6 Savvy Digital Literacy Skills to Use in Your Job Search
By Callie Malvik on 10/30/2014
It’s no secret—the job search process has changed in the past decade. That means the skills you used to find a job in high school probably won’t cut it today because the landscape of the entire workforce has evolved.
It’s essential for 21st century workers to master basic digital literacy skills in order to survive and thrive in a digital world. In many cases, you can’t even get your foot in the door without being somewhat digitally fluent. In fact, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies only accept online applications.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you flex your digital muscles on a daily basis. Every time you send an email, log in to your Facebook profile, download an app on your smartphone or conduct a search query on Google, you’re exercising your digital literacy skills.
But how can you leverage these valuable skills in your job search? We enlisted some career experts to share some tech-savvy tips and tricks that can help you land the job of your dreams.
6 ways to leverage your digital literacy skills in your job search:
1. Do some research to familiarize yourself with the landscape
It’s important to get acquainted with the specific career field in which you’re interested before embarking on your job search journey. Doing a little homework will give you a realistic idea of what to expect when searching for a position in this industry in your area, according to Kelsey Granowski, career services advisor at Rasmussen College.
Utilizing digital tools to familiarize yourself with specific job titles, education and experience requirements, salary expectations and some of the top companies in the industry will lead to a more productive job search. You will be armed with precise, relevant and up-to-date information.
There are several credible websites Granowski recommends for conducting your preliminary field research. Here are a few places to start:
2. Google yourself
48 percent of employers will use Google or other search engines to research job candidates, according to a CareerBuilder study. It may sound a bit narcissistic but if potential employers are going to do it, you should too, says Andrea Eldridge, CEO of Nerds on Call.
“Whether it’s the time Jane got her name in the paper for winning the town spelling bee, or
the time she was involved in a DUI, nothing dies on the Internet,” says Eldridge.
She believes prior to any job hunt, you should be well aware of what anyone with a computer can find out about you in just a few clicks. That way you can be prepared for any uncomfortable questions that may arise down the road.
3. Give your social media profiles a professional makeover
Do hiring managers REALLY check out applicants’ social media pages? Well according to the previously-mentioned study, one-third of employers admit to it. What’s more is that 43 percent of them said in doing so they’ve uncovered information that has kept them from hiring a candidate.
Conduct a full audit of your social media pages prior to beginning your job search. Remove any inappropriate photos or offensive comments. Once you’ve polished your profiles, think twice about future posts and updates, knowing future employers may be watching.
Creating professional profiles isn’t just about deleting things either. Consider adding information that highlights your unique skills and interests. Join industry groups or communities that align with the profession you’re pursuing. Not only will this help you stay up-to-date and connected with your peers, but employers will see that you’re truly passionate and committed to your career.
4. Use advanced search features in Google
Google is more powerful than any job board website or classified ads—you just have to know how to use it. There are a slew of advanced Google search tricks that can help you in your job search, according to Tony Tie, director of search marketing at Reprise Media.
Let’s pretend you’re looking for an accounting job. You might type “accounting jobs in Minneapolis” into the Google search bar. This will provide you a decent start to your job search but adding a few extra keystrokes can provide you with a much more precise list of results.
Here are a few tricks:
- [inurl:jobs, careers, hiring] accountant AND Minneapolis – use this to find any websites with “jobs,” “careers” or “hiring” in the URL that also mention “accountant” and “Minneapolis” within the content.
- [inurl:companywebsite.com] AND hiring – use this to find all job postings for a specific company for which you’d like to work, just insert the company’s URL in the brackets.
- accountant AND hiring $40000..$60000 – use this to find accountant jobs posted within a specific salary range.
- allintext:hiring AND accountant AND entry level – use this to find entry-level accounting jobs.
(We’re still using our accounting example, so remember to replace the keywords accordingly.)
5. Set Google alerts
Another way you can leverage the power of Google in your job search process is to set up Google alerts, says Brian Thackston, director of marketing at WebMechanix. This means you will receive routine notifications whenever a specific phrase or keyword is mentioned on the web, letting Google do the work for you!
Setting up an alert is easy. Simply visit the Google alerts webpage and enter the key phrases you’d like to follow. For example, if you’re looking for a paralegal position in Tampa, you could create and alert that says “hiring AND paralegal AND tampa.”
Creating an alert means that anytime a company posts a job opening—whether it’s on their website, on a job board or on LinkedIn—you’ll be one of the first people to know about it. Google will email you a list of any new mentions that relate to your alert. Interested in multiple positions? You can set as many alerts as you’d like!
6. Cyberstalk your dream employers (but not in a creepy way)
Is there a company or two you’ve always had your eye on? Chances are good they have some sort of online presence. Nearly every company has a website and many maintain a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Eldridge encourages you to find them and follow them!
Just because a company is not hiring now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. Following, liking or joining their social communities is a great way to keep a close eye on their hiring behavior. Not only will you be notified when a job posting is listed, but you’ll also learn the ins and outs of the company, which could result in some very impressed interviewers if it comes to that point.
Use the aforementioned LinkedIn tricks to identify the hiring managers at these companies and follow their social media activity. A few comments or retweets may be just enough for them to remember your name down the road.
Get a leg up on your job search
You now have a handful of handy tips up your sleeve to help you navigate your upcoming job search. Don’t be intimidated by the digital nature of today’s workforce. Instead, embrace it and take advantage of the technical tricks at your fingertips.
Did you know your favorite social networks can also help you find a job? Learn how to use social media sites in your job search!