Preparation for an online job search doesn’t take much – and in fact, it has a lot in common with preparation for a traditional job search. The first thing you must do is to make sure you’ve got your resume up to date, and formatted as a Word document, a PDF file and a plain text document. As you update your resume, take notice of the keywords you’re using, and jot down some notes of the ones that seem most relevant to the types of jobs you’re looking for.
These keywords can fall into several categories, each of which forms the answer to a certain kind of question:
- Who are you, in terms of your training, your qualifications and your job titles? For example, are you an air conditioning technician? A chemistry teacher? An administrative assistant?
- What do you do, what can you do, and what do you want to do? For example, are you an expert in welding? Have you corrected legal documents? Do you like serving as a project manager?
- What fields interest you, and which subfields particularly catch your interest? For example, are you just interested in healthcare in general, or in medical equipment sales? Are you only passionate about nonprofit public relations, or can you see yourself working in PR for other types of organizations as well?
- Who do you want to work for, and how does this relate to your previous employers? For example, do you have experience at small companies but dream of working for a Fortune 500 employer? Have you worked for tech start-ups but want to branch out into launching other types of businesses?
- Where do you want to work, geographically and environmentally? Are you limited to the East Coast, or specifically to the state of Maryland? Are you a city person, or are you open to rural work? Do you need a stable living situation, or can you travel freely?
Once you get used to the process, it’s much easier than a traditional job search.
Although your resume may not answer all these questions, thinking about them will give you some solid starting points for putting together the list of keywords and search settings you’ll use as you look for jobs online. If you find yourself having trouble generating keywords, there are other places you can go for help, too. Try asking your friends for their insights on your talents and passions. Ask a librarian, or a worker at a job center, for help describing the type of work you’d like to do. Or browse through some websites related to your area of work, and note down any keywords that catch your eye. Before long, you’ll have a ready supply of terms to use when you start searching for jobs.