The simple fact in today’s job market is that your online activity can get you hired. A CareerBuilder.com survey, showed that 45% of employers are using social networking sites to screen candidates. Of the employers that do use social networking sites, 18% say that they found content on social networking sites that caused them to actually hire the candidate. Although many job seekers are finding success with an online job search, others are not. The following are some of mistakes that I see job seekers making with their online job search.
Not using niche job sites
From general conversation with many job seekers, it is clear that many people don’t know what a niche job site is or how it can help in a job search. Niche job boards are those job boards that serve a specific industry, profession or companies and organizations that seek candidates with specific backgrounds or involvement. For example, The HBCU Career Center runs a niche job board for students, alumni, staff and communities served by the 104 Historically Black College and Universities in America. Employers who want to attract diverse candidates often turn to this or other job boards like it with a specific target audience.
Getting distracted on the internet
I heard a really famous writer at a convention say that the most seductive challenge that today’s online job seeker can face is the blinking cursor. They were right. The blinking cursor invariably beckons job seekers to do more than job search once they sit in front of the computer. For the last 10 years, I have been urging job seekers to use a time when they go online to search for jobs, and that advice is more relevant today than ever before. A timer set for every 20 minutes, will help online job seekers minimize distractions or limit the time spent off mission.
Not exploring the career sites of specific companies
According to an analysis of hiring data by Jobs2web Inc. and reported in the Wall Street Journal companies will look through about 219 applications per job from job seekers who found the posting on a major board like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com, before they find someone to hire. On the other hand, the employer will only look through about 33 applications on their own career site before they find someone to hire. What does this mean for job seekers? Spend more time on company websites instead of mega job board.
Can you remind me about the job I applied for?
Recruiters complain about this all the time. They contact a job seeker who does not even remember submitting a resume for a specific position. Worse yet, the job seeker is either no longer interested or asks the recruiter to remind them what the job was all about. Job seekers who are spending precious time online in a job search, should go the extra step of logging where they applied, the date of application, the company and the job title. It is easy enough to keep this accessible on whatever mobile technology the job seeker is using
Not cleaning up the online persona
Some job seekers don’t put two and two together in this regard sometimes. They forget that if they are online looking for work, it should be expected that the employers might also be online looking for employees. Companies spend a lot of time making sure the company website is attractive and inclusive. They do this because they are concerned about the company’s image and want to project a positive brand image. Job seekers should be doing the same thing. Job seekers need to manage their image online and clean up statements, photos or images that could present a negative image to potential employers.
Keep in mind that an effective online job search is not just about the number of people one friends on Facebook or the number of followers one gathers on Twitter. It is about making meaningful connections. The more specific and targeted the online job search is, the better the outcomes.