It may be that the last time you looked for a job, you’d never even heard of the Internet. Today, though, you’ll most likely have to go online to find work. To help those just venturing into the online job marketplace, we reached out to three job-search experts and gathered their best advice.
1. Revise your résumé.
Alison Doyle, job search expert for About.com, says that in most cases, “you don’t need to include the last 20 or 30 years of experience on there, just the last 10 to 15 years, so you don’t date yourself.” Streamlining your résumé will also allow you to highlight the skills relevant to your job search. Be aware that many companies have résumé-sorting software that searches for key words — think about your field and what buzzwords your future boss might have in mind, then incorporate them into your résumé. And by the way, the old-fashioned paper résumé is not dead yet; you’ll still want a hard copy to bring to an interview.
2. Join a social networking site.
The hugely popular business-networking site LinkedIn allows you to create a profile (with those important key words), then link to former colleagues, customers, alumni associations — anyone who can vouch for your skills, and who might know somebody who knows somebody (hey, that’s still what job-hunting is all about). You can find groups focused on your industry on LinkedIn, and within those groups, there are often job listings. Gwendolyn Ward, who founded a workplace transitions site called FOOW? (Fish Out of Water?), says, “a lot of savvy recruiters have found this the cheapest way to find an employee because they can post the listing for free.” Letting friends and colleagues on Facebook know you're looking for work can also generate leads.
3. Set up a microblog with Twitter or Tumblr.
If you’re not comfortable sending out your own short messages, you can still sign up to receive them from companies or people you’re interested in. Maybe you’ll even find out about job openings. Anita Bruzzese, a nationally syndicated workplace columnist, says she spoke with an employer who advertised for a job through Twitter and heard back from interested applicants within 10 minutes (yup, he ended up hiring one of them). It was not only free advertising for the employer, it assured him that the applicants were interested enough in the company to read its Tweets. “Do all employers do that?” Bruzzese asks. “No. But it’s one more [source for] information.”
4. Carefully research the latest developments in your field.
Who might be hiring? What qualifications are certain employers looking for? Bruzzese likes to use a fishing analogy: “Don’t just cast a wide net … Your chances of catching something aren’t going to be very high. But if you talk to other fishermen first, find out where the good fish are, find out what kind of bait they like, your chances are much better.”
5. Browse the big-name job-hunting websites.
Sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com allow you to post your resume. There are also job search engines, which aggregate job postings from across the Internet. The biggie is Indeed.com (which is what AARP.org uses) a user-friendly site that will send you alerts when jobs relevant to your search appear. You can also check out Simplyhired.com, Snagajob.com (for hourly work), Dice.com (focused on tech jobs), and RetiredBrains.com, which has job resources for Boomers, seniors and retirees.
6. Investigate potential employers.
Be sure to investigate a company before sending in your résumé, and never give your bank account or Social Security number by e-mail to someone who says they’re going to offer you a job. If you have doubts, the Federal Trade Commission suggests checking with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General's office or the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.