charlton and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Authored by Rosemary Hill.