When it comes to looking for a job, understanding the online job market is crucial to your success. It’s important to know how to navigate the online application process, from preparing your resume to preparing for an interview. However, there is a lot of conflicting advice out there that can be confusing to follow. For example, what are the best ways to plan your job search? How should you personalize your resume? What are the best strategies for following up after an interview? To accomplish your job-seeking goals, check out the do’s and don’ts of navigating your online job search.
Do: Set SMART Goals and Objectives
Before you start revising your resume or looking for jobs, identify what you want to get out of your career. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. They are clearly defined, realistic, and aligned with your values and long-term objectives. For example, are you measuring your success by your level of income or by your responsibilities? Do you want to accomplish your goals by a specific date or within a certain timeframe? If you don’t have any direction, it will be harder to get where you want to be.
Don’t: Apply For Everything
It can be tempting to apply for every available job posting you see. After all, online job boards and websites make things easier and more accessible than ever. However, this approach is aimless, and it won’t help you achieve your objectives. Take the time to read each posting’s details, including the responsibilities, benefits, and skills required. From there, decide whether the job is a good fit for you and your professional goals.
Do: Personalize Your Resume
In today’s remote work culture, submitting your resume online is becoming more and more commonplace. Instead of printing physical copies, you have a Word document, PDF, and/or LinkedIn profile ready to go. Take the opportunity to personalize your resume for your desired job. While you don’t need a specific resume for every posting you apply to, you should highlight the skills and experiences they’re looking for. Remember: don’t list every job you’ve ever had; focus on the ones that are relevant to the employer.
Don’t: Overdesign Your Resume
There are many online resources that help people create well-designed resumes. Having a resume with a clean layout and good design leaves a great first impression on employers. However, that doesn’t mean you should go overboard with fonts, colors, and graphics. Keep things simple, easy to read, and easy to navigate. Employers shouldn’t have to spend extra time trying to find your educational background or your contact information. Focus less on the look of your resume, and more on the content of your resume.
Do: Research Companies and People
If you want to be well-informed and well-prepared, do your research ahead of time. Being online is the best way to find the information you need. For example, which companies’ values align with yours? Take a look at their websites and social media accounts to see what kinds of conversations they’re having. Are you looking to network with people in your desired industry? Send connection requests on LinkedIn to find your future managers, colleagues, and mentors.
Don’t: Follow Up Repeatedly
Waiting to hear back after applying or interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking. However, while one follow-up email is acceptable, multiple emails and phone calls are not. Employers and recruiters may have hundreds of candidates to look at, and constantly contacting them can actually hurt your chances. Remember to be patient, not aggressive. While showing initiative is usually the best thing to do, show some restraint instead and wait for them to get back to you.
Do: Conduct Yourself Professionally
Even if you aren’t submitting your resume or going to your interview in person, you still need to act accordingly. If you’re doing a video call, dress professionally and keep your background tidy. When sending emails and messages, be mindful of the way you write and the way you address the other person. Lastly, make sure to prepare in advance and be respectful of their time. Have your questions, answers, and phone or computer ready for your conversation.
Don’t: Hide Your Individuality
Being professional doesn’t mean blending in with the crowd. Potential employers want to know why they should pick you over someone else, after all. Identify what makes you stand out, such as your volunteer history, your skillset, or your traits. For example, are you good at motivating your coworkers? Are you able to easily resolve conflict? Find ways to turn your personality into soft skills that make you the ideal employee.