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Using online tools creatively for your job search

Everyone knows there is an overwhelming amount of information available online that can be used in a job search. Most people, however, don’t think of any individual website or online tool about information outside of the primary function for which it was designed.

Thinking ‘outside the box’ about the information available to see what other valuable use it might provide for you can be a great way to get ideas and useful data for your search.

I’ve written about some of these in various articles before, and adding additional ideas here. Whenever you go to a site for information… consider creative ways the data might be useful for you.


Google. Everyone knows Google can give you access to virtually anything available online. However, few job seekers realize some things that may be valuable to them.

  • Search for resumes of people in your field to get better ideas for wording and formats (i.e. Google: Accounting resume)

  • Search for an email address for a contact you’re trying to reach (i.e. Google: “bob smith” “@abccompany.com”)

  • Search for jobs whether they are posted on a job board or not (i.e. Google: Accounting jobs in Minneapolis)

  • Do an ‘X-Ray’ search of LinkedIn to access profiles of people at your target companies that are not in your network
    (i.e. Google: site:linkedin.com “greater minneapolis” accountant –profiles –jobs)


Job boards. Job seekers understand how job boards (i.e. Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and hundreds of others) help them find relevant job openings. Few, however, think of other information that can be gleaned from the postings listed…

  • Look at jobs posted in your field by recruiters to find recruiters specializing in your field

  • Look for companies that are posting several jobs, even if those jobs are not in your field. Where there’s smoke there’s fire!

  • Look for commonly used wording in job descriptions that fit your background, to find commonly recognized wording to put in your resume

  • Look for common requirements in job descriptions that fit your background, to find additional training you may want to pursue


LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the premier networking tool to find contacts you need in companies you’re interested in pursuing. There are a number of other ways this powerful tool can help you better define and pursue the perfect job as well.

  • Search keywords of your skills to find other job titles people have with your skill sets

  • Search titles of people in your area to see what companies they work at to build a target list of companies to pursue

  • Search for other alumni of schools you attended to find warmer contacts at the companies you are pursuing

  • Look through LinkedIn profiles of people you will be meeting with prior to an interview to find common ground

  • Ask for appropriate company and contact referrals in discussion areas of LinkedIn Groups

  • People that were previously employed at a company you are pursuing can be great sources of information

  • Search for co-workers from companies you’ve worked for in the past. They may be internal referrals for you at new companies

  • Search for recruiters specialized in your field


Facebook / Google+. Everyone understands how Facebook helps you connect to family and friends, but often miss how it’s a great tool to expand your job search networking.

  • Connect individually with all your Facebook and Google+ friends to let them know you’re interested in contacts and job leads.
    You never know where you’re best leads will come from… often from the least likely people

  • Follow your target companies that have a Facebook or Google+ presence to see information they post and do unique interview preparation

  • Be sure to clean-up any unprofessional or disparaging pictures or posts. You will be judged by your online presence

These, and many other ideas can be great, outside the box ways to use online tools. Get creative… of all the information you look at online for your job search each day… what other information can you glean from it?

Add additional ideas in the comments section below!


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Not enough connections on LinkedIn to make it useful? No problem!

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