How can you use the internet as the ultimate job hunting tool?
Using the internet to find a new job can be overwhelming. There are so many options available and so many things to consider. What’s more, job hunting online in the 21st century is a two way process. While you look for and apply for jobs online, your potential employers will be looking you up in much the same way, entering your name into search engines and looking at your social media profiles. However the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for job hunting and it’s one you can’t afford to ignore. Here are some tips to help you with your online job search and manage your online presence to maximise your chances of getting an interview.
Online job hunting 101
1. Identify the right websites for your career sector. There are countless job boards and recruitment agencies online, but by focusing on specialist websites, like TRS Staffing for engineering roles, you’ll save yourself time. Check these sites regularly and sign up for job alerts or upload your CV where possible. Know what locations and what kind of job title you’re looking for. By identifying and using the right keywords you can use a website’s search function to quickly come up with a list of suitable positions.
2. Focus on quality over quantity. Apply for jobs you know you can match the requirements for, and that you are truly interested in, then invest lots of time and effort into these applications. You’ll often be asked to submit a cover letter, which should be written specifically for that role to highlight your relevant experience and qualifications. Researching the company will help you really target your submission to their requirements. It’s also a good idea to tailor your CV for each application too, to reinforce your suitability for the role.
You may be applying to lots of similar jobs, so making a few different templates is a good idea. Just ensure you customise these for each application rather than sending out generic documents en masse. Your writing needs to be concise, clearly structured, and must contain all the information necessary to meet the job specification. Proofread each document carefully before sending them to recruiters.
Although applying to jobs this way is more time consuming on a case-by-case basis, it’s a better way of spending your time than making speculative applications to jobs you are ill suited to or would only accept as a last resort.
3. Do your research. This ought to come before your job application, as it can help you decide whether you want to work for a company in the first place. Don’t just read their website and take it at face value, as every company says they’re the best to work for! Check out employee reviews on websites like Glassdoor.com to see what they are like as an employer, and perform a more general internet search to discover how they’re perceived by their customers and the industry, and gauge how the company is performing financially.
4. Beware of scams. Unfortunately there will always be unscrupulous individuals and agencies online who use fake or misrepresentative job adverts to get hold of personal information, lure job-seekers into paying money, or trick them into taking a role which is nothing at all like the one they were looking for. Create an alternative professional email account for your job hunt and only provide the minimum contact details necessary for an employer to get in touch. Researching job prospects carefully will help you decide if they are legitimate. Be especially aware of jobs offering ludicrously above-market rates or unrealistically low barriers to entry in terms of skills and experience. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Managing your online presence
Around 77% of recruiters will perform internet searches on job candidates before offering an interview. There are a few reasons for this; to see if the information you have given about yourself stacks up, to find out more about your professional life and persona, and to see if you would be a good fit for the company culture.
If you’re tempted to obliterate your online presence altogether, be aware that 35% of employers are less likely to interview you if they cannot find any information about you online. Instead, use the internet as a tool to create a positive professional brand for yourself, impressing employers and giving them more reasons to hire you. Here are some tips for you to consider:
1. Perform a search for your own name. This will give you an idea of what actions, if any, you need to take to prevent employers getting a bad impression about you. Make sure you perform an image search of yourself too. If anything undesirable comes up, try your best to remove it. It can be difficult to do this in some instances and it is best that you’re extremely careful with what you post online in the first place.
2. Be aware of social media. Employers can and will look at your social media profiles. If these are public, ensure that the content on there is ‘work safe’ and gives a favourable impression. You may want to give yourself a professional persona, post content relating to your career, and ensure that your employment details are up to date. However, as many people use Facebook and other social sites for personal networking with friends and family, it may be better to make your profile private. While you can only really have one Facebook account, if you’re an active Twitter user, consider creating a professional account, using your real name, and keeping your personal account private by protecting your tweets.
3. Join LinkedIn. While you might want to keep your Facebook profile away from prying eyes, LinkedIn is a purpose built social network for you to show off your professional skills and experience. It functions like an online resume, and allows you to network with colleagues, gathering endorsements of your abilities. Your LinkedIn profile should match your CV closely with its essential information, however your profile allows you to elaborate more on your work history, skills, experience, and interests than you could in a 1-2 page CV.
4. Start blogging! A well written, insightful blog relating to your professional field will demonstrate your passion, expertise and commitment to career, demonstrating that you’re willing to invest time outside of office hours expanding your knowledge and engaging with like-minded individuals. You can also show this by commenting on relevant blogs by others or contributing to message boards. Any articles you write which are published by online newspapers or magazines would be looked at even more favourably, as this means your work is considered good enough to be published by others.
5. Be careful with your grammar and spelling. Wherever you’re writing online and for whatever reason, make sure you writing is free of errors and in an appropriate tone. On the other hand, ensure that employers will not find any inappropriate photos, negative posts about previous employers, or controversial content. Almost fifty percent of hiring managers who use social media to screen candidates have found something that have caused them to discard a candidate.
If you’re looking for an engineering job, make sure you check out our jobs page where you can find great opportunities around the world in a range of sectors and disciplines.