By Jim Wong, CPA | October 28, 2013

The Internet has transformed the way people search for jobs. People are no longer circling want ads in a newspaper, but instead are networking on social media and searching online job boards in hopes of finding that dream gig. However, it’s not smart to rely on just one method to find a job. “The most important secret to making online job search sites work for you: Use them sparingly,” says Susan Adams, contributor to Forbes.

The Online Job Search

Adams says rule number one is spending only 10 percent of your time on job search sites. Here’s how she breaks it down.

Start with job aggregators such as,, or They all “list millions of jobs, drawing on company websites, job boards, and newspapers,” says Adams.

Use refinements and filters such as a title, company name or location. Some job aggregators also allow you to search within a specific salary range or sort through family-friendly or socially responsible workplaces.

Play with advanced search options. Try searching for a company you’d like to work for or an advanced degree that qualifies you for specialized work. “You could type in “CFA” if you’re a certified financial analyst, for example,” says Adams.

Have aggregators send listings directly to your inbox. Set up email alerts that deliver new job postings to you each day. “Since momentum always helps in a job search, it’s useful to see ads as soon as they’re posted,” adds Adams.

Look for niche sites specific to your field. For example, is a good site for the tech world, and for finance jobs, try the Wall Street Journal financial jobs website, FINS.

“Too many job seekers spend all day hunkered over their keyboards, combing through listings, trying endless search filters and sending their résumés into black holes,” says Adams. So while you’re searching online for jobs, make your time counts.

The Offline Search

Adams refers to Robert Hellmann, a New York career coach who suggests job seekers extend most of their efforts beyond online search. “There’s just too much competition online,” he adds. Hellmann recommends job seekers spend 80 percent of the day networking and contacting people in charge of the jobs you want directly, 10 percent with recruiters, and 10 percent online.

Dennis Nishi, contributor to The Wall Street Journal, agrees job seekers should search for a job offline. “Online searches are better used to support offline networking,” he says.

According to Steven Rothberg, founder of job-search website in Minneapolis, 80 percent of jobs aren’t publicly advertised. As a result, offline networking is a more effective way to land a job. Nishi shares some tips for the offline job search.

Expand your network. Look beyond your industry peers and talk with friends, and/or family. You never know who can offer a potential lead. Nishi shares an example of Joel Garfinkle, an executive coach from San Francisco. Garfinkle told a client to share her job search tales with other parents when she picked up her kids from day care. This simple act led to an introduction by one of those parents — who happened to be the wife of a hiring manager at Yahoo. His client got the job.

Volunteer at association events or get on a committee. If you want to get to know people, become part of the organization and contribute your time, effort, and energy. If people like you and see that you have credibility, they will want to help you.

Have your resume hand delivered. “Get somebody within the organization to hand deliver your resume to the hiring manger,” says Nishi. You may get an interview even if you aren’t a precise match.

Take relationships offline. Meet contacts for coffee or set up an informational interview suggests Nishi. “The latter is an exploratory meeting or phone call where you can learn about a company or industry,” he adds. Since you’re there to learn about the company and the skills they are looking for, rather than ask for a job, people are more likely to respond to the request favorably, says Melissa Llarena, New York career coach.

A job hunt is about interaction, engagement, and building relationships with people. So extend your network to tap into the hidden job market.

Online job searches can alert you to what opportunities are out there, but they don’t replace personal relationships — so make sure to include a healthy mix of both in your job hunt.

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