By Tom Musbach, Yahoo! HotJobs
Job search was the fastest growing US online content-site category in 2008, according to digital ratings authority comScore. The growth coincides with the loss of over 2 million jobs and a rising unemployment rate, but it also underscores how easy and effective the Web can be for finding a job.
"Online job search resources provide a vital service to those in need of new job prospects and opportunities, and Americans are turning online for this assistance now more than ever," said Jack Flanagan, executive vice president of comScore.
But are job seekers using Web tools to their best advantage? Here are several essential tips for making the Internet work you:
Diversify Your Search
You want to cast a wide net when looking for a job, so don't limit yourself to one site or type of site. In addition to job boards like Monster.com, try sites associated with your relevant industry or professional associations, alumni career resources and local career centers.
Search Many Terms
Think about possible synonyms for the types of jobs you want. If you're looking for a sales job, you should search on all relevant terms like "sales rep," "account executive," "sales associate" or "inside sales."
Use a Job-Search Agent
Once you create a profile and do an online job search, many sites allow you to save your search parameters so you can be notified via email when new job postings arrive that fit the parameters of your search.
Research Every Promising Job Opportunity
The Web makes it very easy to learn about places you might want to work. For example:
- Check individual company sites to learn about the culture or corporate mission.
- Search news sites for relevant reports about a potential employer or follow its financial performance.
- Ask questions about certain employers through your online networking groups or other resources, like the Monster Career Advice forums.
- Prepare your salary expectations by using the Monster's salary tools.
Connect with Social Networking Sites
You can use your profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and ZoomInfo for professional benefits. The sites let you highlight your work experience and achievements, learn about new job openings from your contacts, or keep a mini blog about your accomplishments or job search.
These suggestions are just a few of the many creative ways people use these tools to network successfully. In addition, recruiters increasingly use these sites to search for information about candidates, so having an updated profile can boost your exposure.
But that exposure leads to a final caution, since most people also use those sites for recreational purposes:
Monitor Your Online Appearance, or Digital Footprint
Do an Internet search on your name, and examine the list of search results. Are there questionable photos you should "untag" or inappropriate comments you should delete? Use the privacy settings on your profiles, and be discreet about people you let into your networks and the information you share.
Getting hired is all about making a good impression, so make sure your online appearance enhances the impression you make.