Today's candidates have more power than ever in the job search. So if you're a recent graduate, you have more access than ever to information about employers and their respective cultures.

Because a high percentage of job seekers turn to Google and other online platforms to start their search, there's never been more information or resources when it comes to choosing the best workplace environment.

Of all the websites that exist to help you navigate a career post-college, how do you know which to use and what you can do with them to help you on the job hunt?

Here are a few of my favorite job search sites, and ways to use each one to your advantage.

1. Network and share content on LinkedIn.

In today's career world, employee referrals have the highest applicant to conversion rate at 40 percent, meaning a successful job search has a lot to do with whom you know. That's why LinkedIn is a great first stop.

LinkedIn is designed to establish a line of communication with business professionals at companies around the world to help turn your passions and interests into a successful career. By utilizing LinkedIn's in-depth search feature, you can find people whom you're already connected with, as well as your connections' connections, to start a conversation with those in your ideal industry.

Take your profile one step further by creating and sharing content that will help other professionals find you on LinkedIn. Sharing articles from people you admire or writing status updates about topics that excite you lays a foundation for you to begin building your personal brand at the very start of your career.

The content you write and share starts a conversation on your own LinkedIn page, inviting people to engage with that content and connect with you, further helping to expand your growing network as you search for that first job post-graduation.

2. Check out Glassdoor ratings to get an idea of what type of workplace you may be interested in.

Every year, Glassdoor publishes multiple top places to work lists covering companies around the world, ranking them for their culture and employee experience. What I love about Glassdoor is that each of these lists is derived from the reviews left by employees throughout the course of a year.

In terms of transparency, Glassdoor reigns king because of the wealth of information it shares from employees. You can use this platform to search for ratings on everything -- from company culture to compensation -- and to get a more candid look into how top companies operate and the value they place on their employees.

Use these ratings and the top places to work lists to find the companies in your area whose culture values align with your own. Because you don't want to just fit in with a company's culture. You want to be able to add to it.

3. Review award lists to see how companies compare on leadership and diversity.

A newer company to the world of employee reviews, Comparably generates topic-specific award lists based on information and reviews it collects from employees on things such as leadership, company outlook, and more.

What I love about Comparably is its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and belonging with award lists such as Best CEOs for Diversity and Best CEOs for Women. Taking a look at these lists is a good way to better understand a company's commitment to diversity and learn more about how it's moving the needle on hiring people from underrepresented groups into leadership roles as you think about that next step in your career.

Use Comparably to make a list of companies you're most interested in in your area (the site has a region-specific award list, too) to get a first-hand look at what's working at a company, what isn't, and what you can expect from the leadership team around diversity, inclusion, and other key relevant topics.

4. Take a job search quiz or two.

One trend I love seeing is how recent graduates of all genders are, more and more, taking a vested interest in gender and pay equality as part of their job decision criteria. InHerSight provides reviews written by female employees at companies that reflect issues that are often top of mind for people who care deeply about equality, flexibility, and inclusion in an organization they join.

On IHS's site, you can take its "Get Matched" quiz to help take the guesswork out of the job hunt, and narrow down companies and careers that fit your passions and nonnegotiables when it comes to an employer. There's even an option to see remote-specific job roles if you aren't sure where you want to end up in the world just yet. Plus, you can always edit your profile choices to find the best company matches as you continue on in your career.

When you graduate from college, opportunity is everywhere. But to navigate an endless road of possibilities, you need tools to ensure you're matching your skills and objectives to a company where you'll thrive and grow. My hope is these four tips will help you get the context and clarity you need to make a great first career decision, and that it's the start of a long, rewarding, and mission-driven life at work!

Published on: Jun 11, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.