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From the Introduction
Special Report: Job Hunting on the Internet
It's more than just hype. The Internet—the huge electronic "highway" that connects your computer to thousands of data bases, businesses, governments, and people—is being used by more and more job hunters, with increasingly successful results.
Using computer power in your job hunt can make a difference. The huge amount of information on the Internet can connect you with jobs you've never heard of. With a few clicks of your mouse, you can find thousands of job listings without leaving your home, you can list your resume and let it be perused by thousands of employers without going to the post office, you can learn much about your career area and get advice from people across the country and world. In particular, Internet job hunting can really make a difference if you're a job hunter in a remote area, or a job hunter looking for a technical or computer job. And every day, the Internet gets bigger, making it more advantageous to non-technical job seekers as well. And there's very good news for non-technical job hunters. Originally, Internet job listings were mainly technical; now over 60% of on-line listings are non-technical.
That said, there are drawbacks to Internet job hunting as well. The Internet is still "narrow"—there's still a lot outside its purview. Costs can add up, and even now, as the Internet has become more popular, it can still be clunky to use. From the job hunter's point of view, there's a lot of junk on the Internet. Because the Internet is open to all, the information you get can be false, redundant, outdated, amateurish, overly expensive, or even fraudulent.
Key point: the Internet is one way of getting the job you want—an electronic means of doing what you should be doing in all venues—networking to meet the people who can help you, searching all available listings of jobs, getting your resume out to people who do the hiring.
To summarize, there are several ways you can use the Internet and your computer in your job hunt.
Your best bet as a job hunter? Take a broad-based approach.
In the next few pages, we'll take a closer look at some of these job-hunting options on the Internet.
The first step to Internet job hunting is to get connected.
If you don't have a computer or a modem, don't overlook your local library, or a nearby university library or career center. They may let you have access to the Internet for free or a small fee. Key advantage: a trained librarian can help you navigate the often confusing Net.
If you want to Net surf at home, you need a modem with your computer and a large computer service company or "gateway provider"—a computer service that gives you access to the Internet and lets you navigate the thousands of databases.
The large computer service companies offer access to the Internet in addition to their own special services, like "chat" groups or bulletin boards where you can talk via your computer with like-minded people. Usually, it's easier for first time Internet users to use their services, although costs are often higher than with the more plain vanilla gateway providers. Even so, as of 1996 nearly half of all users of the Internet connect via one of the giants.
Below are the three major providers. They have many other services besides the ones we've mentioned here.
Local gateway companies (check your local phone listings) offer cheaper ways of accessing the Net and the job banks and resume banks mentioned above. Like the giant computer services, usually they'll charge a flat monthly fee of $19.95 for unlimited use. But it can be cheaper. Recently, a local company in the New York area charged under $10 a month. Note: The economics of the flat rate concept is being debated, with some industry experts projecting a return to the old system of a flat rate for a specified number of hours—usually five—and a rate per hour thereafter. Others are suggesting that rates may be set up depending on degree of usage or when used.
Search for a job using Internet job listings.
In the old days of the 1980s, job openings were pretty much listed in the classifieds of newspapers and magazines. No longer. The Internet includes thousands of current job listings—from corporations like Hewlett-Packard, to governments—like the state governments of New York, to job data banks like Career Path. Job hunters have a great opportunity here, and are increasingly using the Internet.
According to the Internet Business Network's "1997 Electronic Recruiting Index," in 1996 over 1.2 million jobs were offered via on-line services, over 1 million resumes were on-line, 3,500 employment Web sites were operating, and 5,800 firms were recruiting on-line. By the end of 1997, 3 million jobs and 2.5 million resumes were projected to be available online.
The job listings can be of several different types. One type is simply a newspaper classified. In this case, the databases have collected ads from newspapers and technical journals and you browse through them as you would any newspaper. Other types go into more detail.
One other type of listing is a job home page on the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web is the graphic part of the Internet, where companies and people post ads and information at a computer address called a "Web site." Job home pages are like ads only longer—usually a lot more detail about the job opening and companies is included. Some companies have their own Web sites that describe the company, and then offer special ways of accessing different types of job openings at them—click your mouse and you can find financial job openings or managerial job openings at the same company. Another click and you can e-mail your resume.
Getting to some of these job data banks and home pages can be tricky. Your best bet after you hook up with one of the computer services or gateway companies above is to start by checking out their listings, and then, by trial and error, find the areas that interest you. You can also find Internet addresses from the Internet Yellow Pages at your bookstore or posted on the Net, and for starters, you can use the addresses we've compiled at the end of this section.
Key point: more of these databases are compiled every day, others close down, so you'll probably want to go beyond this or any printed list. For example, via one database, we recently found specialized databases we'd never heard of before, like a specialized listing of San Francisco area jobs, or specialized technical jobs, or local government jobs.
Once you've found a job you're interested in, you can send your resume via the post office—or you can e-mail it to the company directly. Often, e-mailing is easier—but you should know the proper format for an electronic resume. See the section on page 17. One other point: on many of these sites you can post your own resume as well (see next section for details).
Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997 by Kathryn Petras, Ross Petras, and George S. Petras