Feature: The Secret Weapon of Online Job Search

Feature: The Secret Weapon of Online Job Search

Feature: The Secret Weapon of Online Job Search

Most workers in the U.S. believe that there’s a great job out there somewhere if they could just find it. To put it another way, they’re absolutely convinced that they’ve not yet working in their dream job, the one where they will be fully challenged and amply rewarded. And, here’s the rub: many, if not all of them, also recognize that they lack the skills necessary to uncover and compete for that position.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the results of a recent survey conduct by Execunet, a networking and career development company for those making over $100K per year. It polled 952 senior managers and executives-the people who, most of us believe, have actually found a great job-and discovered that:

  • only 54% feel very prepared or prepared to market themselves to land a better job or to promote their careers, and
  • even fewer-just 48%-feel very prepared or prepared to network effectively.
  • And, they’re the honest ones. The truth is that most of us realize the importance of networking and self marketing, and just as many of us don’t do very much of it or do it very well.

    Why is that? Well, there are probably several reasons:

    First, many of us don’t have good networking and/or self marketing skills;

    Second, most of us realize that the word says exactly what it means: it’s netWORK, not netPLAY or netRELAX; and

    Third, virtually none of us have the time to do the netWORK we know we should.

    Traditional networking is a face-to-face and one-on-one exercise. As a result, it’s very labor intensive and time consuming. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it; you should. Research report after research report has shown that the best jobs-those dream jobs we all want-are almost always filled by networking.

    So, all of us should make a greater effort to include networking in our work day. How can we do that? While we should make more time for traditional networking, we can now also expand its range and effectiveness by using the Internet. Networking online, or e-networking, happens via e-mail and via the posts we make in chats and on bulletin boards at select sites. In other words, instead of being one-on-one, it’s one-on-many. Your single message is read by all of the other participants in the discussion, thereby multiplying your contacts and potential opportunities. And because it’s done via e-mail (from the comfort of your home or wherever else it’s convenient for you), it’s also much less labor intensive.

    As with traditional networking, however, there are skills involved in e-networking that must be mastered if you are to gain its full advantage. They are knowing how to:

  • find the right networking venues for you on the Internet,
  • participate in their online discussions once you find them,
  • locate individuals who might be helpful to your current job search or future career success,
  • contact those individuals so that they are willing to help you, and
  • focus online company research so that it enhances your traditional networking.
  • Let’s take a brief look at each of these skills in turn.

    Find the right networking venues for you on the Internet

    Right, in this case, means the sites that have the greatest probability of advancing your job search and/or career. To do that, they must (a) attract your professional or work peers, the people who are most likely to know about employment opportunities that are right for you and (b) provide a way for you to interact with these colleagues. I’ve found that the following sites typically meet these criteria:

  • sites run by your professional association or trade organization
  • sites run by your college, university or technical school alumni group,
  • sites that serve an affinity group of which you are a member(e.g., veterans, African Americans, women).
  • Not all of these sites will support effective networking, however, because not all meet the second criterion: they must provide a way for you to interact with your peers, and typically that means supporting either regular chats or an on-going bulletin board or discussion forum.

    How can you determine which sites might be most helpful? There are several resources you can use:

  • To find association sites, use the free directories at the American Society of Association Executives and at WEDDLE’s;
  • To find college or university alumni sites, check the free directory at Google; and
  • To find sites that serve affinity groups appropriate for you, check either WEDDLE’s 2004 Job Seeker’s Guide to Employment Web Sites or WEDDLE’s 2004 Directory of Employment-Related Internet Sites.
  • In all cases, you will have to visit the sites that look potentially interesting to you to evaluate their services (i./e., do they offer a way for you to connect with your peers) and their fit with your personality and career aspirations. There are thousands of potential venues where you can network online, so take the time to make a smart choice.

    e-Networking is the secret weapon of online job search. It can connect you with dream jobs that others will never know about and position you to compete for them successfully. As with any other activity, however, you must possess and hone the skills of e-networking to put it to best advantage. I’ll describe more of those skills in my next columns.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    CareerJournal.com reports that hiring is up for marketing and sales professionals. Based on job postings, employers appear to be looking for candidates with a combination of general marketing experience and a deep knowledge of market research. They also want those who can demonstrate a track record of success in such areas as raising profits through controlling expenses and building and managing a sales team. Depending on the industry, company size and a person’s background, successful candidates at the Vice President of Marketing level can expect to start at an annual salary $150-225,000, plus bonus.

    GetEducated.com released the results of its biannual survey of tuition costs for accredited distance-learning MBA programs. The most expensive was Duke University at $107,000; the least expensive was Cameron University at $2,760.45 (for Oklahoma residents) or $6,357.45 (for all others). The rest of the top-10 least expensive programs were Western Illinois University, Ball State University, Florida Atlantic University, University of North Dakota, University of Nebraska Lincoln, East Tennessee State University, University of Arkansas Little Rock, University of Texas System, and the University System of Georgia.

    PeoplePerformanceUSA.org launched its site as a source of information on the “people skills” of various organizations. Ratings are acquired from customers and employees alike and cover a company’s customer service, employee communications and commitment to respectful, responsible behavior toward all people. The rating scale is … well, a bit unusual: organizations get either a plum for good people skills or a raspberry for those that need work. Knowing whether an employer practices what it preaches about the importance of people and customers is undoubtedly a good idea. However, when we checked the site, there were no rankings available for any organizations … which makes you wonder about the customer service and communications credibility of PeoplePerformanceUSA.org.

    SeniorHelpWanted.com launched its employment Web-site for experienced workers. It joins RetiredBrains.com, SeniorJobBank.com and JobsforSeniors.ca in filling a niche that will become increasing important as the North American workforce ages and more Baby Boomers begin to search for alternative employment options.

    WEDDLE’s announced a series of free public presentations by its Editor and Publisher, Peter Weddle, Entitled The Secrets of the Hidden Job Market Online, these sessions will present tips and techniques for finding the best jobs online and competing for them successfully. It’s important information for recent or soon-to-be college graduates, mid-career professionals, executives and others in transition, military personnel entering the private sector and anyone who wants to capture a new or better job today, tomorrow or in the future. The series is being held at Borders Bookstores around the country. For the current schedule of presentations, please click here. If you don’t see your city listed, contact your local Borders Bookstore and ask them to schedule Peter Weddle in their store soon.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. If you were a lawn maintenance specialist, which of the following sites might help you cultivate an opportunity with a lawn care company?

  • GrassisGreener.com
  • WeedJobs.com
  • HorticulturalJobs.com
  • GardenSeeker.com
  • 2. If you were a personal trainer looking for a new gig with a gym or fitness center in your area, which of the following sites would buff up your job search?

  • ExerciseJobs.com
  • FitnessJobs.com
  • Strength.org
  • GymJobs.com
  • 3. If you were an experienced inventory manager and wanted to find a new opportunity with a retail firm, which of the following sites might stock appropriate job openings?

  • JobsinLogistics.com
  • BuyingJobs.com
  • American-Purchasing.com
  • KeepTrack.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories

    Yahoo!HotJobs

    www.hotjobs.com

    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: National: USA

    Number of jobs: Not Reported

    Salary levels of jobs: Not Reported

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: Not Reported

    Restrictions on who can post: Registered on site

    Other services for job seekers: Career/job search information, Confidentiality feature in resume database

    Answers to Site Insite:

    1. All of the sites but GrassisGreener.com, a general purpose board that pulls job postings from other job boards.

    2. All of the sites but Strength.org, the URL for a nonprofit working to eradicate poverty and hunger around the world.

    3. All of the sites but KeepTrack.com, the URL of a company that sells preventive maintenance software.

    N

    N

    N

    N