Using the Internet Effectively

Posting online is an easy and inexpensive way to advertise job openings, and it's an equally easy way to submit a résumé. Because it can be so easy, many job seekers submit résumés for openings that they aren't truly qualified for, thinking they are increasing their chances of obtaining a position. The actual result is that hiring managers are overwhelmed routing through marginally appropriate résumés and, therefore, have to be more selective about whom they invite for an interview.

Knowing this, you can spend your time more effectively by finding the specific position that is right for you, learning about the company and the interview team, and submitting a résumé that shows how your qualifications and desires are a perfect match for their needs. In addition to your personal network, Internet resources are another set of tools in your job search. As discussed earlier, first complete a personal assessment, to determine what types of positions would suit you best.

Ways to Effectively Use the Internet in Your Search

  • Research organizations of interest.
  • Search for posted jobs that are appropriate for you.
  • Locate hidden jobs.
  • Be geographically and technically selective by filtering and sorting.
  • Find professional organizations that can aid you in your search.

The Internet can be engrossing and time-consuming. You must be patient and disciplined or it is easy to get distracted from your objective. Be clear about what you are seeking before you start, and stick to your plan to avoid becoming frustrated or wasting time and energy.

A major difference between the Internet and your personal network is that people will filter information for you, while computers will not. Your network members have a sense of what you can do and what you might like or dislike. But to the Internet you're a stranger, and all information it offers is unfiltered. Fortunately, search engines continue to improve at helping you find the information you need quickly.

When applying for jobs online, make sure to:

  • Apply as the company prefers. The vast majority of companies now require you to submit an application through their web site, even if you have an inside contact. Make sure to follow the company's instructions exactly - how to apply, code numbers to include, format of your documents, and so on.
  • Spell out your qualifications that exactly match the employer's requirements - using the same keywords and terminology as in the advertisement.
  • Keep your résumé current. Companies may legally select the most recent qualified candidates, so they may not look at résumés more than two to three weeks old.
  • Target specific companies. Visit their websites often and sign up for their e-mail lists and RSS feeds. This ensures that you will find out about the new openings as soon as they are posted, and can act quickly.
  • Use your network to find a contact in the company, and have them refer you for the position, using the method preferred by that company. About 1/3 of new hires come through employee referral programs, but each company has specific policies on how referrals should be submitted.

Even the Internet is changing. We are moving from an era when vast quantities of information are available, and you design queries to search for the nuggets you want, to a customized era where information is pre-filtered based on your personal history and the history of others like you, collaborative filtering, and complex algorithms that try to predict what you want before you ask for it.

There are a large number of job and career sites, many of which offer free advice and tips, as well as job postings and résumé listing services. While many of these offer good advice, remember that advice is often worth what you pay for it. The most valuable advice is that designed for, and offered by, professionals in your field - for example, American Chemical Society Department of Career Management and Development.

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