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Do's and don'ts of an online job search

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

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Searching for jobs online can be convenient and efficient if done correctly or frustrating and time-consuming if done incorrectly. While you may see thousands of job listings right at your fingertips, it's easy to get overwhelmed and waste opportunities if you're applying carelessly or using standard website settings. Adjusting to this new job-search process may seem confusing, but it isn't impossible.

The job search has changed from printed résumés and pounding the pavement to online job boards and one-click applications. Here are some do's and don'ts for job-searching online.

Do take advantage of narrowing search results
While you may want to find a job in sales, you may not be interested in scrolling through 100,000-plus search results. To avoid this headache, use advanced searches and narrow down search results. Most sites allow you to receive more specific results using certain criteria, such as:

  • Job-posted date
  • Company
  • City or state
  • Categories for a specific functional area such as "management" or "entry level"
  • Salary
  • Employment type, for specific jobs by schedule, such as "intern," "full-time" or "part-time"
  • Exclude: This is where you can remove jobs that have been posted nationally or regionally, jobs without salary information included or any nontraditional jobs.

Don't use one résumé for every job application
No two jobs or companies are alike, and your work experience will apply differently to each role. It's essential to customize your résumé according to each industry or job for which you're applying.

While this step helps demonstrate that you'd be a great fit for the job, it's also important because most online job applications are screened by an applicant tracking system, which searches for words or phrases in your résumé that match the job description. While this may sound bizarre or unfair, it helps manage the large volume of applications that hiring managers receive.

Do know the importance of résumé keywords
As mentioned above, applicant tracking systems usually screen for keywords pulled from the job listing. For example, an administrative assistant's job description may include "answer and route all incoming calls to internal staff" or "provide clerical and data-entry support to internal staff." Not only should you possess these skills, but they should be included in the skills and work-experience sections of your résumé.

Don't always expect to hear back
After you've customized your résumés and applied to jobs that met your specific search results, you should be proud of yourself for making progress. However, don't get your hopes up that you'll hear back from a company the next day, week or even month. Realistically, you won't hear back from most employers.

This is a part of the modern-day job search and is not a personal insult. Most companies receive too many applications to respond individually to each job seeker. If you don't hear back, it's likely because your application didn't get picked up by the tracking system or you were passed up for somebody more qualified.

As you continue to apply for more jobs and become more accustomed to the online job search, you'll discover your own do's and don'ts. Online job searching is meant to be efficient for both the job seeker and the hiring manager and can lead to a great job if you focus your efforts.

Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 30/01/2013 - 1:13 PM


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