Many people spend WAY too much time conducting inefficient, frustrating, unsuccessful job searches online. Why?

First and foremost, you’re not likely to get a job by just looking at online job postings and sending in an occasional resume (or even 100). You need to be using your network, meeting people and spreading the word about your search.

That said, three of my clients just accepted new jobs in the past two weeks, and they found the jobs online. So you may be one of the lucky ones, if you use your time correctly.

If you’re going to be looking online for work, borrow some tricks from the online marketing world:

1) Understand keywords (otherwise known as search strings).

Want to find pizza in your neighborhood? You’d enter “pizza South End Boston”, for example, into Google. “pizza south end boston” is a keyword (also called a search string), even though it’s technically four words. Extrapolating this concept into job searching, when you use a job search engine like or LinkedIn, you enter “marketing communications”, which is a keyword.

2) Use job-specific terms, instead of a job title, in your search string.

If you enter “Marketing Manager”, you miss out on many interesting roles that may not have that exact title. Instead, enter “marketing demand generation” or “marketing nonprofit” (or whatever industry you’re interested in).

3) Set up job search alerts, so that the job boards send you interesting roles that fit your criteria.

Most job boards allow you to set up alerts, meaning that when a job fits your search criteria, you’ll get an email with the link to the job. Given the competition for jobs these days, why not be the first to know what’s going on?

4) Use the “long tail” concept when entering keywords in your searches on job boards.

To a marketer, “long tail keywords” are words that are very specific and designed to narrow your search results. Instead of doing one long, frustrating, time-consuming search with a broad search term like “graphic design”, why not do several, much more fruitful searches?

Here’s what I mean.  A client came in the other day, disheartened by her search efforts. She said she wasn’t finding anything online that fit her background, which is graphic design for printed materials. Despite the fact that jobs in that arena are fewer and fewer, we did a search together and found 6 different roles that fit her background, within 10 minutes. What keywords did we enter?

“design brochures”

“design print collateral”

“design annual reports”

“design publications”

“design PDF”

Voila! Even though we did five searches, we found several jobs that her previous searches had not identified and which sounded perfect to her.

Try this for yourself! You may find that it opens up all sorts of opportunities that have been there the whole time.