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By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing

This column from May of 1996 took a little bit of work to update, but the concepts remain mostly the same. The difference between now and 4 years ago are that there are many more job offerings posted on the Internet and it's a "seller's market." The economy has made such a tight employment market that companies are doing much more work these days to find and recruit good people, making it easier for you to find that good job. What in 1996 were fledgling sites and ideas have now matured into an effective online culture. You won't necessarily automatically get the job based on your online presence, but it does make getting a virtual foot in the door much easier. - pcb

Pounding the Virtual Pavement

It's almost that time of year again -- graduation time -- uh-oh, it's time to get a "real" job -- quick, where do you find a real job? Let's see -- there's the newspaper, job placement services, career fairs, and even the old-fashioned method of "pounding the pavement." Ah, but there's more. Nowadays, the Internet offers a number of avenues to that elusive goal of gainful employment.

In the "old days" -- about seven or eight years ago -- there were job notices on the internet, but they were mostly found in Usenet news messages and on university campus information services. The increase popularity of the World Wide Web and the presence of many more commercial concerns on the Internet has opened up a whole new resource for a job search.

Where to Start Looking

So, you're out on the information superhighway and you don't know which way to go. There are a couple of approaches you can take. If you want some tips on the process of finding a job, there's a Web page that can help. The "Quintessential Careers" page (http://www.quintcareers.com/index.html) has links to some helpful information like a job skills quiz, to help you determine which is the job for you, and job search tips, which provides advice on contacting employers and navigating the interview process. This page also has links to a number of online employment notices pages and search sites.

About.com has a lot of information about job searches. An area targeted especially to college graduates has links to all sorts of things like:

  • Job Searching: College Grads Forum -- A great place to post your questions, share your opinions, and network with your peers and potential employers.
  • How To... In 15 steps or less: apply for a scholarship, apply to graduate school, file your financial aid application, find an internship, post your resume online, write a cover letter, and more.
  • Graduate School Notebook -- A library of resources to help you make important decisions about graduate school. Topics include admissions tests, financial aid, distance learning programs, business school, law school, and more.
  • Entry Level Job Center -- Resources for starting or changing careers from About.com's Job Search Guide.
  • Jobs By State -- Job banks, employers, employment agencies, and classified ads organized by state.
  • Internships -- Internships for college students and recent graduates in information technology, math, science, retail, sales, and more.

There is also a link to HotJobs via About.com (http://hotjobs.about.com/htdocs/job-search-page-flat.html) that lets you search for all sorts of jobs, including international jobs and internships.

Targeting your Job Search

Is there a company you'd really like to work for? Many companies list their job openings on their Web pages, especially technology companies. Always wanted to work for IBM? Go to http://www.ibm.com/, select "Job Opportunities" and you'll find an Employment section. Maybe computers aren't your cup of tea, but you are choosy about your peanut butter. Visit http://www.pg.com/and see what opportunities are available at Proctor and Gamble. If you are unsure whether a particular company has a Web page, you can do an Internet search on that company's name.

Another place to look for jobs is in areas related to your chosen field. Many professional societies post job listings. If the society has a Web page, that may be a good place to look for your job in the field. Don't for get that many Colleges and Universities still publish their employment opportunities as part of their Campus Web sites. If you want to stay within an academic environment, listings of openings are readily available. The Federal government also publishes job openings on the Internet. You can search for a position in your geographical area at the "Federal Job Search " page (http://www.fedworld.gov/jobs/jobsearch.html).

Most Internet portal sites have career sections. For example, you can visit http://www.excite.com/careers/ and search for jobs in a particular geographical area or throughout the U.S. Likewise, Yahoo.com has their own site, http://careers.yahoo.com/, which offers resume, research, and job advice services as well. The most popular online job site currently, is http://www.monster.com/. You can think of it as the "Yahoo of jobs", since it has established itself as the prime site in its category. You can search for jobs, but you can also post your resume and even create your own customized job search site ("my monster.com"). Monster.com is popular among employers as well as job seekers, so you have access to a lot of different kinds of jobs and employers.

Establishing your Web Presence

There are many employment listings on the Web, and many of those services allow you to post your resume or at least a profile of your training and experience. A lot of these Web pages are available to you at no charge and are used by employers to search for likely candidates. Using these types of services may be more effective than sending unsolicited e-mail or even responding to an online notice. If an employer expresses and interest in you because you fit their needed profile, then you may be already halfway there towards a successful job search.

The important thing to remember is that just because it is easier to transmit information to a perspective employer doesn't mean that you can ignore what's contained in that information. Quality still counts and if you are uncertain of what to post in an online resume take advantage of the online advice you can find at a number of these employment sites. So, 2000 graduates, the virtual pavement awaits. Start searching now and you might have that dream job before the last word of that inspirational graduation speech finishes ringing in your ears.

Comments, Questions? Send them to Philip Baczewski.