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Searching for information: a practical guide

Searching for jobs online

Searching for information is not always straightforward. We got a bunch of librarians to suggest some insider pointers and useful techniques.

Searching for jobs online

Are you using online tools for your job search in the most effective manner? Which are the best job sites to use? How can you use social media to explore the hidden job market? In this workshop, Careers and Placements offer some tips on how to make an effective job hunt and secure a role that fits your strengths, skills and values.

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Professional networking

Making connections with alumni and professionals in the fields you are interested in is a hugely beneficial way of getting information and insight to help you succeed in your future career. Social media is increasingly seen as a place to build such networks, and it can also be used to research people and organisations, and to find out about careers and new job opportunities.


Aimed at business professionals, LinkedIn allows you to create an online profile to promote your skills, knowledge and experience. You can connect with professionals in your field through group discussions and introductions, and receive personal recommendations / endorsements from people you've worked with. If managed carefully, this can help you to build up a good reputation, and one which is visible to a good many people (including potential employers). You can join groups based on interests or industry sectors, or even where you have worked or studied — the University of York, for instance! Many graduate employers have profiles on LinkedIn which you can use to do your research.


More informal than LinkedIn, but still a useful networking tool. Facebook allows you to keep in touch with friends and colleagues as they move on in their careers, and to reconnect with people who may be useful contacts to you now. More and more companies have Facebook pages to keep in touch with their customers, and are using their pages to inform students about their recruitment plans and to answer questions.


Twitter is a genuinely useful resource for networking and information gathering. You can search for people working in jobs or sectors that interest you, engage with them, and follow their activity. This is useful for keeping up with relevant news and developments – but it also allows you to contribute to debates, initiate discussions and build up relationships.

Sharing valuable content is another useful way to raise your profile. Make your biography useful and relevant to what you want so that people can find you. Follow organisations to hear their latest news, jobs or work experience opportunities. Following people within organisations may give you more insights. You can start your own conversations and develop a network of followers. As long as you follow the right people and companies you can hear about events, articles, blogs, reports and much more.

Twitter is a convenient way to receive information, but the more you put into it, the more you are likely to gain.

Forums, blogs and websites

Forums can be found on many company and professional association websites. They give the chance to ask specific questions and receive feedback from a wide range of people – again helping you to develop your network.

Writing your own blog is a relatively straightforward way to raise your profile, while helping others and making connections. It may help you to highlight attributes such as knowledge and expertise in a certain area, willingness to share and help others, confidence, and writing skills. But be aware that maintaining a blog is a significant time commitment — a blog with no recent posts is unlikely to serve you well. However, If you are really passionate about something, blogging about it is a great way to develop your knowledge and communicate your enthusiasm to potential employers.

Another way of getting your name and your thoughts online, without quite the same demand for fresh content as a blog (but also without the same level of interaction), is to create your own website. A simple way of doing that is to use Google Site, but there are other free hosting options available. Like a blog or a LinkedIn profile, having your own webspace is a great way of retaining some measure of control over your digital footprint.