The internet has become essential to finding a job, with 79% of job hunters using online resources in their most recent job search, according to a November 2015 report from the Pew Research Center. With so many jobs being advertised online, and so many being hired from online postings, it pays to know your way around an online job search. Here's what you need to know to find, and land, that dream job posted online.
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Know Where to Look
You can't find the jobs if you don't know where to look. Start with aggregate sites like Monster.com, Workopolis.com, Jobs.com, Indeed.com and SnagAJob.com. Just put "jobs" into a search engine and you'll get more hits than you know what to do with. To that end, you'll need a way to narrow down your search sites.
If you are looking for a job in an industry with which you are already familiar, take a look at the sites of the big-name companies in your field. Almost every company will have a career section.
Even better, industries often have field-specific sites; for example, check out JournalismJobs.com for journalists in the U.S., or 911HotJobs.com for law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The best way to find these sites is to either search for your job title and location, or by asking around your industry. When you've found a good website for your industry and job category, see if you can sign up for it to deliver new openings in your field to your email inbox; most job sites have that feature.
Don't Get Stuck on the Job Title
While you may consider yourself an account executive, the perfect job for you may be listed under a different job title. Try searching for synonyms, in this example consider sales executive or account leader, and if the site allows it, use category searches to get a broader look – just be sure you don't limit yourself by category either. (Learn which skills will help you land that job; read The 7 Most Universal Job Skills and the Most Valuable Career Skills in 2016.)
Keep Things Professional
When you have found the jobs you want to apply for, remember that applying online means that your computer competency will be immediately apparent. If you can't figure out how to attach your resume to your email, and the job requires computer skills, you may not make it past the recruiter's inbox. If you aren't sure, ask a friend for help, or consider taking a basic computer skills course to brush up – and add it to your resume.
When you apply online, make sure that you use a professional email address and attach your resume with the file saved as a pdf (this will ensure that the format does not shift based on the employer's software). If you send it as a Word file, most companies have .docx by now, but .doc (the older form) is even more universal. If your potential employers can't open your resume, they will likely just delete it. Sending a file with an uncommon extension may cause your email to end up in the spam folder.
Whether you're applying online or in person, you need to keep track of the companies and positions to which you've applied. The ease of applying online makes it easier to send duplicates and forget the details of a job posting when you are contacted.
If you are reached by email, the latter isn't a big deal, but if your potential employer calls, you will want to know whom you are talking to and about which position you are being contacted.This is especially important if you are giving out your cell phone number. Keep a notebook or printed record of the companies, positions, contact numbers and a few details for each position you apply to.
Follow Up in the Real World
Don't get stuck in cyberland; follow up on jobs by calling. This will show you are serious about the position. Even if you aren't right for the one you applied for, a follow-up call could give you a lead on a similar position. Again, keep things professional; calling up and telling the recruiter how desperate you are for the job will not help your case.
The Bottom Line
As more and more people are hired through online job postings, make sure your computer skills are up to date.
These quick tips will help you with your online job search and ensure you aren't overlooked because of a simple mistake. (Following these five tips will keep your resume out of the recycling bin. for further reading, check out How To Land a Finance Job with a Bachelor's Degree and How Long Should My Resume Be?)