Don’t Rely On the Internet

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A job search required more time before the internet.  You would read the newspaper to find open jobs, drive around your town looking for Help Wanted signs, or stop in at places on the chance that they were hiring.  You would then fill out a paper application by hand or give them a copy of your resume and drive on to the next potential employer.   The internet has made searching more convenient.  As that process has simplified, a new search strategy has emerged: “Look on a job board, apply to all of the jobs, wait for the offers.”  Applying for all of the jobs you can find online may sound like the best way to get a job because the odds are you will at least get one, but it’s NOT an effective strategy for several reasons.

1. Quantity is Less Important Than Quality

There are only so many hours in the day to apply for jobs.  If you’re going to apply to every job you marginally qualify for, something will have to give.  The most likely victim in that squeeze is the quality of the job application, which hurts your chances on an online application because of the screening process.  Take the time to make every application the best it can possibly be by filling out the application to be a specific fit for the position.  Taking your time to be as thorough as possible on an application might mean you put out fewer apps, but improves your odds.

2. Burn Out

In a 2014 study it was revealed that only fifteen percent of hires are attributable to job boards like,, or, and that many more are filled through internal hires or referrals.  There are going to be jobs you apply to online that you don’t get for a variety of reasons.  Online applications are frustrating on their own, even worse for your psyche is to do all that work and to get no result.

3. Bad Applications Haunt You

Most companies with an online job application ask you to create a profile where they will store your information.  If you turn in a poor application because you are spread too thin, that application will still be in the system when you apply for the next job.

4. There are Other Things To Do

You need a job and it’s commendable that you are willing to take on page after page of job applications because of this need.  Take some of that energy and put it into networking.  If the number one way that employers find employees continues to be referral sources, then it makes sense to get referred.  Work over your resume to make it the best possible resume for the jobs you really want.  Do a practice interview on InterviewStream.  Take the time you would normally spend applying to jobs that aren’t a good fit for you and improve yourself as a candidate for the jobs that are good fits.


3 Steps to Success on Online Applications


“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”  This quote, attributed to retired racer Bobby Unser, describes so much of the job search process.  You can be given every opportunity to succeed, but without the appropriate preparation you may not successfully find the right job for you.  Preparation is a critical element to a successful job search, a successful job application, and a successful job interview.  With that in mind, let’s talk about how to properly prepare for completing an online job application

     1. Take Care of Your Needs

If you’re hungry, eat.  If you’re stressed out, relax.  If your kid wants to play, play.  Get your stuff in order before you sit down, because your full attention is needed to the application.  If you are distracted you cannot give your best answers.  Some online applications time your responses and can give a score based on that.

     2. Know the Job You’re Applying For

Print the job description, circle or highlight the keywords you want to use, and use them in the application.  Remember that there’s a computer searching your application for those keywords; you want to make sure they are there.  This is also the best way to sell yourself.  You shouldn’t fill out applications for two different jobs the exact same way; there are different skills you will want to highlight.  If you’re applying for a customer service job, you will need to highlight your people skills; if you’re applying for a job working in a stockroom, the customer service skills may be less important.

     3. Gather Your Data

Something you might forget about an online job application is that it will ask for more information than your resume can answer.  The application may ask you for the street address and phone number of your old employer.  Prepare ahead of time.  One good way to prepare would be to complete a generic application for your own records so you can have the information sitting next to you in an application format.

The online application screening process can be complicated.  It’s not just about putting your name into the hat of applicants anymore.  You have to know the system and beat it.  Taking these steps to prepare for an online application might give you a better opportunity for success.

Join Our Team: How to Find Job Listings on a Corporate Site


When networking about a job search, you’ll routinely hear about jobs that aren’t advertising but are open.  Some of these jobs are just taking walk-in applications or asking for referrals from company employees without advertising a job, and sometimes these jobs no longer exist.  To seek out a specific job, sometimes it can be best to go straight to the source instead of waiting for the advertisements to post.  In this case, that means going straight to the company.

A job bank will host many job opportunities that you can separate by location, by date posted, or by job keywords.  They’ll show you how to apply and then direct you to the corporate application process.  A corporate site though will narrow the available jobs down to just the jobs available in that company.  This is helpful if you’ve heard that an employer is hiring and can’t find the job opening or if you know of an employer in the area that you want to work for you can keep checking in on their openings.  Here’s the step by step of how to look for work on a corporate site.

Find the Company Page

Google, google, google.  Type in the company and click search.  If they have a website, you should find it here.  If you’re looking for a small place of business, try including the business’s location in the search, for example search “Sirloin Stockade Ottumwa” instead of just Sirloin Stockade.  I don’t know if there are any others out there, but I wouldn’t want to apply to the Sirloin Stockade in Tampa, Florida.

Find the Job Openings

Short of the application itself, this is the tricky part.  Usually the link to open job opportunities is going to be at the top of the page or the bottom of the page.  Start by looking for the words “Careers” or “Job Opportunities”, and if you’re not seeing that, look for different phrases like “Join our Team!” that is an employment opportunity.  If none of these work, try looking into the “About Us” or “Contact Us” sections of the page to see if it’s there.

Find the Specific Opening

If you’re applying to a business with more than one location, you’re probably going to have to search the site the same way that you would search or another job bank.  Searching by location is the quickest way to narrow down a specific job you’ve heard about.  Once you’ve narrowed it down, get the job description and treat it like any other application.

The best online tool for a job search is a bank of jobs, so you can just dive in looking for all of the jobs in the area, but a corporate website can be a quick way to get around the job bank search to find the exact job you want.


Recently we talked about the ways to do a job search online.  In that post, we talked about Job Banks.  Today we’re going to walk through how to use the Iowa Workforce Development Job Bank, which is located at  The jobs listed on this website are those that are posted with IowaWORKS by employers and also jobs from around the internet that are indexed into our system.

The first step is to go to and click on Search for Jobs.  Easy enough.


The next step will require registering with our service.  You can look at jobs by clicking advanced search, but without a username and password in the system, you won’t get very far.  If you have ever been to an IowaWORKS office you’re probably already registered with a username and password.  If you are unsure of this information or can’t remember your login information, you can call our office at 641-684-5401 to find your username and have your password changed.  If you haven’t signed up before, check the Applicants Register & create an account link on the side of the page.



The system may take you through some basic information about your work history, education history, and skills.  Once that’s completed you’ll end up on this page.  If you haven’t created a resume with our system yet, you’ll be asked for more information which takes your information and formats it into a resume.  We are going to move along though as if you’ve already taken this on and click the Job Search link.


Now we’re here, the job search.  When you completed the resume information, it asked about your job search preferences.  At the top you can see this user selected within 5 miles of 52544, which is Centerville, IA.  The jobs are initially lined up by “Match”, which our system develops based on your stated work history and interests.  You can change what order the jobs are on by clicking any of the titles circled in red.  The jobs will organize newest-to-oldest, or alphabetical by job title, employer, or location.


When you click on a job you’ll get a screen that looks like this.  It will give you a job description for the position with information you’ll want to know for the application.  If you’re interested, click on the Show Me How to Apply button at the top of the screen.


When you click the Show Me How to Apply button at the top, you’ll get this popup.  It should tell you the job title and the employer, along with information about how to apply.  This job tells you to apply online and gives a link.  Some jobs may tell you an email address or mailing address to send a resume, others may tell you to come to IowaWORKS-Southern Iowa to fill out an application (a hint to know that is if the apply online link goes to a url with iwd at the beginning).


Finding Jobs Online

Finding Jobs Online

The movies depict job searches going a few different ways. One favorite is the person who walks into a store with a Help Wanted sign on the door, taking the sign with them to apply for a job. Another frequent montage is the character that needs money fast grabbing the local newspaper and a red ink pen to circle all the best opportunities in the area and heading out to each place with a resume in hand set to a tune like “Taking Care of Business”. Job searching is moving further and further away from Help Wanted signs and classified ads and towards the internet. With the ability to reach more people and cheaper costs, it makes sense for companies to be putting their openings online and letting the candidates find them, so we want you to be the person with the right tools for the search.

There are several ways to find out about job openings online, we’re going to briefly talk about three:

Use a Job Bank

A job bank is a large collection of job openings similar to the classified ads in the newspaper. There are several online that you can use. As an IowaWORKS blog, we should stress that if you live Iowa you should be using . Because of the relationship IowaWORKS builds with local companies, frequently has jobs listed that you won’t find elsewhere. After you complete your registration you can also access the Focus Career section, where all of the jobs from are listed along with indexed jobs from around the internet. Other popular job banks are,, and  When using these sites you can organize by job you’re looking for or location.  Watch out for “Statewide” listings that may show up as local but need you to move somewhere else.

Search the Company Site

This is most effective when you’ve heard a company is hiring and you want to know how to apply. Go to and search for the company, find their homepage, and then find a link to their job openings. Usually this link will be at the top of the page or the bottom, so scan those areas of the page for words like Careers, Our Team, or Employment. If all else fails try a Contact Us button and there may be a link to an application if it is nowhere else to be found. Most companies list their job openings online, even if they don’t require you to fill out an application on the internet.

Social Networking

We’ve touched on this before, but there are ways to find a job through your social networks. The first thing you can do is tell people that you’re looking for work. The most successful job search strategy is being referred by a current employee, so perhaps one of your hundreds of friends knows about a job you’re perfect for but don’t know to tell you. DO NOT use this strategy if you’re currently employed as you won’t want your boss to see this search. You can also join employment groups on Facebook. Search for groups with the name of your town or other local towns and you might find an employment network. Like IowaWORKS and other organizations online that will tell you about open jobs and hiring events. Start a LinkedIn account and check out the jobs they have listed.

The classic ways of finding a job may still happen.  There are still Help Wanted signs being sold and classified ads in every paper.  More and more though the montage set to music happens in real life on a computer screen.  Make sure you’re using the right tools to find the jobs you want.