Using the internet to job hunt effectively is not as easy as it might seem. While online job listings are plentiful, the painful truth is that only 15% of jobs are filled by an applicant who applied to an online listing without a direct referral.
Unless you just love filling out job applications, you need to find a way to move out of the 15% and into the 85% of applicants who landed a job by adding a personal referral to their application. The good news is that you can use the internet to find a referral, and land the job of your dreams.
Figure Out What You’re Looking For
Before you start looking for a new job, you need to define exactly what you’re looking for. The internet is a huge place, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may never find it. Take some time and define the characteristics that will mark your next role:
- Define the category: Are you looking for a full-time or part-time job? Do you want to be a traditional employee, or an independent contractor, also known as a freelancer?
- Define the location: Do you want a remote job? Do you want a position that won’t require relocation? Do you want to relocate to a specific geographic area?
- Define your specific wishes: Do you want to work for a specific company, in a specific industry, or hold a specific position?
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to position yourself for greatness.
Manage Your Online Presence
If you’re using the internet to look for a new job, you can be sure potential employers are using the internet to check out applicants. So once you know the type of job you’re looking for, the next step is to brand yourself accordingly.
- Google yourself and take note of the first page or two of results. If you don’t like what you see you need to clean up those results.
- Consider creating a personal website that highlights your professional expertise. If you have the time and ability, consider blogging about trending topics within your industry.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, free of typos, includes a professional picture, and follows best practices.
- Clean up your personal social media profiles. Pictures of your friends, family, pets, and comments cheering on your favorite sports team are fine. However, rants that demonstrate attitudes that could cause trouble on the job can cost you a shot at a great opportunity.
With your ideal job defined, and online presence ready to be shown off, it’s time to start looking for opportunities.
Places to Look for a Job Online
There are many places you could look for a job online. Here are a few to get you started.
Traditional Job Search Websites
If you’re looking for a traditional job as a regular employee, and you don’t have a specific company in mind, then traditional job search websites are your best bet. Try looking for jobs that fit your geographic and industry criteria at sites such as Simply Hired, Indeed, Career Builder, Glassdoor, and on LinkedIn’s job board.
If you aren’t looking for a traditional full-time job, a freelance role will provide greater flexibility than a part-time job, and many freelance positions can be filled remotely. Use sites such as Guru, Upwork, and Freelancer to get an idea of the sort of opportunities available to someone with your skillset.
Only 15% of jobs are filled by an applicant who applied online and didn't have a direct referral.
Work Your Network
To have the best chance of earning an interview, find a way to earn a personal referral for the job you want to apply for. However, in order to earn a referral, you need a strong professional network working for you.
- Discreetly let key professional contacts know that you’re looking for a new position. If you are currently employed, be sure to ask that they keep that information confidential.
- Make new digital connections with key people at the companies you’d like to work for. You can do this on LinkedIn, by following and commenting on the blog of someone you’d like to make a connection with, or by creating a new Group on LinkedIn targeted at the sorts of connections you hope to make.
- Ask for an introduction to a new contact through a friend you both have in common. LinkedIn is designed to make this easy and includes tools to facilitate these sorts of introductions.
- When you apply for a job with a company where you have a personal connection, don’t be shy about asking that connection for a referral.
The process we’ve outlined won’t produce lots of opportunities with very low odds of earning an interview. Instead, it should produce high-quality opportunities that you have a much better chance of landing. So once you do find an opportunity that is perfect, apply for it intentionally.
- Don’t use a generic resume. Craft your resume to fit the position description, and to explain why you want this specific job.
- Don’t just send in your resume and then sit back and wait. If at all possible, use the connections you’ve made to reach out to the hiring manager to express your interest in the job.
- If you do have a personal connection to the company, let that connection know that you’ve applied and ask if they’d be willing to vouch for you.
The use of online job advertisements means that every company is getting more applications than ever. However, by learning how to job hunt effectively using the web, you will stand out and earn an interview.