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Getting the Most Out of Online Job Websites

New features help you network, research companies and salaries

Person using a laptop computer to search for a job on a website.

Social media and career websites make job hunting easy, fast and effective. — Istock

En español |If you've been job hunting in recent years, chances are you've tapped into one of the many online job boards. You probably created an account, uploaded your résumé and even connected with some of your professional contacts.

But if you haven't visited these sites in a while, you might want to check back because some of their features have changed.

You can find out which companies are hiring right now and sleuth out people you know who might be able to help you get in the door for an interview. Here are some of the features to experiment with and a rundown of career websites to help with your job hunt.

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LinkedIn.com You've probably used the site to post an online work profile, connect with other professionals, tap into discussion groups or follow companies where you might want to work. Recent improvements have made scoring key connections even easier. Among the features to consider:

  • The How You're Connected tool helps you find who in your network knows someone you would like to connect with right now.

When you view a profile of someone with whom you aren't connected, a list of mutual connections pops up on your screen. You can then reach out to those mutual connections to help you meet the new contact or to find out more information about that person.

  • LinkedIn for Volunteers can be used to hunt for volunteer opportunities. It culls feeds from several sources, including Taproot Foundation, Catch-a-fire and VolunteerMatch. These are unpaid positions in areas such as fundraising, marketing or grant writing.

AARP.org The AARP Employer Pledge program is a national initiative to direct job seekers to employers who value — and are hiring — experienced workers. More than 300 employers have signed the pledge, including AlliedBarton, American Red Cross, AT&T, Charles Schwab, CVS Caremark, General Mills, Google, Kimberly-Clark, ManpowerGroup, National Institutes of Health (NIH), New York Life Insurance, Scripps Health and Wells Fargo. The companies are listed on the site, and you can click each firm for current openings.

AARP's LifeReimagined offers help finding a career coach and preparing for a second act, plus an active LinkedIn group.

Indeed.com You can sort job postings by criteria such as geography, industry, experience or salary. Indeed (which also powers AARP's job board search) lets you track job listings, including company career pages and job boards, and newspaper classifieds. You can post your résumé after creating an account. And you can read reviews by current and former employees rating work-life balance, compensation and benefits, and job culture.

Indeed's Find Trends button on the top of the page analyzes its millions of job postings to show which industries are hiring, job titles, top locations and top keyword searches. You can click to exact job postings, sort by salary and get new jobs sent to you by email from that search.

Job-Hunt.org This free online guide focuses on providing job seekers over 50 with articles written by experts covering topics ranging from finding contract jobs to interviewing tips, avoiding job scams, working with recruiters and the best ways to use LinkedIn and Google for job searches.

LinkUp.com This website offers a search engine that uncovers unadvertised jobs listed on company websites.

CareerBuilder.com CareerBuilder is one of the largest boards, providing job listings, résumé posting, and career advice and resources to job seekers. It pulls from career sites of more than 1,000 partners, including 140 newspapers and leading portals such as MSN and AOL.

Encore.org This is the place to go for boomers interested in learning about second careers in the nonprofit sector. The site links to programs and websites to help you get started in your encore career, such as AARP Foundation's Experience Corps, Idealist, the Executive Service Corps-United States and others.

See also: Visit the AARP Social Media Education Center

Glassdoor.com This website offers job listings, more than 10 million company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews and more. Users sign up through their email addresses or Facebook or Google+ accounts. The site operates on a "give to get" model, providing free, unlimited access to users who have submitted an anonymous workplace insight, such as a company review, salary report, photo and more.

Monster.com One of the original job boards, Monster has expanded to include many resources. You can search for and apply for jobs online, post a résumé, review company profiles, get salary information and career advice. Its app BeKnown from Monster puts you in touch with possible professional connections via Facebook.

SimplyHired.com This is another leading job board with a smorgasbord of listings. You can search for jobs by title, skills, company and location.

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Salary.com and Payscale.com Both of these sites help you research salary levels where you live and for the position you're seeking. Payscale lets you run a personal salary report and has a tool to help you find the best job suited for your needs. The database filters jobs based on criteria such as salary, location, education and flexibility.

Additional websites to consider visiting:

  • O*Net OnLine (onetonline.org) is the Occupational Information Network, sponsored by U.S. Department of Labor. It includes multiple search tools; summary and detailed occupational reports; occupational outlook information; and direct links to job postings, apprenticeship programs and salary information.
  • Mynextmove.org is part of O*Net and is geared toward those who are new to using Web tools. The site offers an online interest inventory and includes a list of occupations that match the user's interest profile.
  • National Older Worker Career Center (nowcc.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting experienced workers as a "valuable and critical component of the nation's workforce." Mouse over Applicants near the top of the opening page, and click Current Openings to browse job openings listed by state and find a link to submit your application.
  • Retiredbrains.com is an online job board specializing in part-time gigs. It shows thousands of jobs for those over 50.
  • Retirementjobs.com is geared toward full-time positions for 50-plus job seekers.
  • Seniorjobbank.org is a career site with an active jobs board for boomers and seniors.
  • Seniors4hire.org is a site where job seekers can submit a résumé, post a description of their model job or apply for posted jobs.

Kerry Hannon, AARP's jobs expert, is an award-winning author and nationally recognized authority on career transitions and retirement. Her latest book is Getting the Job You Want After 50 for Dummies. She has also written Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy…and Pays the Bills. Hannon has spent more than 25 years covering all aspects of personal finance for national media outlets. Find more from Kerry at Kerryhannon.com.

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