Web a hot spot for job hunters

On the Job

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

One of the best ways to find job opportunities is through theInternet, whether it be Craigslist or one of the numerous job posting Websites. Knowing how to navigate the online labyrinth could mean thedifference between your resume getting lost in the pile or snagging aninterview.

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

Susan Joyce, an editor and Webmaster for www.job-hunt.org, advisesjob seekers to avoid the common mistake of applying for practically everyjob 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 moreresearch," Joyce says. "You have to focus on personal marketing. You haveto 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 andresearch organization, found that 70 percent of all job seekers usednewspapers and online advertisements to look for employment. Most workersused more than one method, including networking and using employmentagencies. (The data on job search methods was based on a nationallyrepresentative sample of 5,000 households surveyed monthly for theConference Board Consumer Confidence Index.)

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

Nonetheless, both Mehler and Joyce say nothing beats networking or anemployee referral when you're trying to stand out among hundreds andhundreds of applicants. And the Internet has made it easier to find oldcolleagues and classmates to tap and foster connections. Also, severalprofessional social networking sites offer opportunities to identify jobleads. Those sites include LinkedIn.com and yorz.com.

Here are some other practical tips for effective online jobsearching:

  • 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's 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. Subscribe to Hanah Cho's podcast
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