It used to be that if you were looking for a job, you would search the job section of the local paper, circle the jobs that interested you, and call them. This is no longer the case. Now, if you call a business asking about employment, they almost always tell you to go to their website and fill out an application. That is all well and good if you have access to a computer and know your way around the Web, but not everyone is able to navigate the Internet. Some job-seekers have used the Internet for simple searches or to check out a favorite restaurant, but maybe unsure of how to navigate through other areas and are probably not savvy to marketing and spamming techniques that they are sure to encounter.
Where to Begin
Most online job searchers will start with a job search engine like Job Career Critic. These are set-up to help you find a job in your area (or an area in which you wish to work). You will first want to put in your location or zip code. You can usually refine your search by choosing a job category or typing in a keyword.
As you go down through the result list, there are things you should be aware of. If you see that some jobs have a slightly different-colored background or some other small change in formatting, they may actually be advertisements. Clicking on these may actually take you to an education program or plan in which they ask you to pay to make money/learn the business. Just skip these.
When you find a job that looks interesting to you, click on it (after you’ve determined that it is not an advertisement). It will take you to the details for that job. Besides checking for the qualification requirements and benefits available, take note of the job number. This is a number used by that search engine to identify that particular job. You should reference this number in any electronic correspondence (application, email, etc.). Also, check to see if the company prefers you continue to their website in order to apply, instead of applying through the search engine site.
Beware of Advertising Misdirection
“Do you want to continue your education?” This question may pop-up. It is not a way for the computer to get to know you better. It is an advertisement.
Some search engines will redirect you to an advertisement for a college (or other business). This may happen when you click on the job from the search list or when you click to apply. Take a good look at this page when it comes up. It may have your personal information filled-in already. This is not something to fear, in itself. They don’t have your information. Your Web browser has auto-filled the page. All of this information is on your computer. At this point, only you see this, the business does not have the information yet.
Look for the click-able parts of the page. You may find one that says “continue” and another that says “no thanks” or “continue to job list” (or similar). In any case, there should be two choices listed: one to submit the application for the college information, and another to skip it and continue to your job information. Once you’ve determined both of these, you can click on the one that takes you to the job list (or job application). If you want, in order to feel more at ease, you can erase all the information that has auto-filled on this page, before continuing to the job page.
The Next Steps
If you don’t already have one, you should write a resume. Most places request that resumes be in Word format (.doc). That is Microsoft Word. If you don’t have MS Word, there is free software available online called Open Office that lets you create Word documents. Other employers may require you to fill out the resume on their website. If you have your resume in MS Word, you can usually cut-and-paste from your resume into the website resume.
If you find that you want to use one of the above search engines more than once, you may want to register on that search engine and store your resume there as well. Registration is usually free, and you choose how much of your information can be seen by employers (there is searchability for employers to look at the various job-seekers). For example, you could choose to have your resume searchable (viewable to employers through a search) but keep your name and location anonymous. Your contact information is protected. You would get any correspondence from potential employers, who found you through a search, in a message area on the search engine’s website. You could have these messages forwarded to your email account, but your email address is not visible to the sender.
Refining the Search
If you are not finding the types of jobs-or enough of them-in the general job search engines, there are other ways to find specific jobs you are looking for. One is to go to the website of a company for which you would like to work. Once on their site, look for a link that reads “job openings”, “employment”, “careers” or similar. Click on it and go from there.
Another option is to find a search engine that is specifically geared for that job type. For example, someone looking for a nursing job could go to Google and type into the search box: “nursing job search engine” or “nursing jobs”. Look for one that has an address that looks like it is specifically for nurses, such as “nursemp(dot)com” or “healthcareers(dot)com”.
Tracking Job Search Progress
It’s always a good idea to keep track of your job search, especially with so many job search engines. You can keep a list by date or by employer contacted. For each entry list the date, company name, search engine used (if any), name of contact, if you sent an application/resume or any other activity, job number and contact information. You can refer back to this list to make periodic inquiries (have they received your application? when are they taking interviews? etc). Track your progress and you will reach your goal.
Navigating the Internet may be scary at first, but once you get to know the potential risks, you will find the rewards are enormous. It is not something that must be avoided. On the contrary, it will become a powerful tool for your online job search and overall career.