Online job searching

The internet has transformed the way we search and apply for jobs. It is a faster and more convenient way of finding work, but it is not without its pitfalls. A small amount of thought and preparation prior to searching will save you time in the long run.

Job searching

Job search websites work in essentially the same way, but there may be subtle differences. Some jobsites specialise in certain types of work e.g. white collar office jobs, jobs in IT or engineering. Check this out in advance and if you are in any doubt, a few sample searches should reveal the suitability of the site for your needs.

If there are advanced search options, use them to limit your search to the amount of distance you wish to travel to work or the age of the vacancy (some websites may be slow at removing job adverts that have expired).

In advance of your search, identify alternative search terms for your line of work. If you do not get any results from your original search, try an alternative term or broaden your search e.g. in place of ‘Lorry Driver’, try ‘HGV Driver’ or simply ‘Driver’.

Some websites require you to register your details with them before it allows you to apply for any vacancies. Many job search sites also allow you to upload your CV and/or a Covering Letter to the site. They then ask you to list keywords describing the type of work you are looking for. This matching process is carried out by computer, so identify alternative search terms to give yourself the best chance of obtaining a match. The websites offer email alerts and contact you if a job match occurs.

If you do not receive any alerts try changing your keywords, also check they are not being delivered to your junk/spam folder in error. If you receive alerts for jobs that are not what you want, again try changing your keywords or unsubscribe to that particular site.

Applying online

Not all jobs advertised online require you to apply online. Check carefully, some employers ask you to email them a CV or telephone them to discuss the post.

Some employers provide an application form in PDF format and this cannot be completed online, you will need to print it off first. If the application can be completed online and in Microsoft Word format remember to make use of the spell check facility.

You do not need to apply for absolutely every job online. It is quite easy to fall into the trap of firing off an application for every single vacancy, because it is so easy online. Be selective and remember a well written, targeted application or CV is more likely to be successful than several hastily written, generalised applications. If you are using a PC in a public area, such as an internet cafe or library, ensure you have enough time to complete the application and remember not to leave any of your personal details on the computer when you leave.

Remember to still use conventional job searching methods as well as online. Check job centres, local press and specialist media. Not all employers advertise online.

Finally, remember that just because you are applying online, this does not prohibit you from contacting the employer by telephone or email to ask questions about the post or if you have not received a response to your application.

Information4living website

Information4living is a great new website which has been put together by the Society of Chief Librarians. It provides access to advice and support on a range of important subjects such as health and wellbeing, benefits, money, and business. The information has been brought together by librarians from around the country, so you know that the sources are trusted and reliable. To use it, simply type in your postcode, choose the library service you want to use and then click the topic you are interested in. It’s as simple as that!

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