It's Labor Day Weekend, which marks a time of new beginnings for many as schools start back up around the country. Speaking of new beginnings, we thought it would be a good time to share some helpful tips on looking for a job online.
Gone are the days of getting the morning paper, scouring through and circling ads, making phone calls and mailing resumes. These are the days of online portfolios, professional profiles, emailing resumes, automated job searches and online networking.
If you’re looking for a job and not using online tools, you’re missing out. You need to utilize the tools that are out there from company websites, to professional networking sites, to job search sites, to social media tools.
You need to have an online strategy.
First and foremost, use the web to keep up on your field. Whatever your profession is, I’m sure there’s a blog or site out there that will help you keep up on the most current trends. I’m in social media, so I check sites like Mashable and Social Media Today all the time. I follow companies and professionals on Facebook and Twitter, I read blogs, I follow the news, and I follow job related groups on LinkedIn.
You need to have a profile on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is like a super interactive online resume. LinkedIn allows you to network with friends, professionals, and companies. You can also interact with groups that are oriented towards your career or personal interests. LinkedIn also has a great job search feature that will return relevant jobs based on your interests, and past searches. Many employers allow you to apply to posted jobs via LinkedIn, where you can apply at the click of a button with a saved resume or cover letter. LinkedIn is free, but does have a premium service that offers more options. Honestly, I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn, and have never needed more than the free tools they offer.
There are a ton of online job search sites out there. The beauty here is that many of the job sites allow you to create detailed profiles. You need a complete profile, as you’ll show up in job searches made on the site. Most of these sites also allow you to store multiple resumes and cover letters. I’ve worked in social media, instructional design, marketing, and tech writing. I have a slightly modified resume for each. Many times you can apply to a job by clicking a button on the site.
The best job sites also allow you to set up job agents. These are basically saved searches that are very customizable. You can even receive emails of your search results, click embedded links and go straight to jobs. The challenge is to dial these agents in to get the results you want, but not to be too narrow as to exclude yourself. A bit of flexibility is the key.
I really like indeed.com right now, basically a big job search engine. Monster.com is still the king, sending over great results all the time. I also like dice.com, and careerbulider.com. There are a ton of other sites out there, but these are the ones I use the most.
There are also a number of agencies online right now that can help you find jobs. Some do charge for their fees, so make sure you check them out. Most of the agencies will have you create a profile and have internal postings available. Some I’ve had success with include Aquent, and Vitamin T.
You’ll find that company websites are great job search tools as well. Besides information on the company, most sites will post current openings, and allow you to apply online. Many companies even use profile based job submission tools where you can create a profile, store resumes, and set up job searches. Check company websites and keep up on those you’re interested in!
Twitter and Facebook can also help you find jobs. I tend to keep my Facebook a little more personal and private, but many companies now have Facebook profiles, a lot of recruiters are active on Facebook, and many companies are active on Facebook. Twitter is the same; you’ll find a lot of recruiters on there, a lot of job posting accounts, and a lot of company information.
Sure, online job searching makes things easier, but still keep common sense techniques in mind when job hunting. You’re still putting your best foot out there. You need to look professional. Remember that anything you put out there on any of your various social media profiles is possibly accessible by potential employers.
Have different copies of resumes and cover letters, but also be willing to tailor them a bit for the job you’re applying for. Don’t sound TOO generic. Employers want to know you’re interested in their company and have done some research.
Track your applications as well. Most of the online sites allow you to do this, but it’s also a good idea to keep your own list or spreadsheet. You don’t want to apply to the same job more than once!
Always check with your personal contacts when looking for work as well. You never know who might know about something somewhere that would be a good fit for you. Also, use tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to network with contacts at the company you’d like to work for. Many recruiters or hiring managers are open to contact and can provide some advice. If you apply for something and can actually get in contact with someone that works there, or someone in your LinkedIn network, it can help.
The best advice for finding a job online is to keep networking. Social media and the web are great for networking. Keep in touch with people you’ve worked with, and worked for. Help them out if they need help, and they’ll be there to help you out. I’ve had many jobs, contracts and side projects come through because of a connection that’s usually a friend I used to work with. I always try to help my friends and connections too, and have helped many find new jobs.
These tools and strategies have worked for me, what’s worked for you?
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