The internet has changed the type of jobs we do, how we find work and how we get hired. While it has added complexity to the career landscape, the internet also provides valuable tools you can use to your advantage when planning your career. Having an up-to-date LinkedIn account, researching your chosen field and cleaning up your social media persona, are all steps in presenting yourself as a professional, career-oriented job seeker.
The changing face of job search
First online job boards replaced newspaper classifieds and job agencies. Then LinkedIn arrived on the scene to combine social media with career progression. Now Facebook has jumped on board, just last month implementing a system where businesses can advertise job listings throughout the US and Canada. It's easy to get lost with so many choices, so don't over do it. Research the options available and find a platform that works for you.
- Indeed: Your stock-standard, location-based jobs board.
- Glassdoor: Check out company reviews and salary comparisons on top of their job board offering.
- Monster: Not as refined as Glassdoor but includes company profiles and an excellent Career Resources section.
- LinkedIN: Combining social media, networking and job search, use LinkedIn to develop your brand (see below), create professional networks, find jobs and research companies.
- Facebook: Offers a standard job board with filtered position and location searches. Also offers a Job tab on business pages, so you can keep an eye out for new positions in your favorite companies.
Research, Research, Research
The internet is made up of information and, as they say, information is power. As you embark on your job search, arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible on your chosen industry, favorite companies and career planning. On top of the below research tips, check out this guide to the Best Ways and Places to Research Your Target Employers.
- Keep up-to-date with industry news and innovation.
- Find out all there is to know about an industry and learn all the basics. This will give you more confidence to apply, and be interviewed, for jobs in that industry.
- Compare job board websites and decide on a few that are most relevant to your chosen industry. Visit these regularly, daily if possible.
- Research the companies you think would be a good fit for you. If possible, find the person in charge of HR or recruitment and contact them directly. You can ask their advice on the experience the company requires, work experience openings or if there are any positions available.
Create a career database
It's important to ensure each application is tailor-made for the position, but there is no point reinventing the wheel every time you apply for a job. Advances in cloud-based data storage and software, means that you can always have your information on hand, on any device. Tracking your professional accomplishments is also a great habit to get into. Not only will it make job search easier, it will also improve your ability to negotiate promotions and salary increases once you have found work.
- Add to the skills list developed last week by listing your personal accomplishments and hard skills, with examples of each, to be used in cover letters and job interviews.
- Prepare different resumes for each type of job you are applying for, using key terms, targeting appropriate industry and/or positions.
- Collect interesting articles, infographics and resources on Pinterest boards, in Evernote or by saving articles on Facebook.
- Store databases and research in a cloud storage system like Google Drive, within a spreadsheet or in a notes program like Evernote. Whatever system you decide to use make sure it is easy for you to search and find the information you need, when you need it.
Build your personal brand
While employers are now able to find out more about job applicants through social media profiles, these platforms also provide employees with a way to manage their personal brand. Make sure your social media shows you in the way you wish to be seen.
- Remove any pictures or posts that could give employers a bad impression.
- Be searchable! Give yourself an online presence so employers can see who you are and what drives you before they meet you in person.
- Create a LinkedIn profile. If you don't want to create a career database as outlined above, this can be a good place to collect and build your career information. Be specific about the type of work you are looking for.
- Update your work and education experience on Facebook .
- Consistency is key. Make sure you keep all online profiles updated with the same information, and remember to add new skills as you achieve them.
Step away from the machine
One of the most important things to do when beginning your career is to stay positive and focused. Treat career planning, training and job search as a job in itself and keep to a schedule, including giving yourself regular time off.
- Create a list of tasks to do each day and tick them off as you complete each one. Not only will this let you see how much you have achieved, but it also ensures you stay on track to reach your career goals.
- Keep your enthusiasm up by taking time out, away from the computer. Exercise is not only good for your body, but it also releases chemicals in the brain that improve your mood, so go for a walk or a bike ride and clear your head regularly.
- Take up a hobby or help out around your neighborhood. If you follow our advice on pain-free networking (coming soon!) and speak positively about your job search, you never know what opportunities might arise from a random act of kindness or knitting group