New Plugin: Jobs & Experts, More Than Just a Jobs Board
If your WordPress site sits at the heart of any community then it will benefit from WPMU Dev’s latest plugin, Jobs & Experts. How do we know? Because it’s based on our own Jobs & Pros feature on this very website.
Jobs & Experts makes it easy to connect members of your community who have a need with members who have the expertise. Not only will this benefit the community but it will also help cement your site as the go to destination.
Let’s take a closer look at Jobs & Experts: it’s more than just a jobs board.
Jobs & Experts is like having two highly specialized directories, one for Jobs and one for Experts, integrated into the same plugin, allowing searching, browsing, saving (to a list) and adding of new items.
Experts can also be liked, allowing for social ranking: a key trust-building tool.
All this functionality is available on the front-end via the Jobs & Experts landing page making it a self-contained feature that is easy to integrate into an existing site or spin off into a dedicated sub-domain in a Multisite installation.
When you install Jobs & Experts it will work perfectly well out-of-the-box. The only task you’ll need to do is add the Jobs & Experts landing page – created by the plugin and conveniently titled “Jobs & Experts” – to your site’s navigation.
There are, though, a number of configurations you can make to tailor the plugin to your own requirements:
- Icon selection – Dark, bright or none
- Currency – Select which currency job budgets will be listed in, the placement of the currency symbol and whether to use decimal places in budget values
Helpful Tip: Not seeing the icons on a local install?
The icons are all SVG and it may well be that your local server is not set up to serve SVG files.
To fix this, add the following to the top of the .htacces file in the root folder of your WordPress installation:
AddType image/svg+xml svg
AddType image/svg+xml svgz
The General Settings page also gives you access to a number of add-ons, which bring more advanced functionality to Jobs & Experts.
When you are testing Jobs & Experts then you’ll find the two demo data add-ons invaluable. in fact, I’ve used the demo data to produce the screenshots for this post.
You can also turn Jobs & Experts’ virtual pages into real WordPress pages if you’d prefer (useful if you want to use a page template, for example, or re-structure the page hierarchy) and tinker with custom layouts for Jobs and Experts listing pages.
Another fantastic add-on is the ability for internal messaging between expert and client without having to share email address. This feature also allows you to send attachments with your messages.
The Landing Page
This is the public front door to the Jobs & Experts directories and functions to add new Jobs and Experts.
Shortcodes are used to generate the page and can be tailored: the default button labels can be overridden and the number of Jobs and Experts displayed can be specified.
Jobs is where members of your community can post jobs that they need completing.
Browsing & Searching Jobs
The Jobs listing displays a paged list of job summaries in a grid, which is configurable if you activate the Custom Layout add-on in the plugin’s settings in the Admin interface.
The Jobs can either be searched with a standard keyword search, or an add-on activated advanced search that provides filters for price (budget) range, job category as well as control over how the results are ordered, for example, by end date.
When you click on a Job title, you’ll soon discover that the individual Job entry contains plenty of detail, including:
- Job budget
- When the Job listing expires
- Preferred completion date for the Job
- Detailed description
- Skills required
- Sample and supporting files – these can be any files that can be uploaded to your WordPress site, such as a specification in PDF format.
The Job details also contains the all important Contact button. Clicking this button brings up a contact form, allowing site visitors to respond to the job poster.
The notification generated by the contact form is fully configurable in the Job Settings with a host of variables provided to embed dynamic information into the notification.
Adding New Jobs
New Jobs can be added both in the Admin interface and in the public interface. In all likelihood, you’ll want to let your community create their own Jobs as the easier the process and quicker the response, the more likely it is to be used and the more popular it will become.
Not that it’s a free-for-all. The plugin will only let members of the site add new Jobs – so you might want to think about adding extra controls to the sign-up process.
You can also choose to approve new Jobs before they are published which, if the number of new Jobs is manageable, might be an alternative to tighter sign-up controls.
Whatever the case, it’s probably a good idea to add some rules about job posting to your site.
The Experts component enables those in your community to showcase their expertise and to be contacted.
Finding An Expert
The Experts listing page lists gravatars, with a nice mouseover effect that overlays a short bio of the expert along with their total views and likes.
The grid layout is configurable via the Custom Layout add-on.
As with the Jobs listing, there is a basic search function but the Advanced Search (activated via the Advanced Search add-on) provides real power by allowing site visitors to search by location and skill and choose the ordering of the results (name, most popular, most likes).
The Experts details page provides for a comprehensive profile, including skills (with rating) and links to social profiles.
Like Jobs, Experts can also load Sample Files which is an excellent way to showcase a portfolio.
Adding An Expert
Experts can be added in both the Admin interface and on the public site and the controls are the same as for Jobs: only site members can add Experts and site administrators can determine whether they need to approve new Experts before they are accessible.
The Experts profile also has a Contact button which uses the same configurable notification as the Jobs contact form. Something to remember, perhaps, when you are editing the notification text.
Jobs, Experts Or Jobs & Experts?
Whilst the plugin adds two highly functional and usable directories to your WordPress site, there’s actually no requirement to use both. If you just want to utilize one component that’s fine because you have full control over the page design.
Only interested in having a highly functional, searchable directory of detailed Experts profiles for your community? It’s a 2 minute job to delete the Jobs & Experts landing page, remove the Jobs related shortcodes from the page menus and add an Experts item to your main menu.
Whether it’s just Jobs, Experts or both, the Jobs & Experts plugin from WPMU DEV provides the kind of functionality that can turn your site into the domain’s go-to destination.
Why not download Jobs & Experts today? If you’re not already one of our awesome members, join WPMU DEV to download the latest version of Jobs & Experts and get access to 140+ other plugins and themes.