Forget the classifieds… the Internet has revolutionized the way millions of jobseekers look for employment opportunities. Here are a few tips to help keep your online job search on track.
Job boards. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, web-based job listings are here to stay. For many job hunters, online boards offer a convenient way to access available openings. With search features that sort opportunities by industry, job title, geography and other factors, online job boards would seem to be a dream come true for tech-savvy jobseekers.
The downside is that the success rates of many online job boards have come under fire. In some cases, it’s been reported that less than 5% of employers who list opportunities on major job boards actually hire through those sites. When you factor in the thousands of jobseekers who scour big name boards everyday, the odds of ever finding a job through an online database seems remote.
But there are several reasons why it’s important to incorporate an online component into your job search process. Many employers (large and small) use job boards as a way to generate additional exposure for openings that are listed elsewhere. Also, online job boards can help you see the kinds of candidates employers are looking for. You may not land a job through a job board – but you will gain valuable insights about how to present yourself to prospective employers.
Here a few other things to keep in mind as you surf around the online job board scene:
Use Multiple Job Boards
Not all job sites are the same; some are simply more credible and reputable than others. But more importantly, there are general job boards (e.g. Monster and Careerbuilder) and niche job boards that cater to specific industries or subsets of the career marketplace (e.g. Idealist). Start with general job boards, then quickly expand your search perimeter to encompass niche job sites.
Watch Out for Scams
We’re talking about the Internet, so naturally you will encounter frauds and scams when you search for jobs online. Beware of job boards that charge a fee or require you to include your Social Security number and other personal details as a condition of enrollment.
Customize Your Cover Letters
Job boards can be dangerous because they make it easy for users to blanket the cyber sphere with resumes and cover letters. But even though you’re leveraging a technological medium, normal job search rules still apply. Be sure to perform research and customize your cover letter before you apply for a position online.
Check Company Websites
If you spot a position that looks promising on a job board, take a minute to view the posting as it appears on the employer’s website. Often, job listings on company websites are more thorough and contain details you can leverage in the application process.
Set Up Alerts
Nearly all job boards (at least the reputable ones) allow jobseekers to set up email alerts. When a position that fits your criteria comes up, you will receive a notification in your inbox. While you’re at it, set up a Google alert using keywords related to the types of positions you’re looking for.