October 2007

Vol 7 - No. 4
 

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Careers | October 2007

 


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Looking for Work in The Digital Age

The Internet has become an indispensable tool for job hunters. You can search thousands of opportunities daily, be notified by email when your dream job opens up, and use online self-assessment tools — without ever pounding the pavement. Here are some tips and strategies to help you in your job search.

First impressions count

Remember when you fussed about the type of paper to use for your résumé and looked for any advantage to make it stand out? It’s different in the digital world. Form and font do count, but only to ensure that your résumé is readable or passes through a screen, rather than for visual impression.

Here are some tips to create an online-friendly résumé.

Read the submission guidelines. If the company you’re contacting asks for résumés in the body of your email message, don’t send an attachment — your application will be filtered out.

Keep it plain and scanable. If you’re sending your résumé in the body of the email, it should be in plain text. That means no bold face, no italics, no bullets (use dashes instead).

Attachment etiquette. If the company asks for an attachment, choose an easy-to-read online font (sans serif), such as Arial. And make sure the actual file is a Word document.

Presentation tip. If attachments are accepted and the look of your résumé is important for the job, consider submitting in PDF format.

Also, name your Word doc carefully. “2007 Résumé” may be the name on your hard drive, but it’s not going to stand out among hundreds of others. Consider using your name, or some combination of date, job title, and your initials. Ask the company for its preferences.

Make it easy for recruiters. Recruiters are busy people, so you should do all that you can to make it easy for them. For instance, when listing your experience, don’t link to companies you worked at. It takes the recruiter away from your résumé and demonstrates laziness and a lack of writing ability.

Use keywords. If you’re applying to a larger company in a more traditional sector, your résumé may be put through an online program that screens for key attributes.

Read the job description carefully. If words like articulate, creative, deadline-oriented, decisive, enthusiastic, proactive, results-oriented, and team-oriented figure prominently, they should also be in your résumé.

Personalize your job search

The Internet offers job seekers countless ways to look for work. For recent graduates and those looking to change careers, the big and well-known job sites can give you a sense of all that’s out there in the wider world of work.

But you also have the ability to really focus your search and find your niche. For instance, you can refine your search by industry, location, title, and salary. A growing trend is job boards dedicated to certain professions.

Many employers have candidate profile pages. You fill in your information, what you’re looking for, and your salary requirements. If something opens up, the company notifies you by email.

Another way to use technology to your advantage is to sign up for email alerts — which automatically notify you of job openings that match your criteria. Most of the big job sites offer this service. It’s like having your own personal headhunter.

Did you know? You can find salary information for specific industries, professions, and jobs on the popular online job sites.

Do your homework

One of the benefits of the Internet is that it’s pretty easy to find information about industries, companies, and even individuals. When it’s time for an interview, this information can help you formulate the right questions and demonstrate your commitment. It can also help you zero in on people you might want to work with.

If you’re approaching someone for an information interview, do a search to find out what they’ve written, where they’ve been quoted, and their area of specialization. The same applies to an individual who’ll be interviewing you.

Mind your digital footprint. The flipside of having access to information about people is that they also have access to information about you. Today’s digital world can leave a cyber trail that’s hard to erase.

A party photo circulating on a social networking site may seem funny at the time, but it can also end up cached. Be cautious when sharing information about yourself on the Net. If you can find it, so can potential employers.

That being said, networking sites such as LinkedIn, and even social media sites such as Facebook, can expand your networks and help you find work.

Assess yourself

What are you good at? Do you want a creative job or are you content to put in hours with predictable work? If you’ve worked in a cubicle for many years, do you crave being outdoors?

Online assessment tools can be a valuable resource for job seekers. Recent grads or those thinking of changing careers can take advantage of free online tools to determine if their personality fits a particular field. The following sites offer self-analysis tools, among many other resources:

  • JobHuntersBible — the official Website of the popular What Color is Your Parachute? book.

  • JobFutures — the federal government’s career and education planning tool.

  • Monster.ca and Workopolis — two of the big job boards.

These are just some of the sites that can help you in your search. Internet job hunting is always evolving, so it’s a good idea to stay on top of the trends — even if you’re not looking for work today.

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Publisher and Managing Editor: Suresh Jaura
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