Job Seeking Tips: 3 Ways to Use Google Alerts

by The Burns & McDonnell Careers Team on February 13, 2013

google alerts for job seekersThere’s no denying that the Internet is a powerful tool for job seekers. Yet with so much information at your fingertips, using the Internet for your job search can be a little daunting, too. And that’s where Google Alerts come in.

Once you specify the search terms and the frequency with which you’d like to see the information, Google Alerts delivers results directly to your inbox. Think of it as your personal search source.

If you’re looking for a new job, Google Alerts is especially helpful in three key ways: finding job opportunities, monitoring your online reputation and staying up-to-date with company and industry news. Let’s dive in for a closer look at each function.

Find a Job

More and more companies are turning to the Internet to post job opportunities. Yet scanning a large number of job boards and company websites can be time-consuming. The solution? Create a Google Alert that will help you scour the Internet and decrease your chances of missing out on an ideal opening.

If you have a specific position and site in mind, Careerealism suggests formatting your Google Alerts query like this: “program management”

You can set up multiple Google Alerts, so it might help to create alerts for several sites that you’re interested in monitoring. You could also create an alert for a job and a city, such as: engineering jobs Kansas City. Want to scan multiple cities at once? Format your alert query like this: engineering jobs (Kansas City OR St. Louis OR Minneapolis).

Keep Tabs on Yourself

As you apply for jobs and expand your online network, there’s a good chance a prospective employer might turn to the Internet to learn more about you. And if you want to keep an eye on the sort of information that’s available, consider setting up a Google Alert to monitor yourself.

A good starting point is to create a Google Alert with your full name in quotation marks so that you don’t get results that match only parts of your name. You might also want to create an alert that includes your name and current company, such as: “Bob Jones 123 Engineering Firm.” If you want to eliminate certain sites from your results (we’ll use Twitter as an example), format your query like this: “Bob Jones” –site:twitter.

Do Your Homework

If you’re headed to a job interview, make research part of your pre-interview prep routine. Set up a Google Alert for the company at which you’re interviewing so you can keep tabs on pertinent news items and other information that might make great conversation fodder during your discussion. Sure, a job interview is an opportune time during which a prospective employer will get to know you and what you can bring to the table. But it’s also a great time for you to ask questions about the job and the company, which is where your earlier research comes in. Or if you read an interesting story about the business, you can bring up the article as you’re making small talk, which will help demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to learn about the company. That helps you make a winning first impression.

You can always refine your Google Alerts once you’ve created them, so don’t be afraid to experiment with additional terms or parameters to help you find the information you need. Consider these free tools your eyes and ears on the Internet. By using them, you’ll better position yourself to find out more about the companies at which you want to work and any available opportunities.

Have you tried using Google Alerts for your job search? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

Image: brionv via Compfight cc

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