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Advice / Job Search / Networking

8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying Online Is Getting You Absolutely Nowhere

job searcher

Are you applying to jobs online without ever having any luck? You should try one of these eight things to make sure the right people see your resume.

4. Are You Working at Being a Thought Leader?

Do you have a side gig, a hobby, or unique insight? Each one of those things makes you distinct and very possibly qualified for a job. But merely throwing them in the skills section of your resume or in the introduction sentence of your cover letter may not fully express your expertise.

So, take your resume off the page and onto the internet—because your hiring manager lives there, too. Publish your advice on LinkedIn Pulse, weigh in on LinkedIn group discussions, share valuable insights from yourself and other experts on Twitter. And, if you can write, get on Medium—it’s an easy way to show off your expertise and transform yourself into someone who looks important.

The more you share, the more aware you’ll become of your industry and the players within it, and the more you’ll be recognized as a thought leader within that space—a.k.a., someone worth hiring.

5. Are You Aware of What Your Social Media Presence Says About You?

Social media is a huge resource for the job search, even for networking, but first I want to talk about how it could be hindering your progress.

First, are you active on it? Merely creating a profile, throwing a picture up, and forgetting about it doesn’t cut it. I know there was a moment in my career where I didn’t use Twitter for a year—but yet it was still out there, unintentionally making me look bad. As you have more experiences, you should be consistently updating your information. On LinkedIn, make sure you have reliable recommendations and a kick-ass summary. On Twitter, update your bio and interact with your followers. No followers? You should still be sharing relevant links on occasion. It’s as easy as retweeting every few days.

Second, are your profiles appropriate enough to be seen by your future employer? If not, consider making them private or removing old, incriminating photos and posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. It takes two seconds for a hiring manager to see you doing a keg stand or tweet-complaining about your past job and decide you’re not a serious candidate.

Finally, are you overdoing it? It’s great to love social media, but do you need to include 30 hashtags? Or comment on every article your role model posts? Treat social media as you would real life—no one wants to hire someone who won’t stop talking, complains all the time, or abbreviates every other word (OMG TGIF, amiright?).

6. Have You Tried a Personal Website?

Now, when the traditional job search strategies aren’t working, sometimes you have to get creative. If you don’t think your bland, white resume does you justice, try building a personal website that better showcases your creativity and enthusiasm.

Or, for those who are a bit terrified by this big feat (even though, trust me, everyone can do it), try out a one-page resume website instead. It's easy to share with employers and keep all your updated information in one convenient place. Plus, it'll look gorgeous!

Finally, if you want to share with hiring managers examples of the kind of work you’ve done before, why not make a portfolio? And this doesn’t just apply to photographers and creative writers—sales associates, product managers, and the like can use portfolios to show off prototypes, creative processes, or tangible achievements.

7. Can You Get Really Creative?

This tactic is a bit tricky, because not every company will respond the same way to a “wild” approach.

However, for a lot of creative positions with fun office cultures (Hint: Look at the company website to figure out if it seems to fit in this category), thinking outside of the box could be just what you need to stand out from the pack.

The key to crafting a creative resume or cover letter is to think about what your relevant interests are and how you could best express them in your application—without gimmicks or going too over the top. Some cool examples are rapping your resume, attaching your favorite meme at the end of your cover letter (hey, it worked for one Muse employee), laying out a solution to one of the company’s problems, or writing up your own job description.

But here’s the real challenge: Come up with your own idea that I haven’t suggested!

8. Have You Met With a Career Coach?

Last, but certainly not least, sometimes there’s no better way to learn and improve than by sitting down with an expert. These people know the process, understand the ins and outs of your industry, and want to help you land your dream job.

You can meet with a coach once, or on a more frequent basis. And he or she can answer any questions you have, glance over your resume and cover letter, offer suggestions, or just listen to your story and give you advice.

No, a career coach can't give you a job or get your application passed on, but he or she can provide you with the tools needed to do it yourself—so when you make it happen, all the credit goes to you.

And the best part, you can look right here to hire one!

Tossing your application to the internet might feel like the hardest thing you have to do in the job search, but sitting and waiting for someone to find it could be worse. Despite how many fish there are in the sea of jobs or how many resumes look just like yours, you do have something to offer that other people don’t. Once you find a way to share it, whether it’s in the form of a friendly email, a creative cover letter, or an awesome LinkedIn profile, I’d place big money that it’ll get you far.