Dos and Don'ts of Applying for Jobs Online

Using the Internet as a Job-Search Tool
We all know the Internet is an invaluable tool. It allows you to do incredible, fast, and detailed research on your job targets, be they industries, specific companies, not-for-profit organizations or consulting firms.

Speaking of targets, a key tip from the Five O'Clock Club is to develop specific targets. This means having the name of your target. Too many people say, "Well I am targeting financial services or health care." And we reply, "Gee, that's only 30,000 companies!" Also it is very difficult for people to help you network when you give them an industry target. But when you say, I am targeting United HealthCare, their mind can easily focus on "who do I know who works there?"

It is important, but please be aware, depending on whose survey you believe, that less than 10% of the jobs out there are filled by online job boards. The single most significant source of jobs is still, and has been for years, networking. Networking accounts for anywhere from 60% to 90% of all job placements. So a simple time management strategy is to make sure you are spending the majority of your time networking, not web surfing.

You Have Decided to Do an Online Search
Everyone wants to know "the best" job boards. This is very difficult to answer because there are thousands to choose from. The good news is there are lots of sites that can give you great criteria to evaluate them. One of the quickest ways is to use Google (or your favorite search engine) and just type in things like "largest job boards" or "best job boards" and you find the latest up to date information.

Other ways to narrow your search is to Google the geographic areas you are interested in and your functional specialty. For example if you are in IT, you can just type in "IT jobs in Boston or Minneapolis" or "IT job boards in Minneapolis." The power of Google is your search criteria can be conversational — so you can ask, "Who are the best (or largest) employers in Boston?"

There are also some good aggregator job sites like An aggregator site actually goes out an sweeps all the major boards and newspapers so it gives you a one-stop shopping experience.

The other and very important boards you want to visit are the actual Web sites of the companies or organizations you are targeting. The vast majority all post their current openings and some even have an e-mail feature where they will notify you when there is an appropriate opening.

The online posting technology, like all electronic technology, is constantly changing so one of the most important things you can do is to spend an hour online and literally ask Google some of the following questions:

• Best way to post my resume online
• Largest job posting sites
• Specialty job boards
• Award-winning job boards

There are also some fee-based sites like Resume Rabbit that have been around for years that will guarantee your resume is posted on all the major boards and you can choose whether you want it to be a confidential posting.

Evaluating a Job Board
There are three things I look for. First, do they walk you through the process and give you lots of great tips. All the top boards, like Monster and CareerBuilder, do this. Second, do they allow me to post confidentially. And last, what is the quality of their corporate clients? Are they household names that you respect?

Bill C. Belknap has 30 years of senior management and human resources experience and has been coaching managers and executives for over 25 years. He is a certified Five O'Clock Club Career Coach and is the co-author of For Executives Only. Applying Business Techniques to Your Job Search. He regularly speaks to networking groups about the "ins and outs" of conducting an effective job search. Bill is considered an expert on networking and has taught networking to over a thousand executives. •