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
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.