Finding a new job is hard work. While new jobs are opening up and even being invented every day, there are thousands of other people out there who are also competing to get those jobs. The role of the internet in creating job boards and social networking platform has made it easy for all prospective applicants to find and apply for many jobs all of the time.
These tools can be incredibly useful if managed properly, but they can also involve pitfalls if you do not know what to look out for. Discovering the pros and cons of using online job searches is the best way to determine whether they are right for you as a job seeker.
What does an online job search entail?
Searching for a job online is done in a few different ways. Individuals who are looking for a new job can complete an online job search most simply by going to job boards and social networks and finding postings. Other times, recruiters who have access to specialized online job databases and other services complete online job searches to curate an appropriate list of jobs for an applicant.
Any way that a search is performed, it will basically provide job postings that employers will post online in the hopes of finding qualified candidates. These online job postings are usually open to the general public, which means that dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of people could be interested in applying for the same position. This is good news for employers, as they are likely to find the right candidate, but it can also be difficult to manage so many resumes. However, for job seekers, online job searches are a widely used and preferred tool because of just how prevalent jobs seem to be online.
Online Job Searching vs. Other Methods
Since online job searching provides ease and accessibility for job seekers to find positions and apply for them electronically, some believe that the high number of applicants for a limited job pool and digital postings make it very difficult to land an interview. While there is an element of truth to these claims, it does not mean that online job searching is without its good qualities as well. Some of the positive aspects of job boards include:
- Their convenience. Truly, there is no easier way to land an interview than clicking your mouse a few times to upload a resume and cover letter that will be sent straight to a hiring manager’s desk. While many others can do this as well, as long as your resume is built well enough to stand out from the pack, you could get selected without putting in much work at all.
- Their time and cost-efficiency. While a person can only print off so many resumes and visit so many employers in person, the ability to apply for many different jobs online can save people lots of time and money that may otherwise be wasted on not landing an interview anyways.
- Their ability to show you a wider variety. By searching for jobs online, you are not just limited to those jobs that are available in your general area or those jobs that your network is able to tell you about. As long as you do not mind a commute or relocation, you can find thousands of new jobs to add to your list by widening your search radius.
However, there are other job search methods that also exist. To start, you could simply walk into, call or mail the place that you would like to work directly, without making an appointment. While some employers can see this bold technique as taking initiative, others view it as annoying and/or a waste of time since there is no guarantee that someone is available to talk to you. Dropping off your resume in person is acceptable for some companies but not for others.
Next, you could use the help of a recruiter or staffing firm. These professionals are often willing to help you, but there is never complete confidence that you will walk away from the experience with the job that you were looking for. Finally, many consider the best way to search for jobs is by networking and utilizing contacts. This method can also be tricky, but by speaking with your connections (or their connections), you can often find someone that works in the industry or company that you are looking for a job in.
How to Best Utilize Online Job Boards
However, if you choose to utilize job boards, then it is usually a good idea to learn how you can use them to their fullest extent. To start, it is usually helpful to utilize a wide variety of different online services. While some websites serve as actual search engines for open job listings, others aggregate job listings for specific industries and even specific companies. Different services provide different features and lists of jobs, so it is generally preferred to survey a few different websites at one time to find as many open positions as possible.
When using an online job board, it is usually wise to upload your resume directly to the site by making an online profile. That way, you can easily attach your resume to new positions. The biggest exception to this rule is if you have chosen to have a more job-specific resume than a catchall general document. This is often a good idea, as you can tailor each resume to individual job requirements, but it will require a bit more planning and editing for each application. Choosing to utilize online job boards is a common practice, but there is a reason that everyone has jumped on board. It is one of the most convenient job searching methods, as long as it is used properly.
How much of my job search should be spent online?
While using online job searching resources is a valuable tool, most of your job search should be done by doing research, honing your resume and networking. Sometimes a better option than submitting directly through the job board is to either deliver your resume to them in-person to show initiative or to check your network to see if you happen to know anyone who works there rather. Of course, if you find a position posted online that is an excellent match for your resume, then there is never any harm in applying using job boards. Neither option is necessarily a bad choice, as some people find that they have more to offer on paper.
Whichever method you choose to go with, try to put yourself in the position of the employer and consider how they would like to receive your application. When you can come up with that mindset, you are ready to go about your job search and eventual application confidently.