A great overview of the key aspects of CV writing  - Undergraduate attending Sian's seminar

How to avoid making the most common mistakes in online job search

19th May 2014

Recently, I've heard from clients about many and various ways to waste time searching online, so this article is about how to make the most of that fantastic job search resource: the internet.Online information is vital, both for researching organisations with potential vacancies and for presenting yourself to such organisations. In my book, 'Nail That Job, the complete guide for the less-experienced job seeker', available here, you'll find far more information that will help you make the most of your time job searching, but you'll read below a few of the most useful tips that have helped lots of job seekers to save time and effort.

First of all, it is really helpful to set yourself some timed objectives before you open the laptop or take out that phone. Be clear about what you are looking for and how much time you will give that research now. Some of the most efficient job seeekers I've worked with are those who find themselves needing to use internet cafes or libraries- often travellers looking for work in the next stage of their journey or keeping in touch with employers for their return. They write down a list of what they need to achieve for the next hour they're just about to pay for online. Keep an eye on the clock, turn off email notifications and check at your half way marker how close you are to your target. Clicking links from site A can ferret out interesting information on a specific job role or industry, but it's too easy to find yourself 20 sites later, losing track of the 1 vital page that you found 11 sites ago. So, use bookmarking in moderation and always clean up the bookmarks when you've finished, or you end up overwhelmed again with meaningless, outdated data. When you've reached the end of your time target, (set up your phone alarm), stop and give yourself a break from job search and web sites. Go and speak to a real human being instead.

Another common failing is knowing when to stop the online research and pick up the phone to that human being. When you're a Nail That Job jobseeker, you will have taken time to make sure that all the relevant keywords from the job ad appear in your CV/application form, but essentially once your CV has passed the computerised filter, only a human being can make the decision to shortlist you for interview. Younger job seekers in particular can struggle to build rapport on the phone and you need that to establish a productive relationship with an agency or make a good first impression on a recruiter. Practise small talk: challenge yourself to speak to 1 new stranger every day. We British are experts on discussing the weather or the traffic (always safe topics for any small talk conversation.) All this will help prepare you for the more important conversation with a future interviewer about the most fascinating subject on the planet- yourself!

Another common online job search mistake is to neglect your own online imprint. First pay attention to all your social network privacy settings- even if you are careful with your online presence, your friends may not always be so careful. Create a positive presence on professional networks, contribute to relevant forums, ask questions, join the right groups to develop your interests. Every professional association has some sort of online network and the global market leader, LinkedIn, is effectively obligatory for jobseekers in virtually every industry. This is the network that famously includes President Obama. I know that it also includes aspiring young actors, doctors, entrepreneurs and engineers, as well as more mature jobseekers looking to develop into new roles or industries. Most recruiters and headhunters who receive your CV will also check you out on LinkedIn, so make sure that you're happy with how the internet appears to present you. 

This simple check list is a good start for most job seekers as you spend time online. If you'd like to know more about how you can continue to improve time spent online, then just get in touch at or 01789 740948 and I'll gladly answer any of your questions. Let me know how you get on and have a happy and productive job search!

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