Getting your resume noticed is everything, and where you share it makes a huge difference. Uploading your resume to a big job board is a start, but many careers have special sites and communities that can give you a leg up on your competition. Let's look at some of the best, based on the field you're in or job you're looking for.
For Management And Information Workers: LinkedIn
Despite our collective eyerolling at LinkedIn and its notification tsunamis, it's still extremely popular, especially with professionals, managers and other corporate decision-makers. When I had lunch with my old CIO -- who went on to found a talent search and recruitment firm -- a few months ago, he reiterated how often people wanted to see LinkedIn profiles for candidates in management, consulting, and even technical fields before bringing them in for interviews.
So when you say "I don't know anyone who actually uses LinkedIn", that may be true among those of us with day-to-day jobs. But when it comes to management, marketing professionals, HR professionals and executives, they're all spending more time at LinkedIn than you might think. If you want to appeal to them to get a job, find out if they're hiring, and see what new projects their companies are taking on, it's an essential place to be.
Luckily, you probably already have a LinkedIn account. You just need to set it up properly, make sure it's optimised for search, include a few well-written testimonials from former colleagues, and coherently explain your skills, accomplishments and the type of work you're looking to do. Learning how recruiters read your LinkedIn profile can teach you a lot too, and it doesn't hurt to keep your profile updated and stay active with your connections. After all, LinkedIn is a social network, and the benefit you get from it is proportional to the time you put into using it to network. Oh, and make sure you enable two-factor authentication on LinkedIn while you're at it.
For Tech, Engineering And Systems Administration: Dice
Dice is more of a traditional job board, but its focus is on technology and engineering. Sure, tech companies looking for managers, project managers and other not-strictly-tech work post openings there too, but the site is a massive community geared towards tech work. In many ways, it's a lot like other popular job sites: you post your resume, fill in your skills, programming languages and certifications to build out an easily-searchable profile, and hope someone contacts you based on it. Then you dig through listings, set up alerts for new jobs that match your skills, and hope your application stands out from the pack. Don't be discouraged -- Dice's tech focus helps narrow the field a little bit, and its communities are valuable for networking.
Speaking of the community, Dice's Talent Communities give you a place to talk to and network with other tech professionals with career interests like yours. For starters, there are groups for people working in cloud computing, big data and data analytics, mobile development, UI/UX design and more. Dice's news page is full of articles that can teach you a thing or two about the industry you're in, or help you land a job in a specific field or at a specific company, and its Career Toolkit is a valuable resource for people just getting their job hunt started (or re-started after a long time.) Also make sure to head over to the Skills Center, which helps demystify some of the terminology and technology you'll see in those job listings.
For Developers, DevOps And Coders: GitHub
Of course, GitHub isn't really a social network, but it is a great place to upload your resume and your projects if you're looking for a job as a developer, engineer or analyst. It's the place to get your projects seen, and while it isn't the only site of its kind, there's a reason GitHub is so popular -- and it's not just the tools they make available for developers. It's also easy to find and interact with other developers as well as their projects, and GitHub pages are great for building out a personal portfolio. Previously mentionedGitHub Resume can help you generate a good-looking resume from your profile, and highlights your knowledge and projects all at the same time.
In this case, the real benefit of being at GitHub is being where everyone else is. When you apply for development jobs and want to show off your programming skills or the tools you've built, sending a link to your GitHub profile is all but a given. GitHub isn't exactly great for networking or conversation (sites with big dev communities, such as LinkedIn, Hacker News and Quora are better for that), and it's not great for actually connecting with people who make hiring decisions, but it is a great place to see other projects, get involved with them and be seen yourself. Sometimes that's the thing that counts.
For Creative Professionals: Behance
If you're a graphic designer, UI/UX designer, digital artist, photographer, fashion designer, architect, illustrator or any other kind of creative professional, Behance is where you'll want to set up your portfolio. The community is huge, and job listings are incorporated into the site, so you can apply with your portfolio and show off your best work as soon as you find an opening. The site makes it easy to build that portfolio, showcase your best work, get other artists and creative professionals in your field to review your portfolio and offer feedback, and to find work that's relevant to you. Similarly, you can discover the work of other artists, network with them, follow them, and even follow the companies or organisations they belong to.
Behance hosts projects and portfolios from around the globe, and many companies and educational institutions have their own special pages on the site you can follow to meet and talk to designers behind the scenes there. Behance's network of sites includes productivity blog 99u, an open API for developers looking to showcase their programming side and more. One look at their testimonials page will tell you why you might want to sign up if you're wondering how you can get noticed, or actually find a job in creative arts. Even if you still have a ways to go before you're ready for a career, think of Behance as the LinkedIn for creative professionals. You want to be there, if for no other reason than that everyone else is, and you'll learn a lot just from participating.
For Media Professionals: MediaBistro
If you're a writer, journalist, blogger, copy or technical writer, or editor, MediaBistro is a great resource. The site is a combination knowledgebase and job board. The site hosts lots of boot camps, online and in-person courses in social media, journalism, copy editing, design, and PR that you can take at any time to boost your skills. Best of all, each class is taught by professionals working in the field you'll learn about. MediaBistro even offers certification programs in subjects like magazine writing, digital project management, and digital marketing so you earn something to show for your hard work.
The MediaBistro job board is one of the site's biggest perks though. It's regularly updated and features openings from media companies large and small looking for everything from bloggers and writers to executive editors and directors. There's even a freelance marketplace for those folks looking to get into writing as a career a little bit at a time (or just not looking for a full-time writing gig). The site is heavily used by media professionals as well, and while there's no social component -- as in, no one to follow or friend, and no one to really network with -- the job board aspect is its biggest strength. Yes, you'll fill in your profile and portfolio and use it to apply to openings that you see, but you'll also see what types of jobs there are in your specific field or location, what skills they require, and you'll have the opportunity to learn those skills.
Don't Forget To Build Your Own Portfolio, And Don't Neglect Social Media
Even with the help of industry-specific sites, you shouldn't neglect to build your own portfolio. You can use a third-party service to build one, or you can take the DIY approcah and build your own. Whichever you do, it's a great idea to have your own portfolio, with a URL you can put on business cards, give to people looking to share the kind of work that you do, or send off to potential employers when you make your case that you have the skills they need on their team. Many of these sites allow you to build your own portfolio, but don't rely entirely on them -- build your own and then link to your profiles at the sites above, so people who find your personal site can then hop right over and see other skills you have. Once you have a great portfolio, here are a few tricks to help make it stand out from the crowd.
Similarly, if you're looking for work, being present and active on social media can be powerful too, especially for certain fields like marketing. You may need to clean up your online presence first, but it's smarter to be there than not, especially given the opportunity those networks give you to connect and talk to people whose work you admire, companies you'd like to work for, or projects you want to get involved in. Of course, how successful you'll be networking with people on traditional social networks depends mostly on the industry you're trying to get into and how savvy you are at professional networking, but I've seen several people get great connections and land incredible leads through Twitter in the past few months alone.
We touched on this in our guide to non-sleazy self-promotion and establishing your online identity: You should be in control of what people find when they look for you, and you should have something to offer so people don't go hunting wildly to connect with you online. Going beyond the big job boards and making sure you're where the action is in your industry is a good start.