8 Common Job Agent Mistakes

Posted by Rob Riggins

Job AgentIf you’re looking for a new job – either actively or passively – a Job Agent or Job Alert can be one of your most efficient job search tools. A Job Agent emails you daily job opportunities based on your selection criteria. That saves you time to spend on other aspects of your job search.

The trick is to make your job agents as effective as possible. And there are “tricks” to creating these searches. If you haven’t read our article, 4 Tips for More Effective ClearedJobs.Net Search, you might want to start there.

If your Job Agent is not set up properly, you may have a false sense of security thinking that your agents are behind the scenes doing the work for you. Instead you might be missing out on jobs that could be a good fit.

Job Agents on ClearedJobs.NetDon’t Set Up A Job Agent the Way You Search

If you are doing a keyword search, you have the option to refine the results by choosing options that appear to the left of your search results. That means you can do a broad search and then refine to target your priorities more closely. It’s that refined search that you want to use to create a Job Agent.

Unfortunately most of the Job Agents we see on our site are too broad to be effective. Job Agent emails are limited to 25 search results per day. That could mean that terrific opportunities are not hitting your inbox. Be sure you have refined your agents using targeted keywords, security clearance and geography. If you are looking across multiple locations, you should consider creating several Job Agents based on desired geography.

8 Common Job Agent Mistakes

Based on our review of job seeker Job Agents, these are the most common mistakes:

Mistaking the Job Agent name for the keyword field. Giving your Job Agent a name doesn’t mean you have selected keywords for the Agent to search. If you name your Job Agent Logistics, you still need to enter Logistics as a keyword for the search.

Including a Zip Code but not a Zip Code radius. If you haven’t selected a Zip Code radius but you do have a Zip Code selected, it defaults to 20 miles. If that’s too wide a geographic area for you, consider changing it to a 5 or 10-mile radius.

Job Agents with keywords, but no geographic overlay. Depending on the keywords this is probably going to bring way too many search results. Remember daily Job Agent emails are limited to 25 search results. There are cleared positions across the country, so choosing a geographic overlay is a good practice. And optimally choose a centrally-located Zip Code with a mileage radius vs. choosing an entire state.

Not using quotation marks with a search phrase. We’ve already suggested you review 4 Tips for More Effective ClearedJobs.Net Job Search, but a common error is searching on a phrase such as “Homeland Security” without using quotation marks. The problem is you get back way, way too many results for an effective Job Agent.

Using commas or other punctuation to separate keywords. Don’t use punctuation in Job Agents, other than quotation marks to indicate search phrases such as “Java Developer” or parentheses to create a series of options such as “Java Developer” AND (Unix OR Linux).

Searching on just a security clearance. Don’t search solely on a security clearance unless you have really restricted the associated geographic area. For example a search for TS/SCI + full scope polygraph in Virginia or Maryland is going to return too many results to be effective, while a similar search in Florida or Texas is manageable. While the search results are manageable, they may not be specific to your skills without a keyword overlay.

Searching on just a State. If the state you select is Maryland or Virginia there will be too many results. Most other states would return a manageable number of search results, but without further refinement with keywords or clearance this isn’t likely to be a search that matches your skills.

Using words with multiple meanings. Deployed is a good example. Deployed doesn’t just mean working overseas. You deploy software. New technologies are deployed. Review your Job Agents to see if your keywords have meanings other than what you intended and refine accordingly.

You Still Need to Log In

When recruiters search a job seeker database their search results come back in reverse chronological order. So if you haven’t logged in to your job seeker account in 6 months you may be way back in their search results.

To be top of mind with recruiters and at the top of their search results, log in on a regular basis such as weekly or monthly. That updates the date associated with your job seeker account, and lets recruiters know you’re actively seeking a new position.

We Can Help You

Don’t struggle with whether you’ve set up your Job Agent properly or not. Send your Job Agent to us and we’ll make sure it’s optimized for the results you seek.


This entry was posted on Monday, July 24, 2017 6:17 pm

2 thoughts on “8 Common Job Agent Mistakes”

  1. I’m not a US citizen nor living in US, do I still need to fill in the zip code box?

    How likely I’ve a chance to find a career through you?

    1. Hi Firas, thank you for your question. You need to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for the jobs that are posted on ClearedJobs.Net. Good luck in your job search!

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