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You Should Be Checking Job Postings—Even if You’re Not Job Hunting

why you should be checking job postings
Matt Hudgins
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Published on March 16, 2015

Checking job postings can be boring. It can be monotonous. Exhausting. Mind-numbing. Discouraging. Scary. Confusing. Overwhelming.

And yet, whether you’re looking for job #1 or #20, this task will likely be an important part of the hunt. After all, the benefit of checking listings is easily understood for those actively seeking employment: it’s how you get a job! But what if you’re already happily employed? What if you can’t see yourself changing companies or roles anytime in the foreseeable future?

You should still check job postings. Every week. Here’s why:

Help out your network
Regularly checking job postings allows you to be a valuable resource for those in your professional network. By keeping an eye on which companies and industries are hiring, what roles are opening up, and what skills and experience employers are looking for, you can provide real and actionable advice to your friends, family, and professional connections.

Have a friend who just graduated college or a family member who was recently laid off? Show them you genuinely care about their success by doing more than just offering support during their job hunt; instead, offer them a custom curated list of jobs you’ve come across in your weekly scan of postings. This gesture will be greatly appreciated by those in your network and will position you as a trusted expert in your field. And who knows, it may pay off in the future if you need help with your career and your network can be there to return the favor. If you don’t want to rely on the possibility of this happening, though, you can still regularly check job postings to…

Help your own career
Perhaps the most obvious reason to check job postings is to help find your next career move when you’re between jobs or ready for a new one. But there are also a few less-than-obvious benefits to keeping an eye on job postings, even when you’re gainfully employed:

Prepare for the future: Even the most seemingly secure careers include a certain level of risk and uncertainty. You never know when your company could lose an important client or account, re-organize, go through a merger or acquisition, or move away from a function that your role is directly tied to. Does this mean you should constantly worry about losing your current job and aggressively look for back-ups? No. But it doesn’t hurt to scan listings in your field from time to time. Doing so will give you a rough idea of what to expect when it comes time to apply for new jobs. It will also help you…

Find out what skills you need: In an increasingly competitive workforce, job requirements and responsibilities are constantly shifting. For example, traditionally low-tech roles likes sales are becoming more and more dependent on data analytics and CRM software like Salesforce. Knowing what skills, software, and experience is expected of professionals in your industry will help you stay relevant and competitive when it comes time to apply for a new position. Similarly, if you’re thinking of shifting roles or industries, staying on top of current hiring trends will give you a better idea of what tools you need in your toolkit to be a more competitive applicant. Consider setting a Google Alert in your job search so you won’t fall behind on your research.

Acquire business intelligence
If you’re a professional anomaly who for some reason doesn’t see the need to advance the careers of your peers or of yourself, you can still find substantial value in checking job postings on a regular basis. Why? Because doing so will give you exclusive business intelligence on your competitors, partners, peers, clients, suppliers, customers, and agencies. After all, significant hiring trends reflect important moments in the life of a business: its expansion into new markets, introduction of new products or services, outsourcing or insourcing of professional services, major capital investments, etc.

Seeing that a rival firm is hiring dozens of engineers in Seattle, for instance, indicates the company may be expanding its product line or opening a new office. Noticing an increase in postings for “data scientists” or “design evangelists” at companies similar to your own could indicate a growing need for new roles. If for no other reason, regularly checking job postings will help you see how different companies position themselves, communicate their values and benefits, and compete for fresh talent.

Should you spend multiple hours each week looking at job postings? Not at all. Should you look for jobs while you’re at work? DEAR GOD PLEASE NO. But by checking postings on a regular basis, you could be helping out your own career, the careers of your peers, and the competitive strength of your company. At the very least, checking job postings will allow you to remain relevant and informed throughout your career.

Matt Hudgins

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