The Internet has become a valuable tool for networking and hiring, but it has also paved the way for scams and traps and other time wasters. Here are five things to keep an eye out for in your online job search, to make sure you don’t derail yourself. After all, only about 1 in 5 online applicants end up getting an interview.
Here’s what to avoid.
If you keep running into a particular posting and it seems like it’s been out for a while, pay extra attention. It could be that they have rolling recruitment at that particular company and are hungry for talent at any time, but it could also be that this is an old posting someone forgot to take down—or worse, a recycled one.
Yes, everyone who’s anyone is on LinkedIn. And yes, you’re probably six degrees or fewer from your biggest fish. But don’t just start connecting to people willy-nilly. And certainly don’t start spamming people you have never met—in person or otherwise, or have no reasonable claim to know. Try making genuine connections with personal messages first, with people within your circle, or just beyond, and explain what you’re looking for. In most cases, you’ll get passed along to where you need to be without looking like you’re connecting for the sake of statistics, rather than genuine relationships.
We’ve all seen them. And we’ve all (probably, at one point or another) been desperate enough to fall for one. Even the best job search sites can sometimes fail to weed out a phony job posting. Keep your wits about you. If a job seems too good to be true (exorbitant pay, little to no experience needed), it probably is.
Formatting your resume with a ton of keywords to please the robots sifting through online applications will probably backfire. The technology is quite advanced and trained to look for contextualization. Stop treating your resume with SEO and address it, and your cover letter, as if a real person will be reading it. That might be the best way to ensure one actually will.
It may feel productive to blitz applications by the dozen, but chances are you’re not getting your materials in front of the right people. Do a bit of homework and find out who the hiring manager or supervisor is for your position, read up about them to the extent you can, then try and find a way to get your resume in front of that person—rather than their application bot.
Taking time to avoid these pitfalls can really make a difference, not to mention minimize your job search time. Remember, work smart—not hard.
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