Internet can be key tool in job search

On the Job

January 03, 2007|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,Sun Columnist

During this time of the year, many workers are looking for new careers.

One of the best ways to find job opportunities is through the Internet, whether it be Craigslist or one of the numerous job-posting Web sites. Knowing how to navigate the online labyrinth could mean the difference between your resume getting lost in the pile or snagging an interview.

"In the past, you opened up the Sunday Baltimore Sun and that was it," says Mark Mehler, co-founder of CareerXroads, a recruiting technology consulting firm in Kendall Park, N.J. "Now, it's 24-7, 365 days. Many more choices all over the world. You apply to many more jobs. The problem is that the companies get inundated."

Susan Joyce, an editor and Web master for www.job-hunt.org, advises job seekers to avoid the common mistake of applying for practically every job because the Internet makes the process so easy. Keep in mind, she says, that the Internet has made job searching more complicated as well.

"People need to be more selective, and I'd love to see them do more research," Joyce says. "You have to focus on personal marketing. You have to find a way to get a recruiter's attention because you get so much junk."

A recent study by the Conference Board, a business membership and research organization, found that 70 percent of all job seekers used newspapers and online advertisements to look for employment. Most workers used more than one method, including networking and using employment agencies. (The data on job search methods were based on a nationally representative sample of 5,000 households surveyed monthly for the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index.)

Among respondents who got a job offer, the largest percentage, or 38 percent, attributed the offer to their Internet search compared with 27 percent who said their new jobs were a result of networking with friends and colleagues, according to the Conference Board study.

Nonetheless, both Mehler and Joyce say nothing beats networking or an employee referral when you're trying to stand out among hundreds and hundreds of applicants. And the Internet has made it easier to find old colleagues and classmates to tap and foster connections. Also, several professional social networking sites offer opportunities to identify job leads. Those sites include LinkedIn.com and yorz.com.

Here are some other practical tips for effective online job searching:

Make sure your resume is easily readable online. That means using a 12-point font but no underlining or italics.

Use aggregator sites, such as simplyhired.com and indeed.com, that cull job postings from the Web. You can use filters such as location, salary and experience or pretty much anything, including pet-friendly workplaces, to find a near-perfect opportunity.

If you have a specific company in mind, check out its Web site. Many have links to a career page as well as a host of information about the company, from its mission and work force diversity efforts to profiles of employees and job postings.

Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun.com. Please include your first name and your city. On the Job is published Monday at www.baltimoresun.com. Hanah Cho's podcast can be found at www.baltimoresun. com/onthejob

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