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Cyber-Search: Are On-Line Resources Worth the Time?

Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer with Resume to Referral. She’s authored several books, including How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer,and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.

The Internet is loaded with job listings – thousands and thousands of them. Log on to Monster.com or Jobs.com and check out the Help Wanted Bulletin Boards. Most likely, you’ll find lots of listings in your job category. Unfortunately, so will four billion other programmers, researchers or administrative assistants. Can you imagine the number of resumes a good posting will generate? Hundreds and hundreds. So, are on-line job sites worth your time, or are they a waste of time?

On-Line Job Sites: Size Does Matter

There are more than 4,000 job sites on-line. They come in all shapes and sizes, from Monstrous to miniscule, and in the case of your job search, you’ll have greater success by finding the right job sites for your skills and career objectives.

Let’s start with the biggest sites, Jobs.com, Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com and the other employment behemoths. These mega-sites post jobs around the world and in virtually every US Department of Labor category of work. Employers love the world-wide exposure their postings receive. It’s very inexpensive (less than an advert in the local paper), it produces a digital blizzard of resumes and it’s a great place to post open listings – positions that are always open.

However, the competition for the really good jobs is fierce. If you’re a generalist within your profession, these gigantic sites shouldn’t be your first stop in your on-line search. Conversely, if you’re a nano-technology engineer with a PhD in calculus, that’s a specialized field and the competition won’t be as fierce since most of us don’t even know what a nano-technology engineer is.

In either case, it certainly doesn’t hurt to sign up with these sites and post your resume. You may get a call simply because the timing is right and the stars are properly aligned.

Specialty Job Sites

These sites focus on a particular industry, skill set or other limiting criteria. For example, there are several web sites that connect recent post-graduates (MS, MA, PhD, etc.) with ‘entry-level’ positions in research, academics, government and industry. Check out sites like AmeriCareers.com that focus on post-graduate job placement.

Some of these sites are sponsored by professional associations – CPAs, pharmaceutical representatives, real estate agents – if you fall into a general work category like one of these, the competition for the good jobs will be less, meaning you’re more likely to get noticed.

Most states have job listings posted. Some post them as part of the main site for the state, while others have separate web sites for employment listings. For an example, visit www.ctdol.state.ct.us – the Connecticut Department of Labor website. These sites are useful for finding local and regional openings, especially important to job seekers who don’t want to uproot their families and move across country. Many of the listings on state job sites are for positions in state government. If you’ve had experience in this area, check out postings on your state’s site, or the sites of states to which you’d be willing to move.

Also, you can post your resume on these government-sponsored sites, always a good idea. The viewer may be looking for someone just like you.

Company Sites

Large companies post job listings on their own sites. Many have a link off the home page labeled ‘Job Opportunities’ or ‘Employment’. These are definitely worth adding to your favorites file during a job search. New postings come up daily.

Many large companies will even e-mail you when openings in your area of expertise are posted. This can be a real time saver. For an example, visit www.thehartford.com and click on the ‘Careers’ link on the home page.

Most of these sites will also take a digital (on-line) resume and keep it in their database. People have received calls months and months after posting resumes on some company sites. Hey, you never know.

A Few Words of Caution

Looking for a job can be stressful. No, it is stressful. Unfortunately, a lot of unscrupulous people know this and on-line job scams have been reported. So, here are a few tips to protect yourself, your wallet and your personal information.

1. Never pay a site a listing fee. Potential employees (you) are the ‘commodity’ these sites sell. Employers should pay all fees and be glad they found you.

2. Never post personal information on an unsecured site. There are all kinds of hackers, crackers, script kiddies and other cyber-creeps who would love to know all about you. Post your resume on secure sites but never list critical information like your Social Security number or mailing address. Provide an e-mail address only when you post your resume on an open job site.

3. Remove your posted, on-line resumes from job sites once you’ve found a job. Again, you already have enough personal information floating through the Ethernet without adding to it.

Using on-line job sites offers the opportunity to discover the perfect job that you would never have found using conventional means. It’s convenient, employers love them for all sorts of reasons and they work when used to your best advantage.

They are worth the time. Just think of it as one more dimension of your larger job search – another open door to your next position.


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