Avoid Wasting Time on Online Job Sites: 8 Tips for Your Job Search

tips for job searching online, woman holding ipadTry these tips for improving your job search efficiency

If you are like many job searchers, you spend a great deal of time on the job aggregator websites like Indeed and Simply Hired. You may have submitted dozens of resumes, and heard back from very few if any of the companies. It can be very frustrating, not to mention time-consuming.

When something isn’t working, it’s time for a change! Try these tips to make your job search more efficient and strategic. We don’t want you wasting time that could be better spent doing something else.

1. Spend no more than 10% of your time online.

The job aggregator sites can really draw you in. Before you know it, you are spending hours every day browsing through job listings on Simply Hired or Jobs.LiveCareer. You feel a sense of hope and possibility in every job ad that you see. But remember that these job ads are visible to anyone and everyone. Employers get hundreds and hundreds of resumes for every job opening. Rising to the top of the pile is very difficult.

2. Use the time-saving features that job search engines offer.

  • Sign up for e-mail notifications from job boards. Rather than searching and scrolling through job search engines every day, set up an advanced search with the option of emailing you new job openings. This way you will get alerted to new jobs that fit your criteria, and you won’t have to waste time searching every day. Most job search engines provide this email service, such as LinkedIn, Jobs.net, and CareerBuilder.
  • Connect your job search to social media connections. When you search for jobs on LinkedIn, you can see if you have people in your LinkedIn network who may work at the company that is listing the job ad. These connections are exactly what LinkedIn is all about. If you know someone who works at the company, or even a third-level connection, you may have an opportunity to ask someone about the job position.
  • Use the career advice. Big sites like Monster, LinkedIn, and Indeed have a lot of career advice for creating a strong resume or mastering your interview tips. Take a few moments to read through this advice.

3. Go directly to the websites of companies where you want to work.

There may be particular employers that you are interested in. If there are, spend a little time visiting the Employment/Careers section of their website. This will alert you to any new job openings, and it will also give you a sense of what types of jobs they have, and how often new positions become available. You can use LinkedIn or Twitter to follow specific companies, and this could alert you to new job openings as well.

4. Try Craigslist for local openings that might not be on big websites.

Sometimes smaller businesses may not want to advertise on the big job sites like Monster. Try searching the Craigslist ads in your area to see if there are any possibilities. If you try this for a few weeks, and there simply don’t seem to be any listings in your job field, then you can stop. But it doesn’t hurt to give it a try. Beware of scams on Craigslist, and make sure the employer seems legitimate by researching them online.

5. Don’t waste time applying online for jobs that aren’t a perfect fit.

If you don’t have experience in a particular job field, do not apply for the job. Even if you think you could learn the new job, the employer won’t notice your resume if you don’t already have job training or work experience in that position. You may be a fast learner, and you probably are capable of doing the job, but unfortunately, the employer will look at people with real job experience first.

6. Use your school’s Career Services Department.

If you have recently finished a career training program or a college degree, your school probably has a Career Services or Career Development department. The staff who work in these departments are there to help you with your job search. They may have connections with area employers who have job openings. They also may be able to serve as a reference for you.

7. Increase your “face time” with people in your field.

Rather than spending so much time online, try to find ways to increase the amount of time you are interacting face-to-face with people in your field. To do this, you could ask for informational interviews, volunteer at an organization related to your career field, join a professional association, ask questions whenever you meet someone in your field, and attend social events where you can network. Let your friends, family, and acquaintances know that you are looking for a job, and would appreciate any connections or suggestions they might have.

8. Relax your criteria for the perfect job.

Unfortunately, when you have been searching for a job for a long time, you may need to cut back on some of your own criteria. You may need to look outside of your preferred commuting distance. You may need to look at jobs that don’t have the hours you were hoping for. Or maybe even jobs that don’t pay quite as well as you had hoped. But as long as the job is in your career field, it may be the stepping stone you need to get a better job in the future.

The job search can be very discouraging at times, but don’t give up hope. We hope these tips help you to be more efficient about the time you spend applying for jobs through large online search engines. By getting out in the world and finding more personal face-to-face interactions, you may be able to energize your job search and make the connections that count.


The Harris School of Business is a career-focused school with campuses near Philadelphia, as well as in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware. Our training programs include Professional Medical Assistant, Massage Therapist, Dental Assistant, Health Claims Specialist (medical billing and coding) and so much more. We offer job-readiness resources and a weekly blog to help students get ready for their new careers. Come find out if the Harris School is the right school for you.