By RAY SCHREYER
Online job searching has evolved from a novelty into an essential career tool in the 10 years since I co-wrote one of the earliest guide books to using the new technology.
At first, internet job searching may seem quick and easy; however, having a strategy for navigating through millions of postings on thousands of sites helps increase the odds of landing a job, or even an interview. It helps to separate the myths that have evolved along withthis multi-million dollar business from the realities that can help both job seekers and recruiters get better results from internet job search tools.
Myth 1: The big boards post the lion’s share of openings.
Reality: Only about 30 per cent of the jobs at major corporations are listed on the big job boards, according to research firm iLogos. Fewer than 25 per cent of internet users worldwide regularly use job boards. There are many more options to include in job research.
Corporate websites and niche sites, such as professional and industry associations, have grown in size and importance. For example, employers use their own sites to avoid the rising cost of job board advertising; they find the high volume of resumes produced by the big boards does not necessarily translate into actual hires. More often, they rely on industry and professional association sites and job aggregators to get the word out about new positions.
Employment search engines, which aggregate jobs from corporate sites, are invaluable to any job hunt, especially now that jobs are global. Top sites include JobRapido in Europe, Recruit.net in Asia and Jobcentral.org in the US.
To get specific vacancies in front of candidates with the required skills, corporations will also opt in the future for targeted search services, such as Yahoo Network’s Behavioral Targeting and Google Adword.
Myth 2: Internet technology makes landing a job easier.
Reality: A job search requires persistent, hard work. Seasoned job seekers understand that the internet is a 24/7 research tool, better used to identify pockets of opportunity than as a vehicle to apply for a job.
Employee referrals remain the number one source of new hires for corporations. To find a new job, seekers need to use every strategy at their disposal, including talking with friends and colleagues, tapping into professional networks, and pinpointing specific companies in their industry.
Internet searches are just one of many tactics to use in an overall strategy. Job aggregators can identify companies that are hiring in an appropriate geographic location and career categories – but that information should be used to initiate networking with the aim of securing an interview. Technology does not eliminate the competition for the best jobs, but it can help seekers stay ahead of the pack.
Myth 3: Placing a resume online reaches recruiters.
Reality: Maybe. Just as likely, job-hunters are helping marketers sell their products and services. For example, with 40m US seekers regularly visiting job boards, the temptation to view this huge audience as a marketing bonanza is too great for many vendors. In some countries there is little regulation monitoring the business conduct of the online recruiting industry.
Job seekers need to be cautious about sharing their personal histories with any site that purports to offer interesting opportunities. Research by the DirectEmployers Association shows that nearly 50 per cent of job seekers have privacy concerns with general boards.
Over the next few years, we are likely to see an emergence of recruiting industry standards as a way to assure job seekers that ads genuinely represent job openings, and that information will remain confidential.
Myth 4: Social networks are distinct from professional networks and play only a marginal role in job searches.
Reality: Social and professional networks are more connected than ever thanks to the internet and using all networks effectively is essential in getting a job. Job seekers worldwide are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, and MySpace to build contacts, learn about job opportunities and find out what it is like to work at a specific company.
Social networking sites are new tools to help get credentials in front of people who can help with landing a job. A key advantage is that these sites give some control over who is part of the network. By contrast, when someone posts their resume on a job site, they have little control over who sees it, or whether it reaches the people who do the hiring.
Job searches require research and networking in multiple ways. Avoid getting trapped in front of a computer screen. Individuals may one day be able to identify a dream job by going online. Until then, understanding the realities of internet job search help seekers become more successful.