How to find a better job online
If you need work, make the internet work for you.
The internet has transformed just about every part of life, and that includes the job hunt—there’s no shortage of online job listings and recruitment apps. But beyond those obvious routes to gainful employment, you can enlist the help of technology even further in your job search: There are all kinds of resources for boosting your profile and finding the right role for you, and many of them are free, too.
Set up a portfolio
No matter your line of work, you can advertise yourself online with a landing page where you introduce yourself, list your skills, and link to your work—kind of like an online resume (you could even put the URL on your Twitter profile or in your email signature). Carrd is one of the best free options for this, and lets you pick from a selection of simple but attractive templates, then add images and text. See here for a demo page.
Comb through Twitter
Twitter can help find you job leads in a variety of ways. You can run a search for vacancies in your field, connect with people who might be able to offer you a role, and find accounts that list jobs (like this one for writing gigs). This isn’t an exact science, and the search terms you’ll need will depend on the kind of job you’re looking for. The easiest way to start is to try out a few related keywords—some helpful hashtags should reveal themselves.
Refine your skills
We’ve written before about the wealth of educational content on YouTube: Whatever your chosen profession, from digital illustration to home decorating, you’ll find tips and tutorials on Google’s huge video-sharing site. Sure, the quality can be a bit hit-or-miss—this is a free, ad-supported site, after all—but it’s a fantastic resource for boosting your skills or keeping sharp while you’re waiting for the next opportunity to arrive.
Numerous free or freemium apps will help you keep your job search on track and make sure none of your leads or applications fall through the cracks. We’re big fans of Evernote, Google Keep, Notion, and Trello, which all work across the web, Android, and iOS. Keep one or more of them open while you’re looking for work opportunities, then make use of the built-in tagging and sorting systems to stay organized.
Put together a winning resume
A great resume might be the difference between landing a job and missing out, so make sure yours is up to scratch: Check out the free templates in Google Docs, for example (click Template gallery to see the full selection), or enlist the help of a free app such as Canva to put together something that catches the eye of potential employers and shows you in your best light. Click here to see a full round-up of some of our favourite resume-building apps.
Do your research
This sounds obvious, but it’s more than typing “find a job” into a web search box. Look up companies you aspire to work for online, and check their websites in detail (you might find you can reach out to them directly rather than waiting for a job posting). The internet is also a great place to find out if your dream profession is connected to any other roles you might not be aware of, and to look for articles on the future of the job market so you can stay ahead of the competition.
Spend time volunteering
Being able to volunteer while job-hunting isn’t a privilege everyone has, but if you can give your time in this way, several sites can help you find a role—it’ll look good on your resume, and may lead to paid employment or a useful connection. The VolunteerMatch website is an excellent place to start, though you may find other resources closer to home—check out LA Works or New York Cares for projects in those areas, for example.
Sign up for job alerts
Just about all the best job boards and apps let you subscribe for personalized email alerts when a job in your area appears, and it’s well worth signing up. Not only will it save you time scrolling through long lists of irrelevant postings, it also means you can start applying as soon as something suitable appears.
Start connecting on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has its detractors (the relentless business and commercial hustle can be draining), but don’t ignore it as a resource. Look to connect with people you’ve worked with or studied with in the past, and maybe ask them for a recommendation to pad out your profile. As you would expect, LinkedIn also has an extensive jobs board, sorted by industry and region—you can even get recommendations based on your previous roles.
Rather than searching high and low across the web, let the web come to you: Google Alerts is one of the lesser-known Google apps, and it pings you whenever new content matching your search terms appears on the web. You could set up alerts for news about your industry, for specific job openings, or for companies you’re interested in, with the choice of getting email updates around the clock, every day, or every week.