Finding a job online can be surprisingly high maintenance and difficult. While it’s certainly a convenient way to search and apply for jobs, especially compared to pre-internet days, one of the drawbacks is that a single job listing can reach hundreds (if not thousands) of people, making competition stiff. Not to mention, with so many job opportunities at your fingertips, sifting through your search results can be a somewhat daunting task.
It would be nice if there were some fool-proof way to know that you were getting the best possible search results based on your skills and needs and that you had a real shot at landing them. Unfortunately, there are never any guarantees. However, you can improve your chances of finding (and getting) the perfect job with a few strategic online job hunt practices.
Online Job Hunt Strategies and Best Practices
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
A LinkedIn profile is probably one of the most important things you can have as an online job seeker. Even though this has nothing to do with actively searching for a job, it is essential that your LinkedIn (and any other professional website/profile) is up to date because it’s one of the first things a recruiter will check when they’re deciding whether or not to move forward with you in the interview process.
While you’re at it, take some time to give your social media profiles a once-over, too. Even though they aren’t professional sites, any information available for public viewing is fair game for recruiters and hiring managers to look at (and judge). So, the cleaner your online presence is, the better.
Thanks to algorithms and targeted searches, finding top candidates is easier than ever for recruiters. To beat this game, optimizing your resume and online profile with lots of keywords that regularly pop up in the jobs you’re applying for is essential. For instance, recruiters looking for a social media manager may use targeted searches that include keywords like “SEO,” “social campaigns,” and “influencers.” If your resume/profile consists of those terms, you’re much more likely to be seen (and hopefully interviewed).
To determine the best keywords for your profession, look at three job ads and circle terms that appear in all three of them, especially if those terms pop up multiple times in any of the descriptions. Once you have a decent list of keywords, weave them into your resume and professional profiles.
Don’t Wait to Apply
If you see a job opening you’re interested in, jump on it. Remember, one of the pitfalls of online job hunting is that a single opportunity has the potential to reach a lot of people — especially if it’s a remote job. While being the first person to apply for a job doesn’t guarantee you’ll get an interview, being in the first wave of people will significantly increase your chances. Most companies will leave a post up and active until they have officially filled the job, so if you apply three weeks after the ad went up, likely, the interview process is well underway. New applications will be used for backup if none of the candidates in the first wave of applicants work out.
Look Beyond Job Boards
While job boards like The Mom Project are great for exploring several opportunities across industries and companies simultaneously, it’s important to remember that not every company relies on job boards to advertise their open roles. Similarly, some companies opt to post their more niche jobs on boards but then also have a list of other, more general openings directly on their website. So, if there’s a company you’re interested in, take the extra steps to actively check out their careers page on their website to see if there’s something for you that may not be posted somewhere else.
When it comes to online job hunting, filters are your friend. For instance, if a finance writer simply searches for “writing jobs,” they will get pages and pages of results that include tech writing, copywriting, UX writing, lifestyle writing, and more. These are not the kinds of roles this person is looking for, so now they have to sift through an overwhelming list of openings just to try to find the handful of finance writing opportunities hidden among them.
To avoid this, get as specific as possible in your search by using the filters. Doing this can weed out results that don’t apply to you based on job title, job type, schedule, location, salary, and more. A best practice is to start with a super detailed search, then slowly remove filters as needed to curate a good list of opportunities that align with your desired goals.
Use Your Network and Make New Connections
This strategy should not be a massive surprise because you probably already know how important networking is in the professional world. As for how it helps with an active job search, in addition to potentially serving as referrals for you, people in your network may also post about job openings and opportunities within their organization that may otherwise not be well advertised.
In this case, recruiters are excellent people to add to your network because they often post openings they’re working to fill. Additionally, on LinkedIn, if one of your connections comments on a post about a job made by someone in their network, it will likely show up in your activity feed, even though you’re not personally connected with them. The broader your network, the easier it is to get job leads.
Keep Track of Your Applications
Getting caught up in the job hunt process is easy and just breeze through application after application without keeping track of applied jobs. However, this may be a disadvantage because how can you follow up on an opportunity if you can’t remember where you submitted your application.
Create a system that works for you (whether it’s a spreadsheet or just a document) that will help you keep track of the job you applied for, the company it's at, and the date you applied. As the weeks pass, go through your list and reach out to recruiters or hiring managers at the companies to follow up on your application. You might not always hear back, but if you do, even if they aren’t moving forward with you for this position, you’ve made a connection to reach out to when another opportunity arises of interest.
Opt-In for Job Alerts
Yes, everyone’s email is full of junk mail, and you’re probably clicking “unsubscribe” daily. However, as hesitant as you may be to add even more emails to the chaos that is your inbox, job alerts are worth it. You can set them up with most job boards, and they’ll send you automatic emails whenever a new position that fits what you’re looking for opens up. These emails don’t always get recommendations perfect. Still, the alerts are more helpful because they alleviate some of the time you’d have to spend searching to find these opportunities otherwise. Plus, you’ll be one of the first people to know when a job opens (remember, the earlier you apply, the better).
Don’t Give Up
We get it; online job searching is laborious and can get tiring and discouraging. In a perfect world, there would be easy, streamlined ways to quickly narrow your search to find jobs that are just right for you. Until then, the best you can do is put in the extra strategic work and apply best practices to help you find the opportunity.
Join The Mom Project Talent Community
To make your hunt a little easier, set up a profile with The Mom Project that includes detailed information on what it is you’re looking for in a job. Not only will you have access to search the many openings within the job marketplace, but you’ll receive job alerts tailored to your needs.