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1. Be sure to establish a positive and professional online presence.

Besides making sure your Facebook is clear of any embarrassing photos, be prepared to use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Andrew Pearl, a career coach who spoke at UCF on April 15 as part of UCF’s Career Professionalism speaker series, said in a blog post that “practicing interviewing techniques with tools such as Skype or FaceTime will be invaluable in 2016.”

Additionally, having an updated online resume and an online portfolio of successfully completed projects can help separate the best from the rest, said Sheyna Steiner, a senior investing analyst and reporter for Bankrate.com. Not only are online resumes and portfolios on sites such as VisualCV.com less clunky than Word files attached to emails, they can also be more visually appealing, comprehensive and often have the option to include color pictures and video.

2. Don’t be afraid to make first contact.

Although social networking appears to be overtaking all other methods of hiring, calling or emailing companies and businesses to show interest is not out of style. The annual “white paper” published in 2015 by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium recommends that applicants “visit the websites, identify the key decision-makers and reach out directly.” Regardless of whether or not companies are hiring, Steiner said reaching out to those currently working in the types of positions you want and asking them for advice could be a valuable tool. Plus, these connections can be used as a way to get your foot in the door when there is an opening.

3. Pay attention to job posting keywords.

The Career Thought Leaders Consortium stated that “online job search[es] rely even more heavily on search engine optimization and the strategic use of keywords.” They recommend that job postings on the employers’ sites and on online job boards, such as LiveCareer and Monster, can give you a good idea of what employers are looking for in your field. You can use that information to come up with a few “keywords” — terms and phrases you see used across several job postings — to include in your resume and online that make it more likely for companies and businesses to find you.

4. Use the resources UCF provides.

Even if you haven’t taken advantage of UCF Career Services as a student, you can use KnightLink, an online service that helps UCF students find jobs, receive career counseling and attend career-oriented training sessions and events as an alumnus or alumna.

5. Resumes and other material must be succinct and mobile-friendly.

Resumes should be short, around one page, and easily viewed on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, according to the Career Thought Leaders Consortium. Additionally, the use of videos, infographics and other highly visual means to convey information in resumes and online is becoming more popular and more widely accepted.

6. Utilize jobs boards and other career services offered by professional organizations in your field.

Professional organizations, such as the IEEE Computer Society, the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Psychological Association all host jobs boards on their websites. Although general jobs board websites are slowly becoming too flooded to be of good use, jobs boards dedicated to specific fields can still be very useful.

7. Most importantly, be human.

As Steiner recommended concerning online networking “bringing some value to the connection besides neediness will generally be much more rewarding for both parties … don’t discount the value of sincere friendship either. It doesn’t have to be about bartering favors.”

Above all, remember in your job search that employers, potential future coworkers and other job applicants are people, too, not just means to an end. If you treat everyone you contact professionally with sincerity, kindness and respect, you’ll keep more options open for the future.

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Alex Storer is a senior staff writer for the Central Florida Future.

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