These Internet job-search tips — how to use job (board) sites, utilizing compay career centers, and more — have been gathered from numerous sources throughout Quintessential Careers and organized here for your convenience.
Job-hunting on the Internet should just be a small part of your overall job-search strategy; a slightly larger part if you are in a technical field. Networking is still the most effective job-hunting tool. If you’re interested, you can go to Key Career Networking Resources on the Web.
How can you best identify the keywords to use when searching job-search sites? First, examine your current mix of education, skills, and accomplishments. Make a list of the words and phrases that best describe your strengths. Then, take a look at some of the jobs that interest you. Make a list of some of the common skills that these jobs require. Once you have these two sets of words and phrases, then look for areas of overlap — and focus on the areas where you want your next career move to be. Remember, you do not need to include all your diverse skills sets, only those that you want to continue working with. And don’t ever use words such as “middle management.” No one hires for middle management.
Employers are looking for strategists and leaders who have the skills and expertise to make an impact on the company and improve its performance.
In the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers, Debra Feldman, specialist in cyber-savvy strategic job-search consultations, called the following job sites “MUST VISIT” for job-seekers:
- Quintessential Careers
- DMOZ Open Directory Project
- Google Directory
- College alumni and college Websites
“I would recommend starting with these portal sites and then narrowing the focus to specific industries, geographical niches, trade or professional associations, and special interests,” Feldman advises. “I would tell everyone to get onto a few major general sites and several ones specific to their circumstances for the sake of exposure to any recruiters who might be trolling. However, the likelihood of an offer is better if one pursues his or her own search and does not just answer posted ads.”
Thinking about signing up with a resume blasting service? There are a growing number of resume distribution firms on the Web, and Quintessential Careers partners with the one we feel offers job-seekers the best opportunities. But “resume blasting” should be just one part of a thorough job search — one that includes multiple methods of tracking down job leads — and one that always includes networking. Whether it’s posting your resume on a couple of Web sites or using a blasting service, avail yourself of every avenue of job searching. Certainly blasting your resume to a number of recruiters and employers is one method.
Where can you find more information about the various services? Go to Quintessential Careers and our resume distribution services.
There are critical differences between traditional job-hunting and job-hunting on the Web. For example, an emailed cover letter, while serving the same job-search function, is quite different from a traditional print cover letter. An emailed cover letter should be shorter and more concise, grab the attention of the reader more quickly, and focus on keywords.
An emailed cover letter is generally no more than three paragraphs. The first paragraph identifies the key benefits you can offer the employer — in a dynamic and inviting style. The second paragraph provides the details that support the benefits you mention in the first paragraph. The third paragraph must close the deal by asking for the interview. As in a print cover letter, you should try to identify the hiring manager for the position if it is not listed in the job posting. Contacting the company and asking for the name of the hiring manager will work for many organizations, but some may have privacy policies — or concerns about getting deluged with responses.
Alternative salutations include “Dear Hiring Manager” or by skipping the salutation completely and just starting the letter with “Re: Job Posting XX7783Y.” You can get more tips and advice about writing email cover letters by reading our article, Tips for a Dynamic Email Cover Letter.
Some jobseekers get a false sense of accomplishment by simply uploading or posting their resume or profile on the Web, according to Debra Feldman, specialist in cyber-savvy strategic job-search consultations, in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers. “Until that information intrigues a reader and motivates that individual to take an action designed to move the candidate towards a job goal, one is just marking time by using the Internet. It is a valuable part of the search, and most recruiters will not look at a candidate who isn’t on the Web. Having your resume displayed on certain sites is critical to making sure that you are perceived as credible and knowledgeable,” Feldman advises.
If you’re having a frustrating job search while relying heavily on searching on the Internet, remember that job-hunting on the Web should comprise only about 15-20 percent of your total job-search effort. What else are you doing in trying to find a new position? What about networking? Have you contacted all your family, friends, colleagues, former co-workers and bosses, associates, and just about anyone else you know and told them you are looking for a new job?
Have you contacted your alma mater and networked with the alumni offices, your old professors, and the career services offices? What about the local chapter of the professional organization for your field? If you’re not a member, join and start networking! What about cold calling and finding hidden job opportunities? Read more in our article, Cold Calling: A Time-Tested Method of Job-Hunting.
Have you looked into temping — either as a way to get back on your feet or as a way to get your foot in the door? Read this article: Temping Offers a Way to Build Your Resume — and Much More. Are you spending enough time with your job search and are you following up ALL your job leads? Take the time to chase down every job lead.
If you are still unsure about what the problem is with your job search, read our article: Ten Questions to Ask Yourself if You Still Haven’t Found a Job.
Because communication is growing increasingly global, a person’s career network can include persons from a much larger geographic area, observed career development therapist Janet Scarborough in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers. “This expansion can be really exciting and fun. I would not have met [QuintZine editor] Kathy Hansen, for instance, if I had not participated in ProfessionalJobTalk, a networking forum for career-development professionals. The Internet also offers a tremendous opportunity for free agents and entrepreneurs to sell their products and services directly to consumers. When I first began my career counseling practice, I built a simple Web site. Most of my first clients found me via the Web. It was a rewarding, inexpensive way for me to start my business,” Scarborough notes.
Here’s a tip for following up an e-mailed resume submission to a company’s Website. In their syndicated column, Kate Wendleton and Dale Dauten advise mailing a hard-copy version of your resume and cover letter as a follow up to an online submission through the employer’s site. “As it nears the time to actually make the decision about whom to interview,” Dauten writes, “paper has the advantages: Managers can easily take a stack of resumes to lunch or on a bus; they can circle items of interest or make notes right on the resume; the person leading the hiring can sit with colleagues and look together at the candidates’ qualifications; and finally, many hiring managers will use resumes in interviews.” Dauten adds that mailing a paper version ensures that the resume will arrive looking the way you intended, “while having both versions circulating can only improve your chances of your resume ending up in front of the right pair of eyes.”
The Internet is “outrageously helpful” for job-seekers, said Debra Feldman, specialist in cyber-savvy strategic job-search consultations, in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers. “There is no better way to get publicly accessible information as easily or as inexpensively,” Feldman says. “The Web contains vast amounts of data that can provide leads, spur ideas, enhance knowledge and maintain or start communication. Networking is the key to finding a new job, and the Internet plays an essential role in this endeavor.”
If you’re undaunted by these stats and would like a convenient avenue for checking out company career Websites, visit The Quintessential Directory of Company Career Centers.
Business Week reports a job-seeker trend toward using smaller, niche job-seeking sites to find jobs better tailored to the the job-seeker’s skills than the vast array of listings at sites such as Monster.com. “Many savvy job-seekers… find their time is better spent zeroing in on job boards with more focused listings. There they don’t go through cumbersome procedure to post a resume, and they have more control over what their resume looks like… Another attraction: Niche sites seem to have a higher percentage of mid- and upper-management jobs than the giant job boards,” writes Alex Salkever in Business Week.
You locate many of these niche job boards on Quintessential Careers: Industry-Specific Job Sites.
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Don’t put all your job-hunting eggs in the Internet basket. Job-hunting on the Net should be only a small part of your job search, as should chasing want ads. Spend the bulk of your time is identifying employer prospects and designing a direct-mail and networking plan to help you land a job in one of the companies. Network with former coworkers and other professionals in your field.
When looking for a job out of state, it is a good idea to check out the local colleges’ career-planning Websites, advised career counselor Doris Flaherty in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers. “As always, some Web sites are more informative than others, but I usually come up with several good leads for the geographical area of interest. Any college usually has more focus on its surrounding area since the majority of the graduates will find work there,” Flaherty says.
Worried about confidentiality when you post your resume online? There certainly is validity to wanting to be discreet about job-hunting when you are currently employed. You wouldn’t want your current employer to do a search for a position and get your resume from one of these job sites. The good news is that many job boards offer you a confidentiality option — thus your resume is still out there getting viewed, but you control who actually knows it is your resume. A few other job sites even allow you to block your resume from going to certain companies, thus allowing no chance that your current employer will see your resume.
A major myth about job-hunting is that the Internet has created a climate in which a passive job searcher can post his/her resume on Friday and wait for the offers to come rolling in on Monday, according to career development therapist Janet Scarborough in the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers. “This kind of response happens only for persons with highly marketable skills and a documented track record of success using those skills. For most people, there still exists the need to build relationships to increase the probability of being in the right place at the right time to land the best job for you.
The ability to network online is a great boon to job-seekers, according to Marcia Merrill, career advisor at Loyola College, MD. In the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers, Merrill noted that job-hunters can join a discussion group or read a newsgroup on a topic of their choice. Looking at http://groups.google.com or Topica provides a list of numerous newsgroups or discussion lists that the job-seeker can join. “Establishing an ‘Internet presence’ by posting on a discussion list (after learning the rules of ‘Netiquette’ one should follow for posting a message or reply) facilitates others getting to know you and your area of interest/expertise,” Merrill says. “Often you can connect with an employer and feel that you ‘know’ each other before having actually met; the interview might be more of a formality if you’ve exchanged ideas online before.”
We’ve heard from job-seekers who are worried about listing their unlisted phone numbers on resumes and cover letters. Some are even concerned that employers have sold phone numbers to telemarketers. We have a hard time believing that any company would sell this information to telemarketers, but even if they did, most experts would agree that when you are job-hunting, you cannot place any obstacles in your path. If you leave off your phone number, you risk missing out on some opportunities. If you are concerned about unwanted phone calls, you may want to get a screening device, such as an answering machine, voicemail, or Caller ID.
Job-hunting in the future will see an increase in services offering double-blind confidentiality, according to author Donald Asher. In the Q&A interview Asher did with Quintessential Careers, he noted that “There is no question that job-seekers will want to be ‘on the Web’ at all times, but will want to have their identity protected from their own employers and casual snoopers. This is the trend already, but it will accelerate.”
Applying to jobs online? When you are looking for a job, make everything you do easy for the employer. If the employer has to spend more time on your application than on others, guess what? He or she won’t; he or she will simply move on to the next applicant. Make cover letters and resumes sent over the Internet as easy as possible for employers so they’ll consider your application. Always send your cover letter and resume as unformatted text within the email message as well as formatted as attachments. If you don’t provide both options, you risk not being considered. Why? Because some employers only want text, while others request formatted attachments. Still others don’t open attachments for fear of viruses or other security reasons, and some may not be able to open your attachments because of software incompatibilities. For guidelines to follow on text-based resumes, read our article, How to Write Job-Search Text Resumes.
Don’t put all your faith in the Internet, but don’t abandon it either. Examine some job sites that you haven’t looked at before or look for sites that specifically target either your location or your profession. You can find the best collection of these resources at: Quintessential Careers: Job Resources.
The most disturbing trend in job-hunting today, according to Marcia Merrill, career advisor at Loyola College, MD, is “the belief that all a job hunter has to do is to post his/her resume ‘out there’ on a Web site or several Web sites and just wait for the employers to line up.” In the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers, Merrill said: “Other avenues are often forgotten or overlooked. The Internet is a tool — not the only thing! Networking with alumni/ae professionals, internship employers, friends, associates, contacts from any source is one of the best ways to get a job or valuable information that can lead to a job opportunity. We know that all positions aren’t advertised; the statistic is something like 70-80 percent of positions are found through the ‘Hidden Job Market.’ The Internet is one way of establishing that networking relationship. I think people in general want the ‘quick fix’ and see the Internet as THE job-search solution, which NO one way is. Interviewing on campus through your career center (if you’re a student) and using the job listings available in the career library, posting your resume to employer Web sites, researching companies that are in your field/geographic preference/industry, by using the Internet and resource materials, looking in the newspaper classifieds — ALL are viable methods of job searching.”
Looking for a job is a job itself. Make sure you are doing a complete job search. The Internet should be just one part of your job search. Make sure your resume is posted at all the best (and free) job sites. Answering want ads and job postings can be another part of your job search, but the percentage of people who actually get jobs from this method is small (about 5 percent). Developing a list of companies you want to work for and contacting them directly should be a key part of your search. Contacting recruitment or headhunter agencies, if your field has such companies, is another method.
Finally, networking should help. Talk with former co-workers about possible positions. And does your profession have a professional organization? If so, network with people within your organization. See How People Get Their Jobs.
Job-hunting on the Internet can be a little daunting because of the vast number of resources available. Where to begin? Our article, Strategies for Finding Employment on the Internet can help, as can our tutorial on Job-hunting on the Internet.
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