Lesson 2: Find a Job Online
Over the past several years, the Internet has become an essential part of any job search. But with so many resources available online, it can be difficult to know where to begin and how to use them effectively.
In this module, you'll learn how to use job search engines and job alerts to find different opportunities. We'll also talk about how to respond to an online job posting and how to stay safe when searching for a position.
Watch the video below to learn some tips for conducting an online job search.
Conducting an effective online job search
The Internet has made it easier than ever to discover new opportunities. There are hundreds of websites that allow you to search for job postings and upload your resume, such as Monster and CareerBuilder.
While these sites have dramatically changed the way we look for jobs, they cannot be used in isolation. Online job searching is most useful when combined with other job search methods, such as networking and direct contact with employers. As a result, you will need to make the most of the time you spend searching online. Review the techniques below to learn how to conduct an effective online job search.
Using job search engines and job alerts
Rather than search through various websites, you can use a job search engine such as Indeed or SimplyHired. Job search engines collect job listings from hundreds of websites so you can view them in a single place.
As with any search engine, the key is to optimize the number of relevant results you obtain, so you may have to experiment with search terms and refinements. Indeed's Job Search Tips gives great advice about how to get started.
You can also save time by creating a job alert. A job alert is a summary of new job postings from a specific search that is sent to your email. Receiving only a few job listings each day will allow you to stay current with the latest opportunities without having to sort through a long list of search results.
Watch the video below to learn more about different techniques that can improve your search results on Indeed.com.
Navigate to indeed.com.
- Conduct a search for a job in your area that you'd like to apply for.
- Try modifying your search terms. Do you notice a difference in the results?
- Create a job alert to stay up to date about the latest job postings.
Additional job search sites
While job search engines are one of the easiest ways to find a variety of job postings, you may also want to take advantage of more specific websites, depending on your needs.
GlassDoor is one of the most internationally focused job-hunting sites available today. You can search for jobs at specific companies around the world and read employee reviews to learn what it's like to work for different employers.
- Social media
Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have become increasingly valuable tools for finding jobs online. We'll talk more about using social media in your job search in our lessons on Job Hunt with Social Media and LinkedIn Basics.
- Specialty sites
If you work in a specific career field, you may prefer to look for job postings on specialty or niche sites such as Idealist, FlexJobs, or Dice.
One of the most popular websites in the United States, Craigslist is a free classified service that allows people to create advertisements about almost anything, including job postings. While there are many legitimate opportunities on Craigslist, its posting style also attracts a lot of fake job listings. We'll talk more about staying safe when responding to job postings at the end of this lesson.
Posting your resume online
Some sites allow you to post your resume online. When employers need to fill a job opening, they can search through online resumes to find a candidate that fits their needs. This can increase your chances of finding a job because employers will have the ability to search for you. Some sites will also use the information in your resume to automatically send you relevant job postings.
There are some potential downsides to posting your resume online. For example, you risk exposing yourself to unwanted contact, spam, and privacy concerns. Check out our lesson on Preparing Your Resume for the Internet to learn more about posting your resume safely.
If you are job hunting and currently employed, you may want to avoid posting your resume. If your employer finds your resume, it could possibly lead to termination. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before deciding to post your resume online.
Responding to an online job posting
Once you've found a job that you'd like to apply for, it's important to take the right approach when responding to the job posting. Your response will directly affect the employer's decision to contact you for an interview. Here are some things you can do to improve an online job application:
- Research the employer online and read through their company website, if available. This will help you to determine if the job posting is genuine. It will also be helpful to know as much as you can about the employer when you are applying and interviewing for the position.
- Make sure that your resume is up-to-date and clearly demonstrates how your skills relate to the position you are applying for. You should also add more detail to your most relevant work experience and emphasize why your work history qualifies you for the position.
- Your cover letter should explain why you are a good fit for the position. You can edit a cover letter that you've already used for another application, but make sure you tailor it specifically to the position. Some employers use computer software to screen initial applicants, so be sure to include specific phrases found in the job posting. This will prevent you from being automatically excluded from certain positions.
- A resume and cover letter need to look professional, which means that they must be free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Your computer's spell-checker won't catch everything, so be sure to double-check your resume and cover letter before sending them off. You can also ask a friend to read through them to see if you've missed anything.
- Some online job postings will ask you to send your resume and cover letter by email, while others will direct you to an online application. If you are submitting your resume and cover by email, you should paste them into the body of the email, and include them as attachments. To learn more about sending a resume online, see our Resume Writing lesson on Preparing Your Resume for the Internet.
- If you don't hear from the employer within a week of sending your application, send them an email or call to make sure they have received your application and to restate your interest in the position.
Staying safe online
Always remember to exercise your best judgment online, especially when looking for a job. The Internet is a powerful resource for finding new opportunities, but not every job posting you'll find is genuine. Many of these fake postings are actually an attempt to steal money and sensitive information from job seekers. The following tips can help you guard your privacy and avoid potential scams during your job search.
Protecting your identity and avoiding scams
- Never share sensitive information online, such as your Social Security Number, birth date, or credit card number. If a potential employer asks you to send this kind of information, the odds are high that the employer is simply trying to steal your identity rather than offer you a job.
- Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for something like training or a background check before offering you a position.
- Avoid jobs that seem suspicious or promise a high salary for a minimal amount of work. Any job that sounds too good to be true probably is. Legitimate job postings will usually contain the name of the company, specific details about the job, and information about who to contact and how to apply for the position. Some of this may vary by field, though. For example, government jobs in the US do not always have a specific contact person listed.
- If you feel uneasy or suspicious about a job posting, follow your instincts and research it for more information. If the posting turns out to be a hoax, you'll keep yourself from wasting a lot of time and energy on the application.
Check out our tutorial on Internet Safety or go to OnGuardOnline for more information about staying safe online.