It has never been easier to look for a job online. You open you computer, hop on Craigslist, and starting clicking on job listings in your designated city. It’s fast. It’s simple. But mostly, it’s LAZY. According to Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com, roughly 80% of jobs are not publicly advertised. The key is how to use the internet the right way to find a job.
Throughout life, the easy way normally doesn’t mean the best way of going about anything. Why would it be different for finding the job you really want or deserve?
Yes – the internet is a great tool to help you find a job. It may even be your most heavily used tool throughout a job search. In the long run, though, if it is the only tool you use to find a job, you may end up settling for a position that could steer you away from reaching your potential or building a career that you are passionate about. A comprehensive job search should include a variety of resources, both on and offline.
Getting in the Right Frame of Mind
In order to use the internet the right way during a job search, you first need to recognize that you are trying to choose the right job as opposed to find any job. You want to use the internet to help you analyze potential positions and not only to see what positions are currently available.
If you do not have an idea of the type of job or industry you want to work in, brainstorm for a few hours and really think about what you want to do. Once you have a rough idea of a career your want to pursue, it is time to ask the real questions you need answered:
Will getting experience in this industry aid my future goals? Will this position give me experience and skills in areas I need? Does this company have the right culture for me? Is the position on the right team for me? You can read more about strategic job searching in my post Choosing the Right Job: Strategic Career Management.
Now that you have the right questions you need answered, it is time use your resources to find the answers.
Using Online Resources the Right Way
Job Listing Sites
Job listing sites should only be a small percentage of where you spend your time online during a job search. It’s so important it’s worth repeating. Job listing sites should only be a small percentage of where you spend your time online during a job search.
Craigslist.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, and all of the other similar sites are great for seeing what experience and responsibilities are requested for positions. This way, you can be well prepared for what potential interviewers at the companies you desire to work for will be looking for when you apply for a similar position. You might even discover positions you didn’t know existed that would be a great fit for you.
Another benefit of these job listing sites is to see what companies are rapidly hiring in your area. Even if the specific job you are interested in isn’t listed, if a company is in hiring mode, it will most likely have an opening you are interested that is not currently advertised. You can reach out and inquire about other positions to the hiring manager for the post .
In a best case scenario, maybe one of your dream companies actually lists a position you want and it puts you in direct contact with the hiring manager you need to talk to. You could see if this occurs in 5 minutes each day with a quick search; so, don’t spend too much of your time on these job listing sites.
Employee Review Sites
There are also several sites that give you an inside look into a company’s culture, salaries, and thoughts on management via reviews left by current and past employees. The most popular of these sites is Glassdoor.com.
Do you have a list of company’s you are interested in? See what current employees are saying about the company. Do you have a specific position in mind? Research what the average salary is of that position across various similar companies. Glassdoor is a solid comprehensive review website, but there are also other services that specialize in specific areas.
Some other ones include PayScale.com, CareerBliss.com, and Vault.com. PayScale focuses more on salary analysis for positions and helps applicants negotiate their salaries. Vault focuses on ranking companies by prestige in various industries based on employee reviews and research. Lastly, CareerBliss is another website similar to Glassdoor that may provide additional reviews and insight.
In order to maximize the value you get out of these websites, try to narrow down your job search to a few companies or positions that you are interested in pursuing and researching. It won’t do much good if you randomly start reading every review on these websites.
Professional networks have become the main resource for companies to review online resumes and research applicants. It is also one of the best online tools for applicants to research companies and connect with potential managers, co-workers, and acquaintances. If you are not on LinkedIn.com, then you need to create a profile as soon as possible.
For many years I wondered why I would care about who my second and third degree connections were on LinkedIn. Now I understand the importance of these tools when researching jobs.
Let’s say you are interested in an account management role at XYZ Company. You search “account manager XYZ Company” on LinkedIn. Depending on the size of the company, 3-200 results might come back. Within these results, you can see if you have a mutual connection with anyone. If you do, then you just found an introduction to the team you would like to learn more about.
Do not be shy about asking your mutual connection for a phone or email introduction. People who are referred are always more likely to be accepted and treated better than cold emails/calls. Once you get some introductions, make sure you have questions ready about the role and how they like the company, etc. If you end up having a good conversation, maybe they will even pass your resume along or refer you for the job. Actually talking to people and building relationships is much more effective than reading and submitting information online. The quote, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is timeless for a reason.
I would urge you to look at LinkedIn as an online tool to set up emails and calls during a job search rather just a reading tool. Having said that, you can still mull over profiles of employees at the companies you are interested in and see how often people are promoted, how long they work there, and other statistics that could be important to you.
Some other smaller professional networks include BranchOut.com, AngelList.com, and Zerply.com. BranchOut focuses on helping applicants find their dream job as opposed to being an all encompassing professional network like LinkedIn. Their website and service is currently being updated as of May 2016. AngelList is a direct link into the startup world. It provides information on startups and helps people find jobs at those startups. Lastly, Zerply is a network for more artistic professionals to showcase skills and connect in the areas of film, games, and VR. It focuses on artistic professionals, engineers, and talent management.
Using Resources Other Than the Internet
Most companies believe their best hires come from referrals. If you can get referred to a company, you are almost always guaranteed an interview. Here are some of the key ways to network and relationship-build your way to a referral:
Friends & Family – It is always a good idea to start your search for referrals with the people who love you most. Do any of your friends or family members work at companies you are interested in? Do they know anyone they can put you in contact with who does?
Current Employees – Take look at LinkedIn, Facebook, and other networks to find people who work at your target company. Do you know any of them? Do you have any mutual connections? Even a cold email or message asking to learn more about the company can be beneficial in the long run.
Some other resources to keep in mind are old classmates, college alumni offices, acquaintances, recruiting firms, events & fairs, and more. Do not be afraid to mention that you are looking for a job to people. Most of the acquaintances and friends in your life will want to help you out.