In The Media
Real at Work
On The Job
Mark In The Media
in the Toronto Star, October 2006
Using the Net to get a job
Online job sites are great, but many experts still prefer
Can you find a good job on the Internet? For some people, looking for
positions online is the preferred method of finding work. This is especially
true for college students, many of whom have been plugged into computer screens
since they were born.
To help online job seekers enhance their chance of success, I spoke to career coach Mark Swartz. Back in 1997, he wrote Get Wired, You're Hired: The Canadian
Internet Job Search Guide. The book, now in its third edition, sells
for $29.99 at his website, www.careeractivist.com.
Here's his advice for students and recent graduates:
Check out the websites of employers that
interest you. Medium to large companies often devote a section to employment.
You can register, post your resumé and get email alerts when jobs open up that
fit your specifications. Go to job boards that cater to students, such as WorkopolisCampus.com and
JobPostings.ca. Try one of
the federal government's websites aimed at students, http://www.youth.gc.ca and http://www.jobbank.gc.ca.
You'll find links to jobs in specialized fields (education, science and
technology, finance, hospitality, health, arts and the environment)
Be efficient with your time. Use job aggregators, which gather ads from a wide range of
websites in one location. Try Indeed Canada (canada.indeed.com), WantedJobs.com (click Canada), Nicejob.ca or Eluta.ca. "It helps if you have an idea of what you want to
do, at least a general direction," Swartz tells students. "You also need
marketing material, such as a polished and targeted resumé and a customized
Social networking is the latest Internet trend. At sites such
as MySpace, Facebook and Friendster, users create personal profiles, typically
containing photos and lists of interests. They exchange private or public
messages and join groups of friends. Swartz likes LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com), a
social networking site for job seekers and employers. Your profile helps you get
introduced to people — who might be in a position to help — through people you
know already. Students should use the discussion forum at social networking
sites to connect with others in their field. They can check each other's
progress and share tips on finding work.
It's important for young people to have
an online presence, he says. Set up your own website or blog (an online diary).
Or find experts in your field who have blogs, where you can post questions or
comments. One day, an employer might put your name into a search engine to see
what turns up. Try doing it yourself at Google and Technorati, a search engine
for blogs. What if you find something embarrassing? This can happen if you use
your real name online, instead of a pseudonym. Once you post an outrageous
comment to a blog, you have no right to rescind it. It will stay there
indefinitely. The solution, says Swartz, is to generate a strong enough online
presence to overwhelm the system. Your current accomplishments will show up on
the first Google page, pushing back your youthful indiscretions to page 3 or 5,
where only the most determined employer will venture.
I also talked to Mark
Laurie, who runs the Jobpostings website and Jobpostings magazine (distributed
on college and university campuses) with his brother. "We launched this in
1998," he says. "I'm 31 and already a publishing veteran." Laurie started his
company, Passion Inc., after graduating from Dalhousie University with a
business degree in 1997. "I couldn't find a job. Every employer wanted three to
five years of experience. No one wanted to give me a first job. "That's when I
realized there needed to be special media for college students." About 50 to 60
companies have posted jobs at his website this month. Most are part-time jobs,
such as working in call centres or retail stores. The full-time jobs start
appearing by March or April — and the number of companies can reach 100 or more.
Laurie also runs a specialized website for those interested in teaching jobs
with Canadian and foreign school boards or private schools (http://www.applytoteach.ca). What's his advice for recent
graduates looking for a career? "Networking is always the best way," he says.
"If I were a student, I'd use campus career centres and professors who have good
relations with industry." This comment, while surprising, is echoed by others in
"Online recruiting is good, but it breaks the human relationship
needed to do effective recruitment," says Manuel Francisci, president of
JobWings.com Careers Inc. in Montreal, an Internet startup company launched in
2001. "Too many people are spending too much time on computers trying to find
jobs. I shouldn't say it since I'm a job board owner, but online won't replace
direct contact." His company runs a number of niche networks, such as
Legaljob.ca, HRjob.ca, Salesrep.ca and Part-time.ca. This helps employers, who
can get swamped when 800 applications arrive for one advertised job. They prefer
to narrow down the search for qualified candidates. "For the moment, the
Internet has not fulfilled all the expectations of candidates and recruiters,"
JobWings says at its website. A big problem is that ads stay online once the
position is filled. "Employers will pay for a one-month listing and if they hire
someone in two weeks, they won't remove the posting," Francisci says. "They
won't even remove it from their own website."
Swartz, too, agrees that
networking can unearth more jobs that an online job search. "About 100 per cent
of the people are online looking for work. But with the hidden job market, maybe
half go there with any sense of aggressiveness or purpose. "The math turns in
your favour once you start networking." Next week, we uncover the hidden job
market and try to help students network effectively.
, 2001, 2007. All Rights
for Newest Versions