Now that my diatribe about apathetic college students is out of my system, I return to my original purpose with my last blog.
I began my job search this summer. After learning about the different online job posting websites that are teeming with openings, I decided to take an organized approach to finding a job. Now, let me preface this with the fact that I am indeed employed, but I am looking for something with more possibilities and, frankly, more money. So, I opened up Excel one day and created a spreadsheet that I titled “Brooke’s Epic Job Search.” I decided that I would use this spreadsheet to keep myself organized, as I quickly discovered that it is really easy to lose track of job applications that only require a click of a button. I also wanted to use this to keep track of responses from the employers. This would help me remember to follow up on applications. In other words, I just wanted to stay on top of the various jobs that I applied for.
Well, within a few months (and about 10 applications later), I learned a few important things about online job hunting that I think are important to share. Have I employed all of these things? No. In fact, part of me refuses to simply out of principle. But, let me share what I’ve learned in hopes that it might help someone else not quite as stubborn as me.
Tip #1: Be careful when applying for jobs out of your area
If you are like me, you might be stuck in your hometown. In my case, I don’t quite find anything particularly unpleasant about my hometown. It is quite pretty, actually. However, I haven’t been able to find opportunities in my field. So, a move would be great.
However, there a few things that don’t quite work in this case. First of all, HR offices usually do not want to deal with out-of-towners. Now, if you are an expert in your field or are applying for something that requires a very specific skill set that you possess, then this doesn’t apply to you. But, if you are applying for an entry-level type position and you live 500 miles away from the company, don’t waste your time. Furthermore, they don’t want to invest money in interviewing and training someone from out of the area who turns out not to be a good fit.
A friend of mine suggested that you use the address of someone you know in the city that you are looking at. Of course, you should ask first, but he said this can make a big difference. You just must be willing to fly up to wherever this location is at the drop of a hat. Is this lying? Well, I’m not sure. Do what you have to do, but you should be cautious if you are going to take this route. Be prepared to explain why you used someone else’s address if you aren’t good at keeping up this charade.
Tip #2: Be willing to tweak your résumé for each job
Many online job portals actually function as “weed out” engines. In other words, a computer reviews your résumé before it even gets to a person. Because of the high volume of applications that employers receive from online portals, they don’t have the time to pick through less-than-desireable applicants. Instead, they use programs to scan through the résumés and applications and look for keywords that are relevant to the job. This is very similar to SEO. With SEO, online content managers use frequently used search terms throughout their online copy to make sure that search engines like Google push their online content toward the top of search results. The same applies to résumés. Using the job descriptions provided to you, look for important words to pepper throughout your résumé. Looking for buzzwords and phrases online is also a good technique. The more customized you make your résumé, the better chances you will have at getting an actual human being to consider you.
Tip#3: Don’t expect responses
Out of all my online applications, I have only received responses on half of them. Only two of those responses were from actual people. The rest were through one of the job websites I used. I had to sign-in and look for them. I never even received an email.
This is perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of the whole process. You can literally apply to hundreds of jobs and never receive even an email confirmation. But, I’ve learned not to let this get to me. This is just the way it is.
There are hundreds of cool jobs floating out there in cyberspace. There is even one that is perfect for you. But, I would suggest that the whole networking thing works best. Find a job through someone you know. At least you’ll get to interact with a human being that way.
In the meantime, I’ll keep trying.