5 Rules of Thumb for Using Job Search Engines

Be careful not to spend too much time online

If you are searching for a job using CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn or other similar sites, this article is for you. Online job sites can be a good way to search for job openings, but they should not be your only job search strategy. To improve your overall strategy, there are some “rules of thumb” you should follow when it comes to these online job search engines.

Rule 1: Spend 10% online/90% networking
Experts recommend spending only 10% of your job search time looking at job search engines. These large job aggregators tend to draw you in because there are so many job listings. You end up spending hours and hours scrolling through job ads and submitting resumes. Unfortunately, you are competing against many other people who are doing the same thing. With this many people in the mix, the odds are against your resume getting to the top.

Instead of spending so many hours online, devote the majority of your time to building your career network. Here are some networking strategies that should be added to your overall job search:

  • Contact the colleagues you know on LinkedIn and ask them if they have suggestions on your job search
  • Talk to friends, neighbors, and family members about your job search
  • Take a volunteer position in your career field
  • See if a temp agency is hiring people in your field
  • Become more active in your community by joining associations or other community groups.
  • Practice your “elevator speech” about your career goals
  • Attend networking events
  • Use the Career Services department at your school or college to get job leads
  • Try to obtain an informational interview at a company where would like to work
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is professional and updated frequently.

Rule 2: Only apply for jobs for which you are qualified.
Preparing a good resume and cover letter for a job application can take time, so choose carefully what jobs you want to apply for. If you do not fit the listed qualifications, it is probably not worth your time to apply. With many jobs receiving hundreds of resumes, yours will probably be overlooked if you do not have the right qualifications.

Rule 3: Use the automatic email feature
Most job search engines offer the feature of email alerts. You can type in the parameters of your job search, and the site will email you when new job postings appear that match your parameters. This can save you the time of logging in and starting a search from scratch.

Rule 4: Target specific employers
It’s a good idea to select several employers where you would hope to work. These might be organizations where you already know someone, or simply an organization that has a good reputation in your area. Make extra efforts with regard to these companies. Follow them on LinkedIn. Set up a news alert to let you know if they appear in the news. Look directly on their website to see their Career Page listings. Look for their listings on the major search engines. Targeting specific employers can make your efforts more focused and less haphazard.

Rule 5: Make your application scanner-friendly
Computerized resume scanning systems are a common way for companies to weed through the hundreds of resumes they receive for each job. Make your resume scanner friendly by using keywords strategically and addressing all of the major skills that the job posting requires. Also be sure to write a customized cover letter and resume, and submit them in the required format.

Bonus tip: Don’t be shy…follow up!
When you send your resume electronically to an online job search engine, you sometimes get the feeling that it disappears into thin air. But don’t forget that there are real people on the receiving end. Try to contact the company’s HR department if at all possible, and follow up to make sure they’ve received your resume. This could help set you apart from other applicants who aren’t committed enough to make contact.

With this guide, we hope you can fine tune your job searching process. Keep in mind that the job search engines should only be a small part (10%) of your overall job search strategy. Don’t fall into the trap of wasting too much time online. And most importantly, keep on going! It may not be easy to find a job, but it’s worth the effort you put into it!


The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health is located in Manchester, NH. To learn more about our nursing assistant and practical nurse training programs contact us online.

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