Feature: The Secret Weapon of Online Job Search-II
e-Networking-the use of the Internet to make connections with others-is the secret weapon of online job search. It can help you find the Internet’s Hidden Job Market of dream jobs and position you to compete for those opportunities effectively. While others are following the herd to the same old sources, you’ll be making contacts and opening doors that will advance your career … today, tomorrow and into the future.
As with any other activity, however, you must acquire and hone the skills of e-networking to put it to best advantage. In my last column, I introduced the five most important e-networking skills and covered the first of those skills in detail. They are:
In this column, I’ll explore the next two skills on the list.
Participating in the online discussion forums and/or bulletin boards at the networking venues that are right for you
e-Networking is an active, not a passive verb. It requires regular and sustained participation to be effective. Therefore, dedicate 30 minutes of every day (no more) to interacting with the other participants in the discussion forum(s) and/or bulletin board(s) you have selected. Don’t overdo it-the Internet is not a substitute for job searching in the real world-but do do it regularly.
The goal of this activity is both different from that of networking in the real world and the same:
Locate individuals who may be helpful to you in your current job or in the future
Most of us have had relationships, even important ones, that have lapsed for one reason or another. I’m talking about that first boss you had, a college roommate or teacher, a former sports teammate, a mentor in the company you worked for ten years ago, or that close friend with whom you’ve lost touch. Each of these former connections represents a special link in the chain of people who know you; not only might they be able to help advance your job search and/or career, but they are also likely to be willing to do so because of your prior relationship.
The trick, of course, is to find them, and that’s where the Internet can be particularly helpful. I’ve found three resources that are particularly effective and, best of all, they’re also free. They are:
e-Networking isn’t easy, but the return on your investment of time and effort is likely to be substantial … if you hone the skills involved in doing it well. We’ve covered three of those skills in this and my previous column; I’ll explore the final two skills in my next newsletter.
Thanks for reading,
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
Catalyst released the results of a 4-year study that found the glass ceiling in corporate America is as impenetrable as ever. The study placed companies in four bands based on the number of women in the organization and the company’s success in the marketplace. The good news is that the organizations in the top band-defined as those with the most women within three positions of the CEO-had better financial results than those in the bottom band. The bad news is that the companies in the top band had women in just 20.3% of their positions, and it went downhill from there in the rest of the bands. Other research shows that women must fill at least 15% of the leadership roles in an organization for there to be the “critical mass” necessary for employee satisfaction among women. In other words, if you’re one of the 61 million women in the U.S. workforce today and you’re contemplating a move to a new employer, don’t say “Yes” until you’ve confirmed that the critical mass of female co-workers is there where you’ll need it.
The Economic Policy Institute released the results of a study which found that the number of people with a college degree who have been out of work for at least six months grew by 299% to 369,115 by the end of 2003. As a consequence, college graduates now make up a disproportionate share of the long-term unemployed. How can you protect yourself? What should you do if you’re in this situation? There are no easy answers, of course, but the best strategy is to follow two parallel paths. The first is to mount an aggressive job search campaign that includes both the Internet and traditional methods and, within both of those spheres, networking as well as applying to employment ads. The second is to engage in an aggressive developmental program to keep yourself at “the state of the art” in your profession, craft or trade and always “interview ready” with up-to-the-minute awareness of key trends and issues in your industry and the world of business, in general.
Mellon Financial Corporation announced the results of a survey indicating that employers are offering a wider array of work/life benefits for their workers. According to the survey, those companies providing domestic partner benefits increased by 29%, those providing flex time increased by 39% and those offering a telecommuting option increased by 41%. If work/life balance is important to you, make sure you ask about such benefits during the interview process. In addition, check out what others are saying about the work/life benefits at those employers you’re considering; do a browser search (with Yahoo! or Googl.com) to search for news articles and commentary and visit the “electronic watercooler” at Vault.com.
MetLife announced the results of a study regarding worker views of employer-provided benefits. It found that only one-out-of-three (32%) employees was content with the benefits their employer was providing, down from the already dismal level of 42% just last year. What does that mean for you? Don’t wait for orientation to find out what’s available to you and what’s not. Ask for detailed information about the complete benefits package that an employer offers and assess it carefully before you accept its offer.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. If you’re an experienced Project Director looking for an opportunity with a nonprofit organization, which of the following sites can’t serve your needs?
2. If you’re looking for a firm where you can use your experience as a travel agent planning Spring Break and other vacations, which of the following sites would leave you feeling lost in cyberspace?
3. If you love pets and want to land a steady job as a cat sitter or dog walker, which of the following sites would be your cat’s meow … or your holy growl?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories
A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All
Distribution of jobs: International
Number of jobs: 10,000
Salary levels of jobs: $151-200K/year, $201+K/year
Offer a job agent: Yes
Resume database: Yes
How long are resumes stored: 90 days
Restrictions on who can post: Registered on site, in a certain industry
Other services for job seekers: Career/job search information, Links to other sites with such information, Confidentiality feature in resume database
Answers to Site Insite:
1. HelpingHand.com, a site to help people quit smoking.
2. TicketsGalore.com, a site that sells tickets to sports, concerts and other events.
3. All of these sites can help you.