Thursday, July 9, 2009

Conducting an e-job search.

Over half of all U.S. workers now say they’re either looking for a new job or intend to do so in the next year. Most will also undoubtedly make the Internet a central component of their search. Here are some suggestions to make the time spent online more effective.

• Get prepared.
Who are you and what do you want? It’s estimated that 95% of the world’s population goes through life without ever answering this question. If you don't set targets for yourself, you’re going to end up chasing someone else’s goals. Before searching job websites, consider what you’re looking for, where you’re likely to find it, and how you’re going to get it. When you start, have a clear goal in mind, have your resume ready, and be willing to tailor it and your cover letter for each prospective employer.

• Customize your resume.
Make sure you include key words and phrases mentioned in job postings in your resume as this will increase your chances of finding a match in the employer’s applicant database. Using industry-specific terminology and tweaking your skills to include those repeatedly mentioned in the job ad can potentially double your chances of success. Use all lower case letters because capitalization makes them case sensitive. If you capitalize a key word, the computer will identify only those jobs where that word is capitalized. If you use all lower case letters, the computer will identify every job that contains the word, whether it’s capitalized or not.

• Read the fine print.
When responding to an online job ad, be sure to include everything they’ve asked for in your application. Remember, an e-mail with a virus is usually quarantined and deleted. Plus, it leaves a very bad impression of the intelligence, computer-skills, and Internet-savvy of the sender. Buy and use anti-virus software, and keep it up to date!

• Get names of key people.
Many employers post job openings on their web sites, but emailed resumes are probably directed to the human resources department. This is usually the last place you want your resume to go unless you’re interested in a position in that department. By exploring a company’s web site, however, you can sometimes find a name and phone number or e-mail address for the executive who’ll ultimately make the hiring decision. That’s the person you want to contact. The web sites of national trade associations may also contain contact information for local executives. There’s often lots of information about company management and recent developments on personal blogs, so it's worth typing the company name into a niche search engine such as Google Blog Search to see what you’ll find.

• Keep it short and sweet.

Reading online is 25% slower than reading from paper, so make things easy for prospective employers by keeping it brief and to the point. Keep your cover letter to three short paragraphs, and provide key information only: an introduction, a summary of your relevant skills and background, and a closing statement.

• Protect your privacy.
Post your resume on job search websites so potential employers can find you. However, if you’re currently employed, protect your identity by limiting access to your contact information (name, address, and phone number). Consider setting up a free email address (like Yahoo or Hotmail) just for your online job search. Don’t use a cute, or weird e-mail address (I’ This will just be deleted or ignored by recruiters or employers.

• Focus your search.

Many niche job boards now cater to specific professions; in the healthcare field, for example, search on and Posting your resume on too many job sites or sending it to hundreds of recruiters and employers doesn’t work. Most recipients have a spam filter screening e-mails from people they don’t know. So, always follow-up your e-mail with a phone call to be sure it was actually received.

• Use social networks to get connected.
If you already have a Facebook account, tell your network of online friends that you’re looking for a job. Most of them won’t be able to hire you, but they may know of opportunities or spread the word to their contacts. Consider summarizing your career achievements on LinkedIn and Plaxo, and using these sites to build, expand and mine your network of business contacts. You can also broadcast your availability and search progress on Twitter. When a prospective employer types your name into a search engine like Google or Yahoo, having a positive online presence can be very helpful. Also, try and see how you're connected to an employer of interest - this is easy to do using the company search feature in LinkedIn. You might have a friend who knows the hiring manager or can get first-hand information about the company.

• Be organized.
Don't submit your online job applications and then forget about them - print them out and save them for reference later. Print details of the jobs you apply for too. That way, if you ever need to review selection criteria before an interview, you can look it up. Passive job seekers get left behind in the current economic climate.

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