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5 Steps to Enhance Your Online Job Search

Robin Madell
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"There's nothing new under the sun" doesn't apply to job search. This field continues to change by the day, with new recruiting apps, mobile search technologies and increased expectations around use of social media platforms for interviewing and hiring.

What's an overwhelmed job seeker to do? Take these five steps now to improve your online job search:

1. Understand the "new résumé." Blogs are abuzz about whether or not paper résumés have gone -- or will soon go -- the way of the dodo. For every recruiter who sounds the traditional résumé's death knell, another career expert argues reasons why online job profiles will never make résumés obsolete.

Since the jury is still out, the best thing job seekers can do is hedge their bets and create a "new résumé." According to Rona Borre, CEO and founder of Instant Technology, a new résumé includes a website, personal brand and relevant portfolio of work -- as well as a traditional résumé.

"More and more business is being conducted entirely in the digital space, and it is only a matter of time before the résumé and interview start making their way into the digital world," Borre says.

2. Tidy online profiles. With more than 90 percent of employers now using social media to seek out candidates -- according to a recent Jobvite survey -- it's a no-brainer that you need to carefully manage your online presence. Expect that recruiters and hiring managers will be looking at your social sites as well as your professional ones.

While a complete purge of social media may not be practical or strategic, you can take precautions to try to prevent your online presence from holding you back from opportunities. Be sure to activate privacy settings as needed, particularly if your public profiles contain personal photos that wouldn't add to your professional image.

Better yet, think twice about what type of candidate image you're creating with your photo and comment choices on social media sites -- particularly during a job search.

3. Check your digital footprint. Your online presence likely goes far beyond your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. There may be a lot more about you on various sites than you're even aware of, and the only way to find out is by checking. Start Googling yourself on a regular basis when in job-search mode.

"If what comes up isn't the type of thing you want employers to be seeing, you either need to delete it or effectively highlight the professional aspects to your Web presence," Borre says.

4. Get your own domain. Borre also emphasizes the importance of tying your online activity back to a "home." This could be a personal Web page, LinkedIn profile, or even a Twitter account -- the important thing is that content relevant to your career is parked in a centralized hub.

One way to accomplish this is to register a Web domain with your name. "If you have a common name try basic variations, or even add your profession to the URL," Borre says. "Utilize this custom domain's email for professional correspondence. It's a relatively inexpensive way to show that you have technical acumen."

5. Feed your network. One thing that hasn't changed in the new job search environment is the indisputable importance of networking. "Even in this digital age, your network is still one of the most valuable things that you can utilize in the job market," Borre says. "The people who know you outside of work can be of great help in the workplace, and that should be noted both online and off."

Borre advises making sure that your professional networks are strong, and that the posts you're making publicly associated with your name are civil and occasionally related to your passion for your work. If you do all of this, then your social media profile -- along with your standard résumé -- can become powerful allies in the hunt for your next job.

Robin Madell has spent over two decades as a corporate writer, journalist, and communications consultant on business, leadership, career, health, finance, technology, and public-interest issues. She serves as a copywriter, speechwriter, and ghostwriter for executives and entrepreneurs across diverse industries. Robin has interviewed over 200 thought leaders around the globe, and has won 20 awards for editorial excellence. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association in both New York and San Francisco, and contributed to the book Be Your Own Mentor: Strategies from Top Women on the Secrets of Success, published by Random House. Robin is also the author of Surviving Your Thirties: Americans Talk About Life After 30 and co-author of The Strong Principles: Career Success. You can reach her at robin.madell@gmail.com.

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