Why should you use the Internet as a job search tool by mrsnoble


									          MonsterTRAK.ca Career Guide

                       USING THE WEB IN YOUR JOB SEARCH

The World Wide Web as a Job Search Tool

       Expect the World Wide Web to play an increasingly important role in the job search
process in years to come. You can research occupations and find out about industry growth
and decline. You can reach deeper into your local area as well as take your job search far
beyond your geographical boundaries. Although the amount of information on the WWW
can be overwhelming, executing an effective Web job search can be very straightforward.
There are many career resources available on the Web to guide you through the entire

General Search Tips

        Instead of providing many Web site addresses (URLs) that might change before you
read this, you will, for the most part, be provided with search tips on how to find helpful
sites. The term "search engine" is often used generically to describe both true search engines
and directories, although they are not the same. In any case, when used correctly, these tools
are extremely useful in pointing you to sites of interest. Different search engines work in
different ways, so for best results, stay with one or two main search engines and get to know
how to use them well.

        You may decide to start with Yahoo, which is a subject-based directory and is
searchable. Make your search topic as descriptive as possible, for instance, type in "jobs in
social work" (If you put quotation marks around your search terms, you'll get search results
that only contain that exact phrasing. If you leave off the quotation marks, you'll get results
that contain any of the words that you typed.). If you don't find what you're looking for in
Yahoo, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Alta Vista link. This will
automatically conduct the same search in Alta Vista. This might save you some time
throughout your searches. For more information on search engines, such as web searching
tips, search engine listings, ratings and reviews, see www.searchenginewatch.com

Researching Career Fields and Industries

        You don’t want to waste time sifting through jobs that you don’t want or jobs for
which you’re not qualified. Online career exploration tools are available at many job search
sites. You can explore career and industry information, job profiles from people currently
employed in your field, and company information.

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Career and Industry Information
       The Human Resources and Development Canada website Job Futures
(www.jobfutures.ca) describes what workers do on the job, working conditions, the training
and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of occupations.
You can search by occupation or by industry. This site can also provide you with information
such as the employment outlook, wages, and the education required for occupations.

Profile Information
        The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers, CACEE, website has
industry profiles, offering informative articles on employment in a number of different fields.

Employer Information
        Many sites will allow you to search companies by industry or, if you are interested in
a particular company, you can search alphabetically. WetFeet.com and Vault.com will give
you information on a company, including an overview, financial statistics, and contact
information, though unfortunately the vast majority of the organisations listed are in the
United States. To find other sites to provide you with employer information, use the
keywords "employer profiles" in any search engine.


    In today's high tech resume processing environment, it is important for all candidates to
have their resumes in an electronic format that can be submitted via the Internet. Chances
are, you will submit (or post) your resume in one of three ways:

   1. You will submit your resume via electronic mail (e-mail)
   2. You will post your resume via an electronic form (e-form)
   3. You will post a Web resume

   There are different resume formats you can use depending on how you're applying:

ASCII Text Resume
        An ASCII text resume is simply a text resume without any fancy formatting options,
such as certain fonts and symbols, which might be available on a word-processor. ASCII
plain text format is popular when sending your resume via e-mail because it is the most
portable. It’s supported by nearly every application on every machine; PC’s, Macintoshes,
UNIX Workstations, and mainframe terminals recognize these plain text files.

How to Create an ASCII Resume
       Text editors like Microsoft’s Notepad or Apple Macintosh’s SimpleText are common
programs that create plain text files. If you already have a resume created on a word-
processor, such as MS Word, you can turn it into a text resume by simply editing its format.
Open your resume in your word-processing program and save it as a “text only” file (or

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          MonsterTRAK.ca Career Guide

better yet, “text only with line breaks,” if available). Then open this file in Notepad or in
another text editor and format it using ASCII characters (any character on your keyboard).
You’ll notice that a bullet is not an ASCII character (it might appear as a question mark).
Replace any bullets with asterisks or plus signs. For additional information on formatting an
ASCII resume, go to any search engine and search using the keywords "ascii resume" or
"electronic resume."

How to Send Your Resume Via E-mail
        The most consistent standard for sending your resume via e-mail is to embed your
text resume into the body of the message. It is useful to save your text resume and a brief
general cover letter that you can edit depending on the job. When applying via e-mail, copy
and paste the text of the resume into the body of an e-mail message. Insert you cover letter
above the resume in the e-mail message. It's good practice to send a copy of this e-mail
message to yourself and to a friend who is using a different e-mail program, before
transferring the text file to a recruiter for the first time. The most common mistake people
make is assuming that the recipient of the resume has the same line length that is set in your
text editor. Make sure text is limited to about 65 characters per line. This will avoid having
lines wrap with just one or two words on every other line.

        Use the advertised job title as the subject of your e-mail message, citing any relevant
job numbers as noted in the ad. This makes it easy to route your resume to the appropriate

Sending Your Resume as an Attachment
        If employers request that you send a resume as an e-mail attachment, they will
probably specify which formats are acceptable. For instance, they might request that you
attach an MS Word resume or an ASCII text resume. Many job-seekers are accustomed to
creating their resumes in a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect,
which provide the fancy formatting options that plain ASCII text cannot offer. If an employer
specifies that you can attach a word-processed resume, simply attach the file to your e-mail.
If the employer does not specify how to send a resume, there are some issues involved in
sending attachments that require consideration.

        Some companies have their mail servers set up so that attachments don't travel
through firewalls. They become encoded files (10 pages of garble). Chances are, the person
who has received your message will not know how to decode it, and it will be deleted.
Viruses are a concern to employers who receive attached resumes because a macro virus can
infect other documents on the employer's computer. Macro viruses can infect both PC and
Macintosh files. Even if you are sure your document is not infected, opening an e-mail
attachment is a risk that some employers won't take. For these reasons, you may want to
embed you text resume into the body of the e-mail and also attach a resume.

Posting Resumes Via Electronic Forms
       A resume posted on the Web is stored into a database where thousands of employers
and recruiters can retrieve it and view your qualifications. If an employer is interested, she

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          MonsterTRAK.ca Career Guide

will contact you directly. Some sites allow you to post a resume via e-form by inputting text
into specified fields manually and then submitting the information. Once submitted, it is
posted on that site for employers to search. In addition to posting, some sites will also allow
you to send this posted resume to any job posting on the site.

       Other sites allow you to post your existing text resume to their site by copying and
pasting it into an online form, which is then submitted into their resume database. In this case
you might have to register with the site.

         Whichever way you post you resume, base your selection of Web-based resume
databases on criteria such as overall reputation, how much it costs (most are free), and ability
to update and delete your resume at will. Also note how long your resume will be stored on
the site before it is automatically deleted.

        Many companies now have a full-time employee (or many of them) whose job is to
search the Internet for good job candidates. Increasing numbers of employers view the Web
as a vital source of new employees.

Posting a Web Resume
       The Web resume is a form of electronic resume that gives you flexibility with regard
to graphics and overall presentation format. Web page authoring tools can be found on the
popular Web browsers. For example, FrontPage Express comes with Microsoft's Internet
Explorer browser, and Composer comes with the Netscape Communicator browser.

        Unlike Web-based resume databases that attract the attention of employers and
recruiters by promoting their large databases, job seekers using Web resumes must attract the
attention of employers and recruiters on their own. Sometimes recruiters will go to a search
engine and type in keywords. You can add all your keywords in the <head> tag so your
resume is found without having to overdo keywords within the resume or include a
KEYWORD section. Use what are known as META tags. These enable you to put a brief
description in your resume that will only show up to search engines and will not be visible in
the actual resume.

       Again, the key to posting your HTML resume online is to make certain that it will be
found. Perhaps the quickest way to publicize your page is through The PostMaster
submission service, located at: www.netcreations.com/postmaster. After you register,
PostMaster will distribute the information to some of the top search engines, including
Yahoo, Alta Vista, and Webcrawler. Choose their free demos, which will submit your site to
two dozen search engines.

    Since web resumes can be more than one page, you can display work samples and have
links to other pages. Here are some guidelines:
     Use restraint with multimedia, like downloadable sound samples, video or big
     Link to former employers' sites.

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      Include an online portfolio.
      Make sure your "mailto:" link works with your e-mail address.
      If any of your site is inappropriate for viewing by potential employers, be sure you
       can't get to it via your resume.
      Publicize your web resume via your print résumé.
      Keep text as concise as you would in print.

Keyword Resume
       For any resume that will be searched by employers in a resume database, you will
want to use keywords and phrases. This includes resumes that you post on Job Listing Sites
and resumes that are sent to an employer who is using its own database.

        Searching a database for resumes is similar to searching a directory or using a search
engine. You enter keywords or phrases and a list of links is automatically generated. The
more keywords found in your resume, the stronger it's weighted, meaning the closer it will be
to the top of the search results. When applying for an advertised position, the keywords are
the "wants" in the position description. You should include job titles, departments, key
functions, computer hardware and software, programming languages, academic degrees,
fields of study, foreign languages, all relevant to the target job. Use jargon and acronyms
specific to your industry (spell out the acronyms for human readers). Your focus should be
on nouns. While computers do not search for action verbs, still include them for the human

         In addition, it's a good idea to add a “Keywords” section that identifies skills and
other qualifications that you couldn't easily fit into the readable text. This way, your resume
still reads nicely and gets maximum hits. Also, you can easily change the words in this
section depending on the qualifications of the individual jobs you apply for. Use synonyms
or variations of words in your descriptions in the Keyword section. Describe your
interpersonal traits and attitude. Keywords could include skilled in time management,
dependable, high energy, leadership, and sense of responsibility.

Scannable Resume
         Today, applicant-tracking systems can take resumes submitted via e-mail and
automatically transfer them directly into a database without scanning. But there are many
companies that still print and scan resumes they receive, or require applicants to send a
scannable resume via mail. A scannable resume is a paper resume that will be scanned onto a
computer database using Optical Character Recognition software. A major limitation of
scanning is data lost due to the quality of text, formatting, and condition of the paper on
which a resume arrives. Several factors can cause the scanner or Optical Character
Recognition software to confuse similar characters. For instance, computer scanner software
programs must be able to distinguish between the capital letter "I" (as in Invite), the letter "l"
(as in letter), and the number "1". You must observe certain rules to ensure that you are
producing text that the OCR can easily recognize. To find resources available on the Web, go
to a search engine and search with the keywords "scannable resume."

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          MonsterTRAK.ca Career Guide

Additional Points to Remember

       The key is to be prepared for anything the employer requests. Some employers might
request that you send a resume created in a word-processor as an attachment. In this case,
you might want to attach a resume and send your text resume embedded within the body of
the e-mail. Make a note in your e-mail what program and version you used to create your
attached resume, and that you embedded your text resume for easy viewing.

       If the employer doesn't specify which resume to forward, use your best judgement. If
you are applying for a position with an elementary school in Souris, PEI, you'll probably
want to mail your traditional resume and cover letter. If you were applying for an IT job in
Toronto, you would want to use some form of an electronic resume. Make your decision
depending on the industry and the size of the company. You may want to inquire with the
company directly to find out which resume to send.

        Posting your resume puts it within reach of "spidering" software that searches
innumerable sites for certain credentials that recruiters are seeking. Be aware, once your
resume is posted, there's no telling who will read it, when they will read it, or where it will
end up.

       Many sites offer different levels of confidentiality from which you can choose. You
might choose to post your resume without your contact information available to the viewer.
Employers will search your “blinded” resume on that site, and if interested, can contact you
through that site. You would do this if you were concerned that your current employer could
see your resume and take actions against you.

Online Job Search

      There is no doubt that the Internet has caused a fundamental change in the
employment process, as well as the skills required to wage a successful job search.

        As mentioned earlier, you should have a clear idea of what type of jobs you want and
are qualified to work. Before you begin, make a list of keywords that you can use in your job
search criteria. Identify general occupations; not just job titles. When you begin looking
through job descriptions, note the skills and kinds of experience employers are seeking and
use these words in your search.

       General Job Listing sites can be used to uncover all types of jobs. MonsterTrak.ca is a
good site for undergrads or grad students seeking their first job or internship. The site allows
companies to target student resumes from specific universities or academic programs. In
addition, employers can submit job postings to any of the nearly 1,000 partner schools. You
must obtain your school’s password before searching. MonsterTrak.ca, like most sites, will
allow you to search by job type and region.

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        In addition to searching posted jobs, general job sites usually offer additional features
to those who register. You will have to check on each site to find which features are offered.

    Some sites might offer all or some of the following features to registered job seekers:
     You can post your resume on the site for employers to search
     You can build multiple resumes and cover letters that you send directly to the
       employer from the job description that you're interested in
     Each resume posted can have its own level of confidentiality
     You can create "search agents" that will e-mail you when a job is posted that meets
       your parameters
     Online application tracking may be offered which will record which posted resume
       you send to each employer

    Canadiancareers.com has general job search information as well as links to many other
Job Listings Sites. To get a listing of many general, though largely American, Job Listing
Sites check out the Riley Guide (www.rileyguide.com), and follow the link to Job Lead
Sources & Resume Databases.

     Specialty Job Listing sites provide more targeted information and content regarding
specific job categories. These sites often provide better results for job seekers in specific
fields – disciplines such as engineering, health care, teaching, accounting, human resources,
etc. Many of these sites are small in comparison to some of the large posting sites, but they
can contain information and links that are valuable additions to your search campaign. Sites
that relate to your field should be located, examined, and incorporated in your search

    To find specialty job sites, search on occupations, disciplines, industries, and on skills.
For example, from a search engine, type "jobs in finance" or "counselling jobs."

     Job Listings by region are available if location is the most important factor in your job
search. Although most job sites allow you to search by region, you may want to take a
different approach.

     Online classifieds are useful because they post a huge variety of jobs in one place, and
many positions are filled from responses to these ads. To find online classified ads from
many Canadian newspapers, go to www.careerclick.com. Here you can narrow down your
search by category, province and city. You can also use a search engine to find regional job
listings. Type in "jobs in Halifax" or "jobs in Calgary."

    You can also research salary and relocation information for specific locations.

Job Listings by Company
       You can also use online resources to do research on employers. In many cases you
can send your résumé directly to those with job postings that appeal to you. Most companies
these days have a web site that includes a link to current employment opportunities. Finding

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          MonsterTRAK.ca Career Guide

the company on the web is very easy. If you are trying to find a company’s Web site, go to a
search engine and type in the company name.

       FlipDog.com delivers job listings, all direct from the source – employer Web sites.
Some of these are postings you won't see on any other job site – jobs from big and small
companies, public and private organizations or anywhere at all. FlipDog.com uses
technology that crawls the Web and links to job openings found on employer Web sites.

Additional Information

        Consider subscribing to a UseNet newsgroup or one of the many listservs related to
the field you're interested in. A newsgroup or listserv is a group of people who maintain an
ongoing discussion through e-mail about something in common. When you write to the
group address, your message goes to everyone in the group. When they write back, the reply
also goes to everyone in the group. This is a good way to pick up valuable insider
information or make indirect contacts. Also, recruiters read and participate in discussions on
bulletin boards and newsgroups. Many keep up with developments in hopes that they can
sign employees with skills that are in demand.

        As an example, if your field is international marketing, do a search for international
marketing on a directory of newsgroups and mailing lists, www.eScribe.com and
www.liszt.com. These sites detail mailing lists and newsgroups that hold discussions about
an industry or profession. Another way to find a group or list is with Yahoo, which has every
employment or professional classification, plus jobs and careers associated with it. The
Canadiancareers.com website has a page linking to numerous Professional Associations and
Societies (www.canadiancareers.com/sector.html). Being in touch with your field’s
Association is a good way to keep informed of the latest trends and developments, and it can
help to facilitate the networking process.

         Although most netiquette is common sense, it requires some mention. Proper
netiquette frowns on such practices as insulting others, writing intense messages in capital
letters (the online equivalent of shouting), and using e-mails to complain about others.
Remember that e-mails and message board posts can float around the Web and be retrieved
for years to come.

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          MonsterTRAK.ca Career Guide

Executing Your Search Program

       Plan your online job search strategy to cover a limited number of sites in a variety of
categories – large job banks, location-specific resources, industry-specific resources, and
occupation/discipline-specific resources. Those that do not produce good results on a regular
basis within a week or two of your first visit should be dropped and replaced with other sites.

       Even if your strategy is sound and your technique thorough, the Web won't do the
work by itself. By using the Web adeptly, you can make you work go much further and
dramatically increasing your chances for success.

                                                     Pamela Piliero
                                                     Computer Services Administrator
                                                     Department of Career Services
                                                     The University of Tennessee

                                                     Revised and Edited for Canada by

                                                     Dan Piedra
                                                     Employment Advisor/ Employer Liaison
                                                     Sheridan College Career Centre
                                                     Brampton, Ontario

                                            2001

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