Finding a Job on the Internet: Hype vs. Reality
Are you looking for a new job or consulting assignment? Will
you be looking in the near future? No problem. Just post your
résumé on the Internet, sit back, and wait for the offers to
come pouring in.
That’s the hype, anyway. The reality is quite different. In
September 2003, the big job board, monster.com, contained more
than 25 million résumés—but only 800,000-plus job listings.
That’s a ratio of about 30 to 1. Competition for jobs is stiff,
even on the Internet.
But that doesn’t mean you should forget about doing an online
job search. You could be putting your career at risk if you
did, because, according to a 2002 iLogos Research study, 70
percent of Fortune 500 companies listed jobs on at least one of
three major Internet job boards.
So what can you do to improve your chances of getting a job
online? Here are some tips to get you started.
Use the right résumé format.
Before you post your résumé on a job board, read the
instructions. Most boards require a plain text (also called
ASCII) version of your résumé that contains only the characters
found on a standard keyboard—nothing fancy like centering or
bold text. If you paste your word-processed résumé onto one of
these boards, the formatting will be lost or, even worse,
translated into meaningless characters. An ASCII résumé, on the
other hand, will retain its formatting and
Include keywords in your résumé.
The résumé you post online must include keywords. These are
just the buzz words that describe the skills and experience
that are important in your industry and profession, like
accounts payable and
cash flow analysis.
Employers and recruiters use keywords to search for résumés,
and yours won’t be found unless it contains them.
Update your résumé posting.
When you post your résumé on a job board, make it a practice to
update it every week or two. You don’t have to make any changes
to the content; you just have to go through the update process
to have your résumé stamped with the current date. All
else being equal, the résumés with the most recent dates will
show up at the top of employers’ search results—and that’s
where you want your résumé to be.
Post your résumé on niche boards.
Although it’s important to post your résumé on a few of the big
boards, don’t leave it at that. According to a CareerXroads
survey, 21.2 percent of Internet hires in 2002 came from other
job sites, including niche job boards. To find a specialty
board that’s right for you, go to the websites of associations
that represent your industry or profession.
Apply at corporate websites.
The largest number of Internet hires in the CareerXroads
survey, 58.9 percent, came from corporate websites. To take
advantage of this fact, come up with a list of companies you
might like to work for and find them on the Web. Then submit
your résumé directly to every company that has an application
form on its site. Most will want your ASCII résumé but read the
instructions to make sure.
Network using a Web résumé.
Last but not least, try combining Internet tools with more
traditional job search techniques. One powerful combination is
to use a Web résumé (a résumé displayed as a website) with the
networking method. Include the address of your Web résumé on a
business card and give it to prospective employers and other
contacts you meet. If you spark their interest during your
conversation, they will be sure to look for your résumé