Over the years, the process of applying for a job has changed.
“Really it’s become an automatic process,” said Lora Warner, employment specialist with Jefferson College. “That personal touch of the job search process has changed a lot.”
Now a lot of employers want people to only apply online, she said.
Warner said that while job seeking is often less personal now, the way it has changed can benefit job seekers.
“You have one computer that can take you to all these different places and let you do all of these different things in one spot,” she said.
As a result, Warner said, job seekers can apply for more jobs in less time.
In addition, a lot of companies have social media accounts now, which can give job seekers a better understanding of their products and services and let them know when they have job openings.
Warner said creating a professional social media account, like on LinkedIn, can be important, depending on the job seeker’s field. She said anyone looking in the business or IT field should have an updated LinkedIn.
“I think it’s a great place to sell your skills and abilities,” she said. “It’s a great place to network; it’s a great place to look for jobs, because I find on LinkedIn the jobs that are on there are jobs you’re not going to find on Indeed or the other big job search engines.”
Warner said you can also use LinkedIn to make connections with people who work for a company you’d like to work for or connect with other alums from your alma mater to help in your job search.
“It gives you a little bit more than some of the other sites,” she said. “It’s a tool to get a job. It’s not a ticket to a job.”
Warner said job search engines, like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster and others also can be very helpful.
“I think you have got to find your preferences. I like Glassdoor, and it allows you to look at how other employees have experienced that company,” she said.
Warner said job seekers should take those reviews with a “grain of salt,” though, because most reviewers are people who have had bad experiences.
She said job seekers who do not have the best understanding of the online applications process should find a buddy to help them.
“Find someone that is more tech savvy than you are and have them walk you through filling out an application,” Warner said.
Most small or family-owned companies most likely still have paper applications, she added.
Warner said she helps students at Jefferson College with their job searches, but she also recommends people use the Missouri Job Center in Arnold.
“That’s definitely a good resource,” she said. “They do the job day in and day out.”
Warner said one of her favorite job search engines is Career One Stop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“I love showing it to people who are job searching because it helps (applicants) understand what they would do in their job,” she said.
She said it also has a job search feature at the bottom.
Warner said even with applying online, networking and interviewing skills are needed because at some point a job seeker will sit down for an interview.
“One of the things that I think is really beneficial about a job fair, is that you actually get to meet physical people, and you get to hand your resume to someone and you get to have a conversation,” she said.
Ben Reed, a recruiter with Mercy, said some job seekers still physically drop off resumes and applications in person, but most apply online.
He said Mercy uses job search engines for job posting, but their main posting site is mercyjeffersoncareers.com/nursing.
To stand out online, Reed said job seekers should make sure they list all their experience even if it was not in the medical field.
He said to make sure dates are listed and everything matches up with your timeline.
“I just like clean, clear, precise paragraphs,” he said. “I don’t need 17 paragraphs to explain what you’ve done for one job.”
Warner agreed and said simply not following instructions can move someone to the bottom of a pile of resumes.
Reed said he can tell when someone rushed through the application.
“It’s just not a good start to anybody who’s looking at you as a candidate,” he said.
Personal social media
Warner said recruiters look at applicants’ social media presence on sites like Facebook, so she suggests Googling yourself to see what comes up and use the security setting on all social media platforms to protect content you don’t want them to see.
“If you had a MySpace account and you left it out there, there’s still some content that is out there,” she said. “So, definitely use your security settings, thinking about what your digital footprint is.”
Warner said sometimes hiring decisions can be made based off a person’s online presence.
“It’s definitely something you want to investigate and you want to tighten down and just make sure that what you’re putting out there is something you want everyone to be able to see.”