Tips for the Online Job Search


Have you been to a job fair lately? Did you bring copies of your resume (as people always tell you to do)?

What did the recruiter say when you tried to give him or her your resume? Probably “Apply online.”

Nowadays, so much of the career hunt is online—not just searching for openings but applying also. Understanding how to navigate the online job hunt is just as important as knowing how to write a resume or ace an interview.

So Alaryce Shea of Ohio Means Jobs Lake County offered recommendations for everyone using the Internet to find their next job.

1. Don’t screen yourself

You’re on Careerboard or Careerbuilder or Monster or whatever and you see a job that you’d be perfect for. Then you read “five years of experience in the field” and cringe, because you only have three years of experience.

What should you do? Apply anyhow!

“It’s a wishlist, not a recipe card,” Shea said of the qualifications employers list online. “If they ask for five years of experience and nobody with five years of experience applies, what’s the new number?”

If you can do the job they’re advertising and want it, then apply. Maybe they’ll screen you out, but don’t screen yourself.

2. Know how to navigate the different job-search engines

There are a million different career boards and job-search engines. Don’t bother with any of the ones that charge you money. There are plenty of useful free ones.

Shea didn’t want to discredit any job-search engine; because, frankly, any site could be the one that leads you to your next job. That having been said, he does have some preferences.

He likes Careerboard because it’s locally based and features a lot of Ohio openings. He likes the Ohio Means Jobs boards for the same reason.

And while Monster, Careerbuilder and Juju have all offered good leads, Shea does not recommend Craigslist.

One more note regarding career boards: If you post your resume on them, then update them frequently. The longer a resume sits in a board’s archives unedited, the lower it shows up on matches for positions.

3. Remember to use keywords

If you’re applying for jobs, then you’re probably doing it on the company’s website.

When you submit your resume online, include a page of keywords. And what do I mean by keywords?

Big companies don’t read every resume submitted to them—not even close. Instead, your resume goes into a database. When a position opens, the company searches through the database for certain words. If your resume doesn’t have enough of those words, your resume doesn’t get read. Even if you would’ve been perfect for that job.

So you need to include those keywords.

Shea recommends adding an extra page to your resume specifically for keywords. Include your name, title it Keywords and simply list your pertinent skills beneath. If you drive a forklift, include keywords like “tow motor” and “forklift.” If you work in marketing, “event planning,” “advertising,” and “graphic design.” Management: “hiring,” “managing,” “budgeted” and so on. (Make sure all of your keywords are true. Don’t say “CNC” if you don’t know what that stands for.)

This way, your resume is more likely to show up in a keyword search, which will actually get it read.

4. There’s still a time and a place for a hard-copy resume

When applying online for a job with a larger company, Shea also recommends another aggressive tactic for getting noticed.

Get the name of one of the big bosses online, and then mail a resume directly to their office. (Don’t include a keywords page with this resume.) Include a cover letter that mentions the specific job for which you are applying. Also say that you have applied online but wanted to send them a physical copy, as well.

Shea’s logic: The big bosses don’t get a lot of resumes and cover letters sent to them anymore. In a best case scenario, this will make you stand out from the enormous pack, and anything that makes you stand out at this stage is good.

5. Yes, you probably need a LinkedIn page. No, you don’t need to pay for a premium account.

Yes, your profile needs a photo. You should keep it up to date, as well.

LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding job leads, talking to other people in your field, and finding out who you know who’s employed at companies where you want to work.

For more help, visit Ohio Means Jobs Lake County at 177 Main Street, Painesville. The phone number is (440) 350-4400.

Mentor Library will continue to team with Ohio Means Jobs for programs throughout the year to help career-seekers. In March, we’re offering advice on how to ace job interviews.

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