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Nine rules for better online job hunting

It goes without saying that the Internet has drastically changed the way people today hunt for jobs. After all, it’s probably been a few years since you’ve submitted a CV by post or fax. But even though most professionals turn to the Internet first for help locating a new position, not all understand the finer points of a web-based job search. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you look online.

1. Think big.
Start your search by visiting major job sites such as CareerBuilder.co.uk because of the sheer number of listings offered. Employers of all sizes and in every industry are likely to list openings on job board sites that are reputable with strong brand recognition. Checking out smaller niche sites can be helpful, but if you’re at a crossroads in your career or willing to relocate, the big job boards offer a wider view.

2. Scan the oldies but goodies.
When visiting job boards, many job hunters make the mistake of limiting their search to positions posted in the last few days. A position posted one month ago might still be open, especially if it requires hard-to-find skills. Plus, with most job seekers focusing on recent postings, you may be competing with fewer candidates. A dated job advertisement doesn’t reflect the quality of the company or the potential desirability of the position.

3. Visit recruiter sites.
In addition to browsing the large boards, visit the websites of recruiting firms that specialise in your field and maintain their own job postings. Some even offer detailed career information. Job seekers can conduct highly targeted searches and also have contact with a recruiter who can work on their behalf.

4. Go surfing.
Job sites can also serve as a launching pad for other opportunities. For instance, you may find an appealing vacancy for which you are overqualified. Though you’re not right for this role, you now know the company is hiring. Visit the prospective employer’s website for additional openings, and send a CV and cover letter asking to be considered for future jobs. Some companies are making use of recruitment blogs from employees as part of the information they offer about working there — it’s also a potential way to build relationship with would-be candidates.

5. Get social.
One of the most effective ways of finding out about jobs is by getting leads from people you know. Certainly, the Internet makes it easier than ever to network. Viadeo, growing at 3,000 members per day, allows firms to recruit employees in the way teenagers flirt on cult site MySpace. “With Viadeo, online networking often leads to offline meetings, and for us, networking is more than just a website. However, online communities make it easier to meet valuable new people, wherever they are in the world,” says Peter Cunningham, Viadeo UK manager.

6. Don’t fire off your CV.
Most job sites enable users to apply for a position with the simple click of the mouse. But don’t blindly fire off your CV to every company you come across. Recruitment managers look for tailored CVs that directly tie a job seeker’s unique skills and abilities to the requirements of the position. Make the effort to customise your application to each specific opportunity.

7. Spell well.
Completing employment applications online is convenient but potentially costly if you’re not careful. Be careful about your spelling and grammar when typing information directly onto online forms. In a 2007 survey, 63 per cent of recruitment managers told CareerBuilder.co.uk that spelling errors are the most frequent mistakes in CVs.

8. Tread carefully.
There’s a time and a place for everything. Using your company’s computer and Internet connection to look for a new position is a bad idea. Employers have the right to monitor the sites you visit and the e-mails you send. So, resist the temptation to hunt for a new job at the office if you want to keep your current one for the time being.

9. Follow up!
When job hunting online, it’s critical that you follow up with prospective employers after applying for a position. More than a few CVs have got lost in cyberspace. If you’ve submitted your application and haven’t heard back, call or send an e-mail to verify that it was received and to reaffirm your interest in the position. Don’t worry; you’re not going to annoy the employer.

While the Internet has revolutionised the way job seekers connect with prospective employers, an online job hunt shouldn’t be the only strategy you use. The best searches combine different approaches, including exploring services offered by recruiting firms, touching base with members of your professional network, and participating in industry events where you can hobnob with recruitment managers.

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  1. Scott | Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

    Definitely Spell Well! As a hiring manager, errors are my absolute pet peeve.

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