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The Internet: Friend or Foe?

I posted my resume on the Internet six months ago and haven’t heard a thing.” “I don’t want to use the Internet because I get calls from marketers and people who are trying to sell me something.” “My search is confidential, I don’t want the new company owners to know that I am looking for a new direction in my career.”

Although everyone agrees that the Internet is a boon to the job search process, there are still too many job hunters whose expectations are unrealistic; many who may not be using it to its fullest potential; and, those who haven’t mastered all the techniques that open up a wealth of information for effective research. Instead of using the Internet just for posting your resume, use it as the powerful tool that it is. You can turn your lagging and passive search into proactive networking experience leading to a successful marketing campaign.

Experts in the career search industry all agree that the Internet is not used enough for research, the number one way to get a job. “Skimpy research is often the reason job hunters get stuck. And the Internet is an incredibly handy tool for getting unstuck.” (Getting the Most Out of the Internet, Research Pointers from Wendy Alfus Rothman, Five O’Clock Club, New York) Focused online research can produce the most sophisticated information available about industries, companies who are expanding and hiring, as well as the background information about people you need to contact. This is as true for career changers transferring functional skills from one industry to another as it is for seasoned veterans of a specific industry who must show they are keeping up with the latest trends. The research information is bound to impress the people you meet at networking events, in the letters you send to increase your network, and in discussions at informational meetings.

Major Internet servers such as AOL’s and Yahoo’s homepages usually have a career link as well as a business and finance section. , your local homepage information resource has more that 7,000 links for you to explore. Links lead you to subcategories about specific companies, specific professions, industry trends, and product information. Business research links that have a wealth of information include , a well-known business information site that includes up to date corporate and financial information on more than 50,000 public and private companies. Wall Street, Executive Library at  provides comprehensive content areas including newspapers, privacy resources, top downloads, the invisible web, business publications, corporate website search links, quick reference tools, government guides, federal forms, business toolkits, encyclopedias, grammar and usage tips, and libraries. Check out D & B Small Business Solutions, , for supplier searches, business prospects and industry locators using the Standard Industry Classifications (SIC). For additional resources, don’t overlook CEO Express at , Thomas Register of American Manufacturers or the Encyclopedia of Associations. These research tools have data on corporate information, contact information, company home pages, financial information, public opinion, press releases, professional and trade associations, conferences and seminars, industry information, government and legal requirements from experts and international resources.

One caveat though, career coaches and outplacement specialists all agree that you must limit your Internet research to a specific amount of time each day that includes a well defined goal of information you need aligned to your marketing campaign plan. Otherwise, they say, there is a danger that you will fall into the Internet trap--one that links you into all kinds of information that you don’t need, but is fun to know. Spending all your time on the Internet could also lull you into the false belief that you are doing all you can to find a job. Instead of waiting for replies to Resume Posting resources where you are competing with thousands of job seekers for jobs that may no longer exist, you will be taking positive steps that will be the driving force to a successful search.

As you conduct research, you will likely come upon links to home pages where you may submit your resume to job postings. You will also come upon the well-known and popular resume posting links. Use them cautiously because you may be sacrificing your confidentiality. Some resume posting companies are using the personal information found on resumes to sell to marketing companies, and a few often find a way to use your personal information for fraudulent reasons. It has become acceptable limit confidential personal information. Create an email address just for the job search to avoid unwanted spam and solicitors. Create different email addresses on a regular basis. John Lucht in his Rites of Passage bestseller suggests that you submit your resume in the body of emails to company targets making it easier for them to include the resume in their database. Lucht writes, “This method may limit special effects such as bold headlines and italicized information, but if keywords are included, this solution is right on the mark.”

Internet research information replaces the ineffective reliance on “can you find a job for me?” plea to friends and colleagues. Using information allows you to be the driving force in your own search and that, in turn, gives you control over your own future. What better place to be?

Key Word Tips
When researching on a well know search engine using the right KEYWORD should be lead to specific information within a subject area. It is recommended that you select keyword(s) that “narrow” your search to the specific topic. An example would be to use a word like “accountant” rather than “finance” when looking specifically for information about accounting positions. Although you may retrieve information regarding accounting positions using the keyword “finance”, you will be able to limit the amount of information that is relevant to your search. Another useful bit of information includes the use of Booleans, the “and/or”, with your keywords. Mastering this technique enables you to be as specific with your query as needed and “focus” in on the desired information. Key words are the main ideas or concepts that will lead to information. e.g., Accounting Firms and Southeast Florida are key words joined to provide specific information about accounting companies in the area in which you live. Of course, accountants are hired in more than accounting firms, but that it a good place to start to obtain information about the accounting industry. (Business Research, Quick Study Guides BarChart, Inc)



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