How to Prepare for a Successful Online Job Search
We’ll just come out and say it: Finding a new job isn’t easy. Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, returning after a long break, or looking for a change in your career, hunting for a job can be a time- and energy-consuming endeavor. It’s extremely challenging for graduates fresh out of college, but it’s also difficult for veteran employees who’ve already amassed a wealth of experience.
If you’ve just started your job search, keep your spirits up! It may feel like you’re endlessly scrolling through job boards trying to find the right one for you or like you’ll never hear back from potential employers, but keep in mind there are countless other applicants vying for the same positions. It can be quite stressful, but there are ways to optimize your online job search and increase your chances of getting hired. If you’ve been at it for a while, you might be wondering what you can do differently and how you can make your professional profile more appealing to potential employers.
Now that so much of the hiring process takes place online, optimizing your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile with the right keywords is absolutely crucial. Today, most companies use applicant tracking systems (ATSs) to eliminate unsuitable submissions, and the technology generally works by scanning resumes for the right keywords, discarding those it deems irrelevant to the position. Therefore, optimizing your resume is a must.
You can also use your online presence to build your personal brand and network with industry experts, as well as create job alerts to receive notifications about new job listings that match your profile, allowing you to get your application in early. That said, where do you even begin? The entire process can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out or haven’t looked for a new job in a while. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone.
Whether you need to optimize your resume, overhaul your LinkedIn profile, or write a cover letter, our team of experts can help you get more views, rank higher in search engines, and improve your chances of being invited for an interview. We offer a wide range of services to job seekers, so if you’re feeling stuck in your search, reach out to us.
So, what can you do to ensure the success of your job search?
Put together a job search plan
Setting tangible goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable when you have to tackle a challenging task, and job hunting is no different. Devising a realistic job search plan that you can stick to is a great way to ensure you remain focused, stay on track, and maintain your motivation during tough patches. A plan will help you keep your priorities straight and your actions aligned with your desired outcomes. If you aren’t sure what a realistic goal is, set what you think is a realistic one, and if it turns out to be too easy or too hard to achieve, adjust it. What matters is that you have a plan that keeps you motivated and helps you move forward despite any setbacks along the way.
First, list specific jobs you would like to get, companies you want to work for, and the key skills and credentials you need to qualify for those jobs. If you’re not sure what kind of job you want, take the time to reflect on your longer-term career goals and what might help you get there.
Figuring out what you want and the basic skills and qualifications necessary to obtain it will help you in two ways: It will provide keywords to embed in your resume and cover letter to ensure your application moves on to the next round, and it will give you a better idea of how realistic your goals are. Are you qualified for the job you want, or do you need to gain more experience? Seeing it all on paper can help you be more objective about your qualifications. If you need more training to be properly qualified for your dream job, that’s okay—work on honing your skills or earning certificates as you proceed in your job search.
Next, create or update your resume and write a cover letter that can be easily tweaked for each job application. You need to be prepared to send off your documents as soon as a position becomes available, so create your template before you start searching. If you need help optimizing your application, our team can write or overhaul your resume and cover letter for you. Of course, you’ll still have to modify them for each submission since you need to use the right keywords to get past the ATS and human hiring managers aren’t impressed by generic resumes and cover letters. However, having a solid template makes this task much easier.
Now you can start focusing on your social and professional online profiles—basically, all the information a potential employer could find about you on the internet. They may not look you up, but always assume they will and act accordingly.
First, clean up your social media accounts, deleting (or at least setting to private) any potentially compromising pictures or posts, including anything that may be controversial or paint you as angry or irresponsible. After that, update your LinkedIn profile (our experts can overhaul your LinkedIn profile to make sure it ranks higher and looks more professional) and, if necessary, create profiles on any other job boards or hiring sites. Do this in advance since it may take some time for search engines to update the meta descriptions in their results.
Basically, you need to get all your ducks in a row before you start applying, and having a plan will make it easier for you to stick to your timeline and achieve your goals. Decide how much time you will allocate to your job search every week, how you can use your social and professional networks to your advantage, and what kind of jobs you will search and apply for. You don’t want to waste time and energy, so streamline your plan and get ready to start submitting applications. It’s a good idea to set aside a specific block of time for your job search, which can prevent putting it off until the next day.
Make good use of digital tools
One of the greatest benefits of conducting your job search online is that you have plenty of tools to facilitate the process. Use reminders to help you stay on top of your goals, apply filters to make sure you’re not sifting through irrelevant listings, set up alerts and notifications so you’re among the first to know when a new vacancy appears, and interact with your prospective employers online. Take advantage of LinkedIn to connect not just with recruiters but also with peers, who may share valuable insights or help open the door to new opportunities.
Digital tools also offer countless ways to stay organized. For instance, you can create spreadsheets to keep track of your applications, whether or not you’ve followed up, and how much time has passed since you applied. Keeping all of these details organized and accessible will make your job search much smoother. Plus, if you carefully document all your activity in a spreadsheet, you’ll avoid accidentally applying for the same position twice.
It’s not always easy to hold yourself accountable, especially if you’ve put in lots of time and effort into something and don’t see the results you were hoping for or expecting. Nevertheless, drawing up a detailed plan for conducting your job search and using online tools to your advantage can help you stay organized and make it easier to achieve your goals. If you’re still not getting results, try adjusting your approach. Whatever you do, don’t give up—you can definitely find the right job if you just find the right job search strategy.
To learn more about how our team of experts can improve your odds of getting hired, check out our services for job success and invest in your future without delay!