MT Expert's Ten Top Tips: Finding a new job in cyberspace

Online job-hunting is fraught with pitfalls. Here are ten ways to navigate the recruitment cyber-jungle.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

There are over 2,000 job boards and about 10m CVs registered in the UK; 60% of employers now advertise their jobs on the web. So looking for a new job online can be tough. Many job-hunters simply don’t know where to start; others, after countless unsuccessful registrations and job applications, are left wondering if internet job boards are simply black holes into which their precious CV simply disappears without trace.

So how should you use the internet to find the best job sites, and make sure your CV impresses the right people? MT asked Janet Davies, founder of newlifenetwork.co.uk and author of the recent e-book 'Surf your way to your next new job', for her top tips on how to avoid career cyber-cide...


1. Be very selective about where you post your CV online
A CV database is only as good as the candidates within it. Only register your CV with websites that carry the jobs that you are actually interested in, and that you can reasonably be considered qualified to do.

2. Make it easy for recruiters to find you
If you want to be found on a website where you register your CV, you must remember to make it search engine friendly. When a recruiter is searching a database for candidates for a particular job, they will use various keywords that they consider to be important for that role. These could be particular skills or qualifications, the names of companies, trade associations, colleges or universities, even the name of a country or a city. If you want a job in IT, PR or finance make sure that your CV contains those trigger words, particularly in the first few paragraphs, to enable it to register properly in a search. A study by the University of Hertfordshire showed that certain words and phrases used in CVs had an influence in determining which candidates were actually short-listed for an interview. Their research revealed that the top ten words to include were: achievement, active, developed, evidence, experience, impact, individual, involved, planning and transferable skills.

3. Keep your CV registrations up-to-date
Some recruiters will only look at new CVs being posted on particular job board databases, because candidates often don’t take themselves off when they stop looking. Don’t just post your CV somewhere and forget about it. Update it at least once a month and take it off when you’re lucky enough to have landed that great new job.

4. Pick the best websites
Recruitment advertisers work very hard to make sure that you can find their sites via top search engines like Google. With more than 2,000 job boards online, it can be a bit like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. You can save lots of time, and uncover many hidden gems, using site reviews (like those in the 'Find a great new job' section of my e-book and on newlifenetwork.co.uk). 

5. Bookmark your favourites
Once you’ve found the best combination of sites for your online job-hunting, bookmark them in a special job search folder on the toolbar of your computer. That way you’ll find it easy to keep coming back to your favourites, and you won’t have to keep reinventing the wheel.

6. Be safe online
Many people worry about identity fraud and resist registering their CVs online for that very reason. You don’t have to give your full address (although a valid email and telephone number is essential if you want recruiters to contact you!), your National Insurance number, your bank details or your date of birth on your CV. (You can download a free guide to being safe at newlifenetwork.co.uk). 

7. Make sure it’s a real job
Recruiters will often place positions on several different websites and sometimes ‘forget’ to take them down, even when the job has already been short-listed or filled. If in doubt, call the recruiter beforehand to check the situation, to avoid wasting your time applying. You never know, another candidate may have dropped out, or perhaps it wasn’t filled from the short-list – you’d be surprised how often that happens. Either way, you may get to make a personal contact with a recruiter who could help you in the future.

8. Don’t be anonymous
People buy people, so do get away from your computer and meet recruiters in person whenever you can. They may not have a job for you today but, if they’ve met you and made a connection with you, you’ll be the first person that comes to mind when they do – perhaps even before they post the job online.

9. Apply to companies directly
It might not pay off immediately, but you never know what might be around the corner. Many companies now allow you to apply for jobs with them online via their career micro-sites.

10. Track your efforts

Keep a thorough record of all your applications, follow-ups, interview dates and so on. You may need it to show you’re really looking for work if you’re claiming benefit, and it helps to keep you organised, motivated and on track. (You can download a free job tracking spreadsheet guide at newlifenetwork.co.uk). 


These tips were taken from 'Surf Your Way To Your Next New Job' by Janet Davies. The complete e-book can be downloaded free of charge HERE. You can also find more tips on finding a new job, learning new skills or setting up in business at www.newlifenetwork.co.uk and in the 2009 edition of 'Rebuilding your life after redundancy' by Janet Davies - available on Amazon for £10.99.

As always, please do add any of your own suggestions below...

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