Log Online For Your Job Search

By Joe Stein

For many, the results of a recent study performed by the Pew Research Center will come as no surprise.  A majority of Americans (54%) have researched jobs using the internet, while 45% have applied online.  Quite honestly, I would have thought those numbers would actually have been higher than reported by Pew Research.  These numbers are substantially larger than ten years ago when only 26% used the internet for a job search. 

The moral of the story is simple: you are at a competitive disadvantage if you are not online.  In other words, your competition will most likely be utilizing online resources while you sit idly on the sidelines.

There are many reasons to be online for your job search.  Let’s examine the main areas and provide you with some ideas as to why it is important for you to be connected.

 -  Job Search Guidance:  If you don’t know where to start with your job search or just have questions, the internet is a great guide.  Any search engine visit will uncover almost unlimited advice on an endless variety of job search related topics.  All you need to do is start typing in some key words to get started.  You can, however, save yourself some time and just log onto www.wnyjobs.com.  At the bottom of the home page will be a link that will take you to all of my articles over the years. 

 -  Company Information:  Employers will expect you to be fairly knowledgeable regarding their company information.  In previous years, you had to study its Annual Report (if it was publicly traded) or know somebody on the inside.  Now, all you need to do is enter the company name in a search engine to find pages of information.  Most companies also now have a website that hosts considerable information about their history, leadership team, key markets, etc.  You can use this information to help you answer questions or save for when it is time for you to ask the Interviewer something. Employers will have little tolerance for job seekers who lack this general company knowledge.  It will be considered a sign of a lack of interest that someone did not take the time to do some basic research.

 -  Contact Details:  There is little excuse anymore for not knowing how to get a hold of a person.  Most Managers have a business social media presence that will provide you a point of contact (often an e-mail), or a search engine visit may display relevant office phone numbers.  Now you do not have to sit back and fail to follow-up on your resume submission or interview due to the lack of a direct contact.

 -  E-Mail Communication:  You will want to be online for e-mail due to several primary reasons.  First, Recruiters are very busy and will often want to communicate with candidates by e-mail to save them the time of trying to reach you by phone.  Second, sending a timely thank you to an Interviewer is still important, and sending a personalized e-mail message is a great way to do this.  Finally, paperwork such as Offer Letters, Confidentiality Agreements, and drug screen releases, etc. are often sent electronically by companies. 

 -  Perception Issues:  Virtually all Recruiters and Hiring Managers are online all day long.  If you are not wired, you will probably be looked at as someone who is not tied into technology.  This may cause them to conclude that you will struggle to pick up new tasks, different equipment, etc.  Right or wrong, it is now a technology world and those who do not utilize it, will stand out in a negative way.

 -  Finding Job Postings:  Of course, finding job postings is probably the most obvious reason.  For example, WNYJOBS.com has hundreds of positions posted online some of them exclusive to the website.  If you are relying on help wanted signs (many employers do not even accept walk-ins anymore), word-of-mouth, and the printed paper, then you are probably missing out on lots of jobs in your field.

Not everyone is online, it just seems that way.  As the information from the Pew Research Center indicates, a majority of job seekers are using online resources and that number will only continue to grow.  Of course, no one should just abandon other methods such as networking with friends and colleagues.  In that vein, you should still pick up the popular weekly WNYJOBS.com newspaper found FREE throughout Western New York.  Being online, however, should be an important part of your job search routine.

As always, best of luck in your job search!