Building a career or finding a job takes one step at a time. In fact, knowing how to search for a job online can be the key in speeding up the steps to landing your next job. The first step to learning how to search for a job online is understanding the options for online job seekers. You’re probably familiar with job posting websites like Monster or Careerbuilder, but let’s categorize the other online job resources available:

  • Job aggregation sites. Job aggregation sites include sites such as Indeed, Simply Hired and WowJobs. Unlike regular search engines, aggregation sites scour hundreds of job boards and compile their job postings in a centralized location. Think of it as Expedia for job search!
  • Job search engines. There are lots of job search engines out there, including general ones such as Monster, Careerbuilder and Craigslist. But there are also job search engines devoted to specific career fields like accounting, marketing or hospitality.
  • Job networking sites. LinkedIn is the most popular job networking site and the main one we recommend to Canadian job seekers. 90% of recruiters worldwide have made placements with candidates they found through LinkedIn. Job networking sites are a great tool for building your network, setting up informational interviews and researching companies.
  • Job search tools. Online job search tools include items that expedite finding your job from job posting apps available on your phone, email alerts and social media. Personal website builders such as or are great tools for creating a career portfolio.

How to effectively search for a job online: Search your niche

Use the above tools to search your niche jobs. It’s often tempting to be very broad in your search for jobs, especially when you’re unemployed. However, you want to focus on jobs in your career field or area of expertise. Being specific and purposeful in your job search will be a much better and more effective use of your time then just taking the “I’ll take any job” approach. Do your research into what job boards you can use, search networking sites for companies and contacts that you could get introduced to and always read to keep abreast of latest industry news.

How to search for a job online: Tell future employers about yourself

While you’re on these online job websites you’ll normally do two things: post your resume and create a candidate profile. Prior to posting any resume online, check each site’s privacy policy; you want to make sure your personal information is secure. Still, we advise job seekers to use precaution and don’t include personal information like your full address, date of birth or Social Insurance Number your resume.

Many career portals invite users to complete candidate profiles to assist with their job searches, including our own. Sometimes they ask for information such as salary requirements and job interests. It’s a great chance to add a little more personality and depth to your application so make the most of it.

Most job sites will also allow you to sign up for email alerts based on preferences or search parameters you set up. You can choose whether to receive your job alerts daily or weekly, so that you stay aware of opportunities as they present themselves.

How to search online for a job: Sending in your application

Gone are the days where job candidates have to mail in their resumes and cover letters. Instead, employers have information on their websites and in job postings that allow you to apply online. For instance, you can send your resume via email, upload your resume to their websites or complete an online job application.

This usually presents another hurdle of job seekers – creating an ATS-friendly application. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is used to manage and screen candidate applications. To make sure yours will be read properly by the ATS, submit your resume using Word format instead of PDF. And try to use the same keywords as the job posting in your resume. For example, if the job ad asks for experience in “Microsoft Word” use the term “Microsoft Word” instead of just “Word” or “Microsoft Suite”.

Knowing how to effectively search for a job online can take time but the benefits of digital far outweigh the burden. Take a measured and informed approach to each step – including searching on the right job boards, researching networks, creating interesting profiles and submitting ATS-friendly applications. Remember, your job search needs to consist of time away from the computer too. Networking, volunteering and going on informational interviews are great ways to get more exposure in your community and broaden your search. Now that you know how to search for a job online, you can focus on finding the job you’ll love!