In today's virtual world, there are numerous online spots to search for your next career opportunity. But with so many available options, you might wonder what you should know before you start, which employment search engines you should use, and what role social media plays in job hunting.
The first step is to reflect on your past career choices. Ask yourself some tough questions like:
- What did I like or dislike about my past experiences?
- What are my values, strengths, skills and abilities?
Secondly, you need to get your ducks in a row. In other words, prepare for the application process. You can help eliminate frustration and lost time by doing the following:
- Update your resume
- Create a cover letter
- Have the dates and addresses of previous employers on hand
- List the names of previous supervisors and their phone numbers
- Have at least three professional references with phone numbers and emails
- Ensure you can check e-mail and voicemail often
- Keep track of the applications sent
Once you are ready to start the application process, you’ll need to keep a few additional factors in mind as you begin your job search:
- Choose the right search engine: Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers can help you navigate the confusing maze of online job search websites and help you find the one that will best suit your needs. Here is a shortlist of the websites we recommend:
One thing to keep in mind is that while search engines are great for finding jobs, it is highly recommended you apply using the official website of the company posting the job lead.
- Use social media for career exploration: During the last five years, there’s been an explosion of companies and job seekers using social media for recruiting and finding career opportunities. Some of the most popular social media sites for job seeking are:
- Facebook – A new job board feature allows employers to post jobs directly to their company page or a specific jobs page. Job seekers can then apply for these jobs through Facebook.
- Twitter/X – On Twitter/X, you can play around with hashtags in the search bar to track down jobs. Try using combinations of your city and various industries. For example, #chicagojobs and #chicagotechjob.
- LinkedIn - Per the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their candidate search.
- O*Net - The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a free online database that contains hundreds of occupational definitions to help students, job seekers, businesses and workforce development professionals to understand today's world of work in the United States.
- Avoid social media blunders: According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees. Key reasons that employers were turned off by a candidate's online presence include:
- Posting provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
- Posting information about them drinking or using drugs
- Having discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion
Finally, don’t forget the basics that can help any job seeker successfully find their next career opportunity:
- Do customize your resume and cover letter
- Do spend time researching companies and reviewing job descriptions
- Do check company reviews on Glass Door
- Do send more than one application per day
- Do apply to the company’s official website
- Don’t apply on a cell phone
- Don’t forget what you applied to
- Don’t give up if you really like the company
We wish you all the best in your job search. Remember, Goodwill Workforce Connection Centers are always ready to assist in your career exploration.