Tips for Using Job Search Engines

Jobs newspaper article next to laptop keyboard

Job search engines like CareerBuilder and Monster put thousands of possible positions at your fingertips. However, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to use these sites effectively and efficiently.

Tips to Follow When Using Job Search Engines

  • Posting a resume isn't enough - Posting a resume is the first step in getting started on most job search sites. However, you can't just post the document and then assume the job offers will come rolling in. Check job postings regularly and be proactive in submitting applications.
  • Use keywords - Although you can't rely on employers to stumble across your posted resume, when companies do search resumes for potential applicants, they will likely use narrowly-defined keywords. Make sure your resume uses current and specific terminology for past work, degrees, and professional certifications. If a company in your employment history used an unconventional title for a job, include the more common term, like manager, trainer, or accountant, as well.
  • Check your formatting - When you print a resume at home, you have complete control over the look of the final document. However, when you upload a resume to a job site or attach it to an email, its appearance is out of your hands. Pay particular attention to spacing, indents, bullets and any graphics, such as lines. These are often lost in translation across formats. Using PDF files is a good way to preserve the appearance of your documents.
  • Make it a habit - Check job sites regularly for the best results. When a company posts an opening online, it can quickly be inundated with responses. If you find a listing that's more than a few days old, you may have missed your chance. Regardless of any deadlines stated in the ad, the earlier you submit your application, the better the odds it will get a closer look.
  • Target your responses - Use common sense when responding to want ads online. Just because job search engines make it possible to apply to dozens of positions at a time doesn't mean you should. You would be better off crafting one or two carefully-targeted cover letters in the time it would take you to copy and paste a generic response to 30 job postings.
  • Use advanced search options - Learn how to use these options on individual job search engines to make the most of your time. The more you can narrow the results, the fewer inappropriate jobs you will have to read through on the way to your next job.
  • Consider telecommute positions - If your field makes working at home possible, broaden your search to include positions with companies located outside your local area.
  • Use specialized sites - Depending on your career field, location, or college, there may be a specialized employment site for you. For instance, USAJOBS provides information on available U.S. government jobs and Idealist.org focuses on positions with non-profit groups. Career placement offices at colleges will often provide a job posting service for students. Sometimes these services use an existing site like Monster or CareerBuilder and add a students-only login. Alumni associations may also create student-only job bulletin boards. Some boards are specific to both your desired job location and chosen profession. For instance, the MIREAP system lists nothing but teaching and school-related jobs in Michigan.
  • Keep track of your applications - A simple spreadsheet can help you keep track of your progress. Accidentally applying for the same position more than once can be an embarrassing job search faux pas. You will also know when to follow up on an application.
  • Take advantage of the sites' other resources - Of course, you're visiting these sites for the job postings, but have you taken time to check out their other resources? From helpful articles on job trends to career aptitude tests, it's worth giving these sections of the job sites you visit a second look.

Whether you're applying for your first job or you're an experienced professional looking for new work, online job sites put your new position that much closer.

Tips for Using Job Search Engines