Check out our bi-weekly Net perspective. Our goal is to make these columns useful for our readers whether they be novice or pro, while still offering a fun to read column. Feel free to let us know what Internet resources you find useful in your personal, educational, or business life - it might just end up in one of our columns!
Recently we were talking with a friend of ours about the job market. Their son, Steve, had just graduated from college and was beginning the arduous task of looking for his first full-time job. Steve asked us for some advice; OK, first he asked us for a job; then he sought our advice. We talked about the traditional job finding methods - the classifieds, employment agencies and cold calls. Then we recommended the Internet.
In recent months we have noted the explosion of Internet resources dedicated to the area of job opportunities and career choices. There are a myriad of newsgroups and World Wide Web sites for those like Steve looking for his first job, others who are looking to move up the corporate ladder, and even for those looking to make a career change. Thousands of employment ads can be seen on your PC. We've found that the quality of the jobs offered are generally high, as companies who have taken the time to post jobs online do so in an effort to recruit well-educated potential employees who have a knowledge of computers. Don't worry though, not all the jobs listings we found were in the computer field.
The whole process of finding a job is generally exhausting, but using the Internet can make it a bit less stressful as Steve found out. Since his first choice was a job in the Buffalo vicinity he checked out some local resources first. The Buffalo Free-Net (bfn.org) was his first stop which features the Business and Employment Center (bfn.org/business/) where you can find listings of local companies and opportunities. Another traditional resource is local colleges and universities. The University at Buffalo's Career Planning and Placement Center (wings.buffalo.edu/employment/career/) has an extensive web site with local, national, and global links for the job seeker. A few local employment companies also have a presence on the Internet including Faxified Inc. (www.faxified.com), where you can not only list your resume but also query a database of job openings.
More employment information can be found from Usenet newsgroups. Nearly every region of the country has a newsgroup dedicated to employment. Those related to the Western New York area include ny.jobs, ont.jobs. Contact your local Internet Service Provider if they do not carry these newsgroups.
For more local links we recommend doing a search using the WNYWeb (wnyweb.com) or your favorite Internet search engine; in fact, check out cNet's search.com (www.search.com) where you'll find a listing of the major web search engines. It's important to choose your search words carefully though because just searching on "jobs" will return thousands of hits. As Steve found out, similar to searching for a job the traditional method, patience is needed to wade through all the useless hits that he found doing his search.
In fact, Steve was able to get an interview with local firms after finding their listing on the Internet. Before his interview, he went back to the net and looked for information about his potential employer. He was able to find a company profile, quarterly reports and other tidbits of information that prepared him for his interview.
Steve was also curious about job opportunities in the Northwest where he was originally from. Using the Internet he was able to avoid having to trudge down to the newspaper stand and wait for the out-of-town newspapers. For example, the Seattle Times (www.seatimes.com) is on-line and includes a section of classified ads. For an index of out of town newspapers take a peek at Ecola's Newsstand (www.ecola.com/news) or the Electronic Newsstand (www.enews.com).
Another resource for remote job hunters are the national electronic job boards. Many of these sites have sections broken down into particular industries. Most, like Career Magazine (www.careermag.com) have built-in search engines which allow you to look for a posting in a specific field or skill or location. Career Magazine offers an electronic mailing list to keep you updated of new postings and allows you to post your electronic resume. There are also newsgroups on employment-related topics and links to other job boards.
Another great site is Career Mosaic (www.careermosaic.com) which has numerous resources and even has employment listings for Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom. Here you'll find company profiles as well as some nice advice sections like how to write resumes and cover letters. CareerPath (www.careerpath.com) has classified listings for 18 major U.S. cities. In addition, you can post your electronic resume for free.
The Monster Board (www.monster.com) is the best looking site of the genre featuring colorful creatures aimed at making your monstrous task more tolerable. We especially liked the ability to search by industry in addition to keywords. The search results returned give you an idea of what jobs are available in the field you are looking for.
Other large sites include The Online Career Center (occ.com), CareerWEB (www.cweb.com) and JobTrak (www.jobtrak.com). Here's a helpful tip that Steve gave us: once you've found a job board that you like, bookmark the job search page so you can quickly and periodically check for new job listings.
Steve also had a job interview out of town. Before deciding on whether to pursue this locale, he checked out the online version of Money Magazine (pathfinder.com) for their annual survey on the best cities to live in. After clicking on Money Magazine take a look at the "Best Cities Search". This great feature rates the quality of life as well as cost of living of 300 American cities. Here you can compare what comparable salaries in two cities equate to in terms of actual buying power. Check it out and see how Buffalo fared - but don't blame us, we didn't do the analysis!
We're happy to say that Steve was offered a job which he found on the Internet. His experience is an example of what you can do with some patience, hard work, and an Internet connection. And we like to think that in some way our advice helped.
If you have any information on what's happening locally on the Internet let us know. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax us (716) 832-8030 with any Western New York related Internet activities.