Finding a Job
The Internet can help you speed through the career search process and find the job of your dreams. But a successful search requires you to do a little research about what you'd like to do for work and where you'd like to do it. Lucky for you, there are plenty of resources online that can give you all the information on finding jobs online.
Before you begin your job search, you should know which details of your life are on the Internet and how to create your online identity. Many employers now look online to see what information they can find about potential employees. Make managing your online profile part of developing your professional identity.
- Most people won't find much about themselves online—maybe a mention or two on an old company or school Web site. If you do discover that your online persona appears less than stellar, there are a few things that you can do to avoid being skipped over in the application process. Take a look at this article from The New York Times.
- Contact a Web site's administrator and ask them to remove outdated or misleading information.
- A lot of community sites prompt you to put personal information in your profile. Most of the time, you should be able to find a way to limit the amount of information you share. Most online communities have private options for profiles so that only select viewers can see it.
- When you create material for people to find, you are taking control of your online identity. Help people to differentiate between the real you and another person who happens to share your name.
A lot of companies post job listings on their Web sites, which is great if you know exactly where you want to work. But those of us who know only what position or field we want to work in need sites to help sift through all of the online job listings. Luckily, there are plenty of job search engines that scan the Internet for job opportunities.
- Here are some tips to help you search on many of the job search engines listed below:
- Search in your city rather than in your zip code to gather as many results as possible.
- Search only one or two keywords for the most results.
- Use search filters if your search gives you too many job postings.
- Sort jobs by date instead of by relevance to avoid outdated listings.
- Take note of the words employers use to describe the positions you like, then search those terms.
- You’ll get the best results when you search on a job posting site specific to your industry; look for lists of those sites in this section of the guide.
- Don’t rely entirely on these search engines; they should only make up a part of your career search. For more help on utilizing all avenues available to land that job, especially the importance of networking, read the bestseller "What Color is your Parachute?"
Your résumé can be the greatest asset to your job search. It is your first, and often only, impression on potential employers. Don't waste anyone's time—get right to the good stuff. Résumés are all about the individual; they should, and will, be different for everyone. Use the sites below to learn how to write a resume and cover letter.
- There are plenty of sites that can create your résumé for a fee, but if you have to gather your information to provide it to them, you might as well put the résumé together yourself.
- Avoid acronyms that people won't understand; write "Business Development Manager" instead of "BDM." If you don't know what an acronym stands for, look it up on Acronym Finder.
- Don't include personal information like your Social Security number on your résumé.
- Keep your cover letters short and sweet; some sites recommend you write three or four paragraphs but you might be able to get your point across in only one or two. You may also want to address your cover letter to a specific person if you can; call the company or check its Web site to find the name of the hiring manager if it's not mentioned in the job description.
- Make sure to send your résumé in the format requested by the company. If you send them a PDF when they want a Word document, your e-mailed application could get deleted before it’s even read.
You might meet someone on an airplane or in line at the grocery store who offers you the job opportunity of a lifetime but it’s not very likely. You'll have to make an effort to let employers know you're looking for work, by job networking and/or signing up with an employment agency.
- When perusing job search engine results, you’ll notice that many of the jobs advertised are offered through an agency. If you see a job that's intriguing, you may want to stop by the employment agency (if it isn’t too far away), sign up with them and see what other opportunities they have. As there are so many employment agencies out there, this is a good way to find one that fits your needs.
- Be wary of services that will "post" or "blast" your résumé for you. Posting will put it on a number of job Web sites, and blasting will send it out via e-mail to recruiters. These methods might get you more spam than legitimate job offers.
- Consider using just your e-mail address as a contact when you post an online résumé. Set up a free e-mail account with hotmail.com, gmail.com or yahoo.com that you only use for your job hunt to keep your personal e-mail address secure.
- If you decide to post your résumé to a job site, remove it once you've finished your job search.
- The only way to cancel a Monster.com account is to call 1-800-MONSTER.
- To cancel at CareerBuilder.com, follow the steps here.
Think of an interview as the employer's test drive of you as an employee. The sites below can help you learn how to interview with ease.
- Research the company with which you are interviewing. Here are some tips to help you:
- Try entering the company's name in a general search engine to find the company's Web site.
- Look on some of the networking sites for employee opinions about a company. Jobster is just one of the sites that provides employee commentary about the work environment of a company.
- Some things to consider before the interview:
- Prepare yourself for the questions you might be asked and think of some potential answers.
- Think of a few questions that you would like to ask about the job or company.
When the job offers start coming in, be prepared to ask for what you're worth. Use the sites below to find a salary calculator information for a variety of career paths.
- Looking up wages is much easier if you use your exact job title. Many of these sites also allow you to factor in how much previous experience you've had, which can greatly affect potential wages.
- When looking up your potential position's average wage, keep in mind that it's just an average and isn't a guarantee of how much you might make.
- Cost-of-living calculators are also just averages. Consider any extra expenses you have or (if you're lucky) expenses that will be significantly less for you.