Friday, October 23, 2009

KA-BOOM! A Dozen Dynamite Online Job Hunting Tips!

5. Search for Employer sites. If you know, for example, that you want to work for a printing firm, then do an area-specific search on YellowPages.com or Switchboard.com for printing firms. Use your search results to visit the Web sites of companies you’d like to work for – it’s becoming more and more common for businesses to have an Employment page of their own or an email or mailing address for employment inquiries. Bookmark and check back on any businesses that you find especially appealing.

6. Pay close attention to listings. Notice the date it was posted, as you may not want to apply to a job that has been online for six weeks. If a listing contains the company’s Web site, not only go there but read as much of it as interests you – an employer’s site speaks volumes and can provide an accurate portrait of the company. If they have an Employment or Careers page, then you can be sure that they hire frequently or receive an abundance of job inquiries. It’s also pretty typical for job listings to lack a salary or pay rate – don’t let this prevent you from applying or sending an email unless you’re otherwise suspicious of the listing. And lastly, pay attention to the contact information. If a listing is posted anonymously, you may be able to Google the phone number or email address to find out details. Additionally, if a contact person is listed, Google their name for further information. If an email is provided, but no company Web site, check to see if the @ location of their email is the company site. You can learn loads about employers from these sneaky tips – don’t feel bad, because they’ll do the same to you!

Tips for Applying for Jobs Over the Internet

So now that you’ve compiled a folder-full of bookmarked Web sites to check daily, you need a game plan for applying to the jobs that you find.

1. First, follow the instructions! This is absolutely essential. Every job listing is different, so make sure you do exactly what they ask their applicants to do. If they request no phone calls, don’t call! If they provide an online application system, follow the directions explicitly. If there are no specific instructions, use the contact information as a cue – if a phone number is provided, then they probably would like you to call. If an email is provided, they’re most likely expecting applicants to email a cover letter and resume. The same goes for mailing addresses or fax numbers. If all of this is provided, email is always your easiest and safest bet.

2. Next, take your Dad’s advice: perfect your resume. Your resume should be accurate, neat, clearly organized, free of typos, and targeted towards the type of job you are trying to get. You may want to create a couple different resumes to have on file – during my job hunting days, I had a film resume, complete with Screenings and Production Experience lists, as well as a general labor resume, which I used for non-film job applications. I also kept another version that pinpointed my design and web experience. The more versions you have prepared, the faster it will be to apply for jobs. Lastly, save your resume as a PDF. It looks more professional and prevents anyone from altering the text.

3. Now is your biggest challenge: the cover letter. This, unfortunately, is your first impression. Void of any human connection, you are forced to grab the employer’s attention with nothing more than HTML text. How do you do it? First, use the job listing as a cue. The language used in the job posting as well as the application method can serve as guides to what the employer is expecting. Alter your cover letter to be formal or informal, based on your observations in the listing. Next, be brief, concise, honest, and personable. Avoid reiterating everything that’s in your resume, since you’re most likely going to be attaching it anyways. Instead, highlight what you’ve done and what you have to offer that’s relevant to the position. Unlike your resume, you should never copy and paste a cookie-cutter cover letter – always customize the letter to the position and employer. Lastly, leave them wanting to know more. Tell enough to have them interested – not your life story.

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