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Four Big Online Mistakes That Will Keep You Unemployed

In a way, online job boards, social media and the Internet have made job hunting harder—not easier. Every day, HR and hiring managers are flooded with a barrage of online submissions, but jobseekers make it far too easy to be rejected. Here are four big online mistakes that will take you out of the running for most jobs.

Mistake 1: Applying for any job—anywhere, anytime
Posting a generic “one-size-fits-all” version of your résumé on hundreds of job sites or sending it blindly to dozens of recruiters will yield very little return. In most cases, your résumé will simply be one of hundreds submitted. With nothing compelling to differentiate you from the crowd, your résumé will be lost in the electronic queue. Finding a job isn’t a numbers game. You don’t have to meet a daily quota. Sending 20 résumés a day into cyber space is not productive. A successful job search is about quality, not quantity. Instead, be strategic. Read job descriptions carefully. Only apply if you have the qualifications required and are willing to customize your résumé for that specific job.

Mistake 2: Only leveraging online avenues to search for jobs
Putting yourself out there—meeting people face-to-face—to talk about your job search can be stressful and demoralizing. For many people, it’s much more comfortable (both mentally and physically) to simply sit at home, search the Internet for potential jobs and submit an application online. This approach is futile and self-defeating. Networking, in all its forms, is absolutely necessary. Your job search should consist of online and offline networking, job fairs, connecting with a staffing firm, accepting temporary positions, leveraging social media and more.

Mistake 3: Only focusing on “big” online job boards
While big job boards seem to have the most job listings, looks can be deceiving. Realistically, your chances of landing a position via an online job board are very small. A recent survey by CareerXroads revealed that job boards account for only 20 percent of all job hires. And the number was much smaller—just four percent—when job boards were cited as the exclusive source for facilitating a job offer.

Sure, job boards may feature thousands of open jobs, but each listing attracts a serious number of applicants—often hundreds. As a result, all of those résumés have to be fed through an applicant tracking system or culled individually by a recruiter. If you’ve submitted a generic résumé rather than one tailored to the precise criteria of the position, it’s very likely your résumé will be rejected. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include job boards in your search, it just means that only five percent of your time should be spent pursuing online job postings.

Mistake 4: Not creating a positive online presence
Hiring managers and recruiters definitely look at your social media profiles. Many individuals unknowingly eliminate themselves from consideration because of content on their social media accounts. To be successful in your job search, you need to treat all of your social media accounts, including Facebook, as an extension of your résumé. Experts report that nearly 24 percent of managers use social media profiles to help them make “fit and personality” matches when hiring. Be proactive and check the following:

  • Facebook – pay close attention to your privacy settings
  • LinkedIn – make sure that your profile is 100 percent complete
  • Twitter – tweet relevant information for your industry and career

Don’t expect someone else to find you a job.
Finding a new job is probably the biggest DIY project of your life. No recruiter, staffing manager or outplacement counselor knows you as well as you know yourself—and they certainly aren’t as invested in your future. This doesn’t mean that you have to “go it alone.” Leveraging professional help is important. Recruiters and staffing managers have contacts and resources that can bolster your search, but that doesn’t mean you can sign on with them, then simply sit back and expect to land a job you really want.

Take control, educate yourself, be proactive and persistent. Finding a job is hard work. It requires serious effort every single day.