5 Ways to Give Your Online Job Search a Shot in the Arm
The internet has revolutionized not only the way we work but also the way we search for jobs. From the big boards with millions of vacancy listings to niche websites that focus on specific industries or fields, searching for a job has never been more accessible. It’s easier than ever for ambitious individuals to find opportunities and pursue their dream careers, and if you’re willing to relocate, the world is your oyster.
On the other hand, the abundance of job ads has made it much harder to unearth the right position. Many candidates find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices, even after they filter for location, industry, type of work, and experience level. Too many options can be paralyzing, especially when it comes to something as important as your career. Even when presented with great opportunities, it’s hard to know which ones to pursue, so how do you begin to narrow them down? How do you allocate your time and energy so that looking for a job doesn’t become a job in and of itself?
The good news is that there are ways to optimize your online job hunt so you can spend less time sifting through listings. From using the right keywords in your resume to building your personal brand through social media, you can improve your online job search by applying the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy, especially now that so many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATSs) to filter submissions. The labor market is considerably different from what it was in the past, so it requires different strategies, but if you master the digital job search, the possibilities are endless.
If all of this sounds overwhelming and you want expert help with overhauling your resume and LinkedIn profile, reach out to our job success team and watch your online profile rise in the ranks and land you more interviews. Our experts can also offer you tips for tracking down and snatching the right job.
So, what are some of the ways you can boost your online job search?
1. Optimize your resume and cover letter with keywords
The first step in your job search should be going through your resume and cover letter and making sure you’ve included the right keywords to make it stand out for hiring managers and ATSs. Although you should always tailor your resume and cover letter for each job application, it’s common practice to have a template of both documents that you can quickly customize. After all, if you’re always applying for the same types of jobs, the basic information in your resume will stay the same—you just need to modify the keywords, perhaps swap out a skill or two, and rearrange the layout to highlight the information a particular employer most wants to see.
To find the best keywords, go back to the job posting and pick the words and terms that stand out and best relate to the role and the skills the employer is looking for. Typically, the keywords will be distinct from the rest of the text—they’ll be bolded, italicized, underlined, or notable in some other way. Select those that apply to you and your qualifications, then embed them in your resume and cover letter. Keywords are essential for getting past ATSs since these programs typically use predefined keywords to judge the relevance of an application. Keywords will also stand out to a human recruiter when they skim over your resume, and your attention to detail is bound to impress, too.
If you’re not sure how to enhance your application with keywords, our team of experts can optimize your resume and cover letter for you.
2. Extend your reach
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you use the same terms and keywords in your online job search. Different organizations and sectors may use different names for the same job, and if you’re not aware of those terms, you could be missing out on a much wider range of offers. For example, a coordinator in one company might be a manager in another, even if they have the same duties and responsibilities. Do some research into your sector to determine what other terms may refer to the job you want.
Another potential problem is that the term you’ve typed in the search bar is too broad—rather than search for “analyst,” go with something more specific, such as “data analyst.” If a lot of the results you get are entirely irrelevant, it’s a sign that you need to narrow down your search term.
Looking for specific companies you want to work for can also bring to your attention roles that you didn’t know existed but might be a good fit for you. Exploring the websites of companies you’re interested in can also reveal vacancies that haven’t been posted on job boards yet. If you see a listing like this, apply through the corporate website, not a job board. Hiring managers respond more positively to such direct applications as they indicate a higher level of engagement and enthusiasm from the candidate. So, do your due diligence and think outside the box—you might be surprised by what you find.
You can also consider broadening your location filter and looking for jobs that are either remote or slightly further away from home. Who knows? Adding a few minutes to your commute could mean the difference between an okay job and a great job.
3. Set up job alerts and don’t wait to apply
Job alerts are among the best tools to use in your online job search. Not only will they save you time scrolling through listings, but you’ll also be the first to know when a new vacancy emerges. You’ll be able to get your application in early, even if you have to tweak your resume for the position. You can create multiple job alerts using different keywords and criteria and even set them up for a specific company, ensuring you’ll access a wider range of opportunities.
Make sure the alerts don’t go straight to your junk mail—time is of the essence when a good position becomes available. Keep an eye on your spam folder after setting the alerts, and if you find job notifications landing there, whitelist them so they go to your inbox. Great vacancies are usually filled fast, so don’t waste time thinking about it—prepare your resume and cover letter to match the listing, and submit your application without delay.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile
If you’re job-hunting, you should pop over to LinkedIn and make sure your profile is optimized, as well as looking clean and professional. This platform is great for showcasing your skills and professional experience so potential employers can get a better idea of who you are, what your goals are, and how you could fit into their company. It’s also an excellent way to share additional information that you couldn’t fit within the limited space of your resume. Most hiring managers today will look up a candidate online and browse their social media, including LinkedIn, so it’s an important element of the job search—don’t neglect it!
Make sure that your work experience is up to date, that there are no typos or grammatical errors in your text, and that your profile makes you look good. You’ll want a nice, professional-looking picture to round it off, and gathering endorsements from colleagues and bosses (past or present) will further boost your profile. Our team can also make your LinkedIn profile rank higher in search engines and look more professional, getting you more views and increasing your chances of finding the right job.
5. Polish your personal brand
As for your other social media profiles, hiring managers won’t always check them, but you should assume they will. It’s best to clean up all your online profiles, scrubbing any posts or pictures that may paint you as a less-than-ideal job candidate. If a potential employer does go through your social media accounts, you don’t want them to find anything that will make you look bad, such as wild party pictures, controversial posts, or mean-spirited comments.
It’s important to build an online presence that will make you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. The easiest way to do that is through social media, but make sure what the internet says about you is aligned with how you want to be perceived. It’s not just about what you post yourself, either—you should also be mindful of what you like and comment on, especially on public posts. It’s a good idea to create new social media accounts for your professional profile and keep your personal ones private. In this way, you can keep these two parts of yourself separate without damaging your job prospects.
To get help and guidance, check out our job success services and start working with our experts right away!