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Online Job Hunting Tips

Although recruiters and personal relationships remain the most effective means of building your network and securing a new job, social networking websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, along with a wide variety of online job boards, have become essential to anyone’s job search. The following is some useful advice about what to keep in mind when job hunting online.

Remember – if it’s on the web, it’s public

Make no mistake – employers and recruiters will Google you when they want to learn more about you. That’s why it’s important to remember that everything you put on the web becomes a part of your overall online persona – and that persona can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting it. Here are a few tips on how to keep your online persona clean and professional:

  • Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Such things include derogatory comments, revealing photos, foul languages, and lewd jokes posted on blogs or personal social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • Make sure your privacy settings are high. Only select people in your life should be able to view your personal posts. Also, since you can’t control what others might say about you, delete any negative comments you might receive and consider blocking those who persistently post things you don’t like on your profile. Also, since social media sites continually undergo regular facelifts, make sure you regularly check your privacy settings.
  • Regularly search for yourself on Google. Beat the employers to the punch. If you find anything about yourself that you want taken down, contact the site’s controller to see what they can do. But beware: removing anything from the internet is virtually impossible. Therefore, you should focus on posting only positive material about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having permanent information about you on the web if it’s all good.

Build a professional online network

Creating a positive online persona isn’t just about safeguarding your reputation for recruiters and prospective employers. It’s also about connecting with people to increase your career opportunities. Here are some tips on how to build your professional online network:

  • Start your own professional blog. Blogging isn’t just a great way to demonstrate the knowledge and expertise you have in your field, it’s also a great way to showcase yourself as a thought leader. Blogs are easy enough to start. Popular blogging platforms include WordPressGoogle’s Blogger/Blogspot, and Tumblr. For inspiration – and to start networking – search for other people’s professional blogs and post comments to make yourself heard.
  • Join LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking site used strictly for professional purposes. On LinkedIn, you can post your resume, write and receive professional recommendations, share industry insights, follow companies you’d like to work for, connect with recruiters, and so much more. As of June 2012, LinkedIn reported that it had more than 175 million users in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. It has quickly become a mainstream channel for job searching and professional networking.
  • Repost job openings. Post jobs you think your friends might be interested in on various social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Doing so may prompt them to send postings your way in return.

More useful tips

As a savvy online job seeker, you should always:

  • Beware of bogus sites. There are people out there that want to use your personal information for illegal purposes. If a site does not mention the people behind it, shares no contact information, or has no extensive privacy policy, stay away.
  • Use an appropriate email address. When people create personal email accounts, they tend to create addresses that sound fun or funny. However, when applying to a job, make sure you use an email account with a straightforward, professional sounding address that features simply your name and/or initials.
  • Do some digging. While recruiters and employers can search for information about you online, remember that the flipside is also true. Check out the websites of any companies you’re interested in working for, and look up your potential managers and coworkers using Google or LinkedIn.
  • Populate your resume with key words and phrases. Electronic resume submission programs screen for qualified candidates by identifying words and phrases most that are most commonly used in your profession. Think about what these words and phrases might be and make sure you use them in the documents you submit online.
  • Never search for jobs at work. If you’re looking to leave your current place of work, remember to save your job hunting for when you’re at home. Companies do in fact monitor your emails and your web usage, which means they can easily find out if you’ve been job hunting on their dime.
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