While the popularity of online job boards puts millions of jobs at one’s fingertips, it has also made the job applicant pool that much bigger. For this reason, national job search sites and the Internet as a whole have gotten a bad rap from some industry professionals as an ineffective job seeker tool; on the contrary, the Internet actually can be a great resource for job seekers — they just need to know how to use it.
When it comes to a fruitful online job search, successful job seekers follow these 10 guidelines.
1. If you build it, they can come.
Instead of simply posting your résumé on a Web site, take it one step further and design an easily-navigable Web site or online portfolio where recruiters can view your body of work, read about your goals and obtain contact information.
2. Check yourself to make sure you haven’t wrecked yourself.
Google yourself to see what comes up — and what potential employers will see if they do the same. If you don’t like what you find, it’s time to do damage control.
3. Narrow your options.
Many job boards offer filters to help users refine their search results more quickly. You should have the option to narrow your job search by region, industry and duration, and, oftentimes, you can narrow it even more by keywords, company names, experience needed and salary.
4. Go directly to the source.
Instead of just applying for the posted job opening, one of the best strategies to finding a job is to first figure out where you want to work, target that company or industry and then contact the hiring manager. Also, many employers’ career pages invite visitors to fill out candidate profiles, describing their background, jobs of interest, salary requirements and other preferences.
5. Find your niche with industry Web sites.
Refine your search even more by visiting your industry’s national or regional Web site, where you can find jobs in your field that might not appear on a national job board. More and more employers are advertising jobs on these sites in hopes of getting a bigger pool of qualified applicants.
6. Try online recruiters.
Recruiters will help match you with jobs that meet your specific skills and needs. Not sure where to start? Sites such as recruiterlink.com, onlinerecruitersdirectory.com, searchfirm.com and i-recruit.com provide links to online headhunters for job seekers.
7. Utilize video résumés.
Video résumés are just one more way to stand out to employers. Intended as supplements to — not replacements for — traditional résumés, video résumés allow job seekers to showcase a little bit of their personalities and highlight one or two points of interest on their résumés.
8. Run queries.
You run searches on everything else, from your high school sweetheart to low-fat recipes, so why not jobs? Enter a query that describes the exact kind of job you’re seeking and you may find more resources you wouldn’t find otherwise (but be prepared to do some sorting).
9. Utilize job alerts.
Most job boards have features that allow you to sign up to receive e-mail alerts about newly available jobs that match your chosen criteria. Or go a step further and arrange an RSS (really simple syndication) feed from one of these job sites to appear on your customized Internet homepage or your PC’s news-reader software.
10. Get connected.
How many times have you been told that it’s not what you know, but who you know? Thanks to the emergence of professional networking sites like LinkedIn.com, job seekers no longer have to rely on the old standby of exchanging business cards with strangers. These sites are composed of millions of industry professionals and allow you to connect with people you know and the people they know and so forth. (A word of caution: When you sign up for online social networking sites, you are in a public domain. Unless you are able to put a filter on some of your information, nothing is private, and it can be difficult to erase once it is posted.)