01 Feb Tips for Looking for a Job Online

10 Tips to Looking for Jobs on Job Portals


When I started in recruitment, things like job portals, social media and online applications did not exist.  We advertised the position in the local newspaper, either on a Wednesday or Sunday, and fielded the phone calls the following day; or asked the job seeker to submit their two page CV via fax.  Today I do not have an account with any newspaper, and I don’t own a fax machine!  This means that job seekers need to change their approach to how they look for jobs, and what their CV looks like!  Here are 10 tips that may assist you in looking for jobs online.


  1. Be careful who you ask for advice

Everyone is an expert!  Everyone likes to tell you what you are doing wrong, and what you can change (even if it does not need to be changed).  You can ask parents and grandparents for assistance and guidance in your education, maybe dealing with your boss and how to resign.  But when it comes to preparing a CV or posting your applications on line, unless they currently are responsible for recruiting staff, they may not be the experts to turn to.

  1. Ditch the two page CV

Two page CV’s were designed in the days of fax machines- when I did not want to waste paper on long CV’s that often got cut off mid transmission!  Don’t waste space and paper by having long, rambling, ten page CV’s; but a five page CV is more than acceptable if needed.

  1. Make sure the KEY WORDS are in your CV.

When I search for an applicant, I use “Key Words” to short list.  This means that if those words are not on your CV, you never did it (even if you did), and you won’t be short listed.  Keywords would be, depending on the job requirements, things like- Pastel, Syspro, reconciliation, VAT, balance sheet reconciliations, statutory returns, payroll and Forex for a bookkeeping position; or litigation, conveyancing, Dictaphone typing, minute taking and paralegal for a legal secretary position.  Think about what job or industry you are wanting to get into, and then make sure these words appear on your CV

  1. Avoid abbreviations

Don’t assume that the person reading your CV will know your industry abbreviations and lingo.  If you put RE5 and I am looking for someone with “Regulatory Exam 5”, then you may not be short listed.

  1. Fill out the registration form in full

I know that it is irritating to do this when it is all on your CV, and you have probably filled out a hundred forms similar to do this before, but it is important.  Remember, “if its not on your CV you never did it”, so “if it’s not on the application form, you also never did it!”  (If the company then sends you another application form to fill out, you need to complete this form too.  Recruiters are going through literally hundreds of applicants, 80% of which are totally unsuitable, and these application forms from the companies are created to streamline the short listing process.)

  1. Keep your CV Updated

This is normally the main reason that the most suitable applicants are NOT short listed.  Their CV is not updated to show their latest experience; that they now live in the specified area; that they now have a car; that they have completed a qualification; or that they are available immediately.

  1. Put your email address on your CV

It stands to reason that if you are applying for a job on line, you should have your email address on your CV in addition to your phone numbers.  And don’t forget to check that email address daily!

  1. Social Media Accounts

If you are applying on line, chances are that the recruiter will google you.  If you have not put your privacy settings on your social media accounts, you are inviting them into your personal lives.  Do you want to be judged on your political views and what you did last Saturday night; or that you are home from work again with a sick baby; or that all your posts are made during business hours?

LinkedIn is huge internationally, but it seems to be gaining popularity now in South Africa.  This is the “professional” version of Face Book.  This is the face you present to future employers and network.

  1. Get your CV out there

Looking for a job is a “stats game”.  The more people who have your CV, the sooner you will find something.  The more portals your CV is on, the more companies will view your CV.  The quicker you reply to emails requesting information or interviews, the more interviews you will attend.

  1. Keep your Account Current

The final tip is to keep your profile current on the portal.  Each month, go in and edit something.  It’s not important what you edit.  When I am searching for applicants, those that were active most recently will appear first, and those that were last active six months ago, I probably wont look at because, chances are, they have found something.  The job portal does not show when you registered, it shows when you were last active.