Do’s and Don’ts of Online Job Sites

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It seems lately that newspaper classifieds are a thing of the past. Instead of leafing through the Work section of the local paper, job hunters are now taking their resumes online, looking up appropriate listings, posting their information, and getting hired. The Internet is the place to be if you’re looking for a job. However, there are some do’s and don’ts for successful online job-hunting, so make sure you’re in the know before getting started.

Do keep a text-only copy of your resume.The first thing you should do when getting set to job-search online is to convert your resume to text-only format. Most of us have our resumes in Word, but many job sites require that you type them into a text box instead of uploading the word document. If you cut and paste from Word to save time, your formatting will be altered—you’ll have to go through and fix things to make it visually appealing. This isn’t a big deal if you’re just applying to a couple of jobs, but it can be a hassle if you have to apply to ten or more. Save time, and format your resume in text first—then you can cut and paste with ease.

Don’t just concentrate on the big ones.There are several big sites out there, such as Monster.com, that get a lot of press. And it’s definitely good to check them out. However, make sure you’re not ignoring smaller, less publicized job boards—especially those that focus in your field. You may be able to find a better selection of jobs there.

Do protect your privacy. It’s not a good idea to post your contact information—address, phone number, email, social security number—for all to see. Instead, set up a job-search email address and include that as your contact information—and say you’ll provide more detailed info on request. This will allow you to screen requests for your contact information.

Don’t spread your resume too thin.Don’t send your resume to every job out there, even ones you’re not qualified for. Recruiters who find you don’t meet their requirements will just trash your resume all the quicker—and in the worst cases, it could damage your credibility. Instead, carefully sort through job postings and only pick the ones for which you’re qualified—it’s targeted marketing that will pay off in the long run.

Do write a decent cover letter.It can be tempting to write a boilerplate cover letter and send it to lots of postings to save time. This is not advised. Regardless of whether you’re applying online or by mail, your cover letter is your first chance to introduce yourself to the company you’re applying with. A good cover letter can pique a hiring manager’s interest and encourage him to take a glance at your resume—and an excellent one can make him consider you even if you don’t exactly match their requirements. A bad one—especially one that doesn’t quite match the job or that contains spelling and grammatical errors—can get your resume dismissed, even if you do meet the qualifications.

Don’t send your resume out before it’s been proofread.It’s important that you get someone to check over your resume and cover letter before it goes to employers. Spell check programs don’t always catch words that are spelled correctly but used out of context, and grammar checkers are notoriously inaccurate. Even if you’re not applying for a job that requires writing skills, you’ll come off as less than intelligent if you send out an error-filled resume—and probably won’t be hired.

Do rely on other job search methods. Online job searching can be very effective. However, it’s not the only way you can find a job—and if you’re only looking online, your job search will take much longer. Use your social network to keep an eye out for job opportunities, go to job fairs, even peruse the newspaper classifieds—whatever it takes for you to get in front of as many employers as possible.

Don’t expect instant results.Many people see online job searching as a faster, more convenient way of applying for jobs. However, looking for your next job is still technically your full time job—until you land a real one. It takes time, resources, contacts, and patience to find just the right job. Even though the web makes things seem deceptively convenient, you’ll still get the best results if you take the time to find only the best-suited jobs, craft an individual cover letter for each, and send your resume only for postings you’re qualified for. Do these things, and you’re much more likely to land your dream job in time.

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