Online Job Search Strategies
Ventura County Star
Jan. 11, 2009
Experts agree the Internet has become so pervasive it is reasonable to believe virtually every source of hire has an online component. The benefits of searching for a job online are seemingly endless. You can access information 24 hours a day, take your search further than your regular boundaries, initiate new relationships and explore career alternatives.
When it comes to looking for a job online the Internet is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing: there is a ton of information – the curse: there is a ton of information.
So, where to start?
Where to Look
When searching for anything online the key is to know what you are looking for. If you simply type “jobs” into a search engine like Google, your result will be overwhelming – more than 1.7 billion sites to be exact. Instead plan your search around four different types of sites.
1. Local Sites — If you don’t want to move out of the area, these sites may be the best place to start. Go to local newspaper sites or try Craigslist where you can search by geographic area and job type. You can also search for local professional organizations who often list jobs. Enter a location, profession and the word “jobs” in a search engine to get started, e.g., “Ventura, engineer, jobs.” In the greater Ventura area, local listings can be found at:
- Ventura County Star – www.venturacountystar.com
- Santa Barbara News-Press – www.newspress.com
- Los Angeles Times – www.latimes.com
- Craigslist – www.craigslist.com
2. Large Recruiting Sites — Another good place to look are the big job listing and recruiting sites where you can get broad overviews and some of the largest searches available. Or, if you are looking for a specific location try a site like Newslink (www.newslink.org) which features a collection of links to online newspapers and their classifieds. Some of the most popular general jobsites include:
- Monster – www.monster.com
- Yahoo! Hotjobs – www.hotjobs.com
- Job Central – www.jobcentral.com
- Nation Job – www.nationjob.com
- Jobstar – www.job-hunt.org
1) 3. Industry or Targeted Sites – Sites serving a particular industry, occupation, geographic location, or group of people can also be extremely helpful. You can either use a search engine to find these types of sites or try a site like the Riley Guide (www.rileyguide.com) which has links to a number of different industry sites. For example you can find sites such as:
- InfoMine – www.info-mine.com (mining industry)
- SaludosWeb – www.saludos.com (persons of Hispanic descent)
- New Mobility’s Interactive Cafe – www.newmobility.com (the disabled)
Just as in the offline world, networking online can be a powerful tool and help increase your odds of landing a great job. There are thousands of discussion groups and community forums covering every subject imaginable online. They offer a great place to get to know contacts and pave the way to stronger in-person professional relationships. Another big advantage is you can participate as much or as little as you want in most forums and discussion groups. Also, many recruiters visit these types of sites looking for potential candidates.
As a warning, networking online is not necessarily easier. It’s important to remember tone and innuendo don’t always translate well in typed messages. Be careful with what you post. You may want to re-read your postings before you press submit and ask yourself “could this be misconstrued or misinterpreted to negatively affect me?”
Common ways to network online include:
- Chat rooms and web forums many of which are accessible through places like vault.com, MSN Groups or AOL’s People Connection.
- Social networking websites like LinkedIn and Networking for Professionals.
- Mailing lists which can be found by searching the CataList maintained by L-Soft or Yahoo! Groups.
Same Rules Apply
While the Internet may be more convenient, much of the same etiquette should be followed when pursuing a job. After all, you may be communicating via technology but you’re still trying to develop contact with a real-live person. In most cases cover letters are still appropriate to send along with your resume. It’s a way for the employer to know more about you, and it’s an opportunity that should be taken advantage of when possible.
Also, do your homework. It’s easy to get sloppy with online communications. Research the company and job as thoroughly as you can and understand what you are applying for. And finally, remember follow up is just as appropriate online as it is in the traditional offline world.
Look out for Scams
The world of online jobs is unfortunately not immune to the perils of the Internet in general. While not overly prevalent, phony job opportunities, scammers and marketers do exist and many have found ways to exploit job seekers online. Most are trying to extract personal information. Here are some basic dos and don’ts for safe online job hunting:
- Don’t provide non-work related personal information on your resume e.g., social security number, date of birth, etc. Also, know that you need not relay this type of information over the phone, email, fax or otherwise in any application process.
- Do your homework on unfamiliar employers or recruiting agencies by checking with the Better Business Bureau, a phone book or try contacting them directly.
- Do be wary of anyone who asks for any kind of payment upfront for finding you work. You shouldn’t have to pay for a job itself.
- Do consider creating an exclusive web-based email address and account for all non-personal communication.
- Don’t be careless. Examine contact information closely looking for spelling errors or email addresses that do not feature the company’s name.
Cheryl Moore is the executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County. The WIB administers federal funds that help to support to eight Job & Career Centers throughout Ventura County. These JCCs provide employment assistance, career training and education services to job seekers, and employee recruitment, customized training and business consulting to local employers. All center services are provided at no cost to job seekers and employers. For more information, call 800-500-7705 or visit www.wib.ventura.org.