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It is not a secret that the Internet is rife with good as well as misleading information. From medicine to career advice, online information is a mixed bag of top-level expert advice to amateurs experimenting with keywords to drive traffic to their web pages.
That is why when it comes to job hunting, interviewing and other stages of securing a job, it is important to go to reliable sources. Not only should you check the credentials of the websites or the authors you’re getting advice from, look at any generic advice and see how it fits within a particular situation.
If you’re new to the job-hunting process or getting back into it, remember hiring managers generally are looking for more than scripted answers and template letters.
Here are a few areas where getting online help can help if done correctly.
Resume and letters
You probably know about the many resume templates that come along with your Word software. These are meant to meet the goals of people at different career levels. Although they are a good starting point, you may find it difficult to decide which one fits your situation best.
This is where an Internet search for advice on your particular situation can become handy. Find job boards where experts answer questions about the most effective resume to know which works best for your particular situation. It is not only a matter of how long it worked — it is a combination of the experience you represent and the position sought.
Similarly, during the hiring process you may have to write “thank you” notes, offer acceptance or rejection letters, etc.
Even savvy jobseekers may be at a loss on what to include in such professional correspondence. Online samples can be a great help. The only point to keep in mind is to modify the verbiage as much as can be possible so that the letters don’t sound scripted.
In short: Search for ideas rather than sentences. Picking up a couple of upbeat professional phrases here and there won’t hurt, however.
Many people know that when going for an interview, you should be armed with a few decent questions that demonstrate interest and the research done on the employer. These should cover points that are critical to your decision-making. While preparing for the interview, a cursory look at online search results for interview questions may be sufficient to prove that there is a multitude of questions that can be asked. But don’t rush to writing them down just yet.
Getting into an interview with too many questions — or irrelevant ones — completely defeats the purpose. It is good to scan through the questions to be inspired as to what you can ask and how to phrase them. But don’t pick up one unless it is totally relevant to the work circumstances. In addition, pay close attention while the hiring manager or interviewer is presenting the job, so you don’t ask a question that has already been answered.
Yes, you should dress to impress, but what does that really mean in your particular situation? Suit and tie are not always the answer, even though they can be a safe option. The good thing about today’s online presence for most companies is that you may be able to get a glimpse of the employer’s corporate culture by visiting its website or social media pages. Although you should always err on the conservative side when it comes to attire, this online peek can help, at least with the tough choice of how conservative you need to go in for.
Making an informative decision requires knowing as much as possible about the employer’s record. There are many websites that provide employer reviews, but be aware that only disgruntled former employees might have interest in contributing to these.
If you encounter many negative reviews, widen the research by checking industry networks and forums. This online search may not the sole factor in any decision, but it definitely can help detect any red flags ahead of accepting a job offer.
See more interview tips: Learn to stand out at the interview stage
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is currently a Seattle-based editor