The internet is likely the most powerful platform you have at your disposal as a job-hunter - if used correctly. Depending on how you use the internet in your job hunt, it can make or break your chances at finding employment. For this reason, you need to plan before you start applying. It won't make sense to have the perfect cover letter and CV, only for a potential employer to look you up on Facebook and see potentially unsavory posts or photos.
That said, the internet makes it easy to search through hundreds of job advertisements, contact potential employers and reach out to a wider network of people. Let's dig a little deeper and see exactly how to effectively job hunt on the internet.
Define your preferred position
Before you start looking for a job online, do some preparation; asses yourself and form an idea of the type of job you are looking for. There is an abundance of job postings online, and you’ll need to know what you are looking for in order to find it.
Ask yourself the following questions to form a clear picture of the jobs you are aiming for:
- What am I good at?
- What interests me?
- What qualifications do I have (if any)?
- What experience do I have? (work, volunteering, hobbies)
- Where do I want to work? (from home, nearby, in the city)
Research salary scales
Before you start applying for jobs, do some industry research and see what you can reasonably be expected to earn in the role. There are various sites that can give you some idea of salaries in various fields in South Africa, related to the different Provinces. Where you want to work can also have a big impact on the salary you can expect. This will also put you in better positioning for negotiating your final wage. You can try using PayScale or Mywage.co.za
Prepare your CV
Based on the previous steps, you should be able to draft a Curriculum Vitae that is suitable for your ideal job. Later, once you have found some opportunities, you can further tweak your C.V. for that specific employer or job. You shouldn't need to re-write your C.V. every time you apply for a position, but it is best to ensure that you tailor it to fit the role. If you need assistance in writing your C.V. click here.
Finding job adverts and responding
There are many sites you can use to find suitable positions such as: LinkedIn, CareerJunction, Careerjet.com, Allsouthafricajobs.com, Jobmail.co.za, Bestjobs.co.za, Jobspace.co.za, Career24.co.za, Pnet.co.za, Recruitmentdirect.co.za, Indeed.co.za and Gumtree.co.za among many others. Make sure you approach recruiters offline as well. Network with people and let contacts know that you are looking for a new career opportunity. Word of mouth is often a good way to land a prime position that might never have been listed online. Social media can be helpful as well but there are risks involved. You can also look at joining up on various forums and professional websites where people may advise of job openings. If you are part of a professional organization, their web page or forums might be a good place to find an employment opportunity as well.
Target employers directly
Search for companies that fall in the right area and industry that you are interested in. Send well written, professional emails to the hiring managers or recruiters where possible, detailing how you found the company and why you are interested in working for them. Sometimes you can find the information of the HR manager or potential hiring manager on their website, or you could contact them via a phone call to get the information so you can send your CV to someone who may actually look at it. If the company has job boards on their web page, make sure you get your CV in via that portal as well.
Networking and social media
You can use social media to inform your contacts that you are looking for a new opportunity, but do not spam people or pages and do not post desperate-sounding pleas. Do this professionally and make sure your social media is not full of things that could be detrimental if a potential employer should happen to connect with you on these platforms. Employers do prefer to hire someone recommended by current employees as opposed to total strangers. You have to ensure your online reputation is professional and clean if you decide to use these platforms (and you should) to job search. Some companies use social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to post actual job openings as well, so stay connected.
Just remember, the internet is not a one-stop shop when it comes to job hunting. You need to spread your options as far as possible if you are looking for that dream job. It takes time, motivation and effort to do the research, find the potential jobs or companies and apply for the positions, but you should not give up. Make sure that you don't throw all your eggs in one basket though, you can still look in newspapers, approach recruitment companies and drop your CV off with companies that you are interested in being employed by. If you do get an opportunity to interview, make sure you respond promptly and professionally! There are also many job scams out there, so do be careful and do not pay anyone for a potential job as you are more than likely going to lose your money.