Tips on Using the Web During Your Job Search

Online job sites shouldn’t be the only tools used during the job search process.

As the economic downturn decreased the number of positions, many job candidates turned to the Internet as their solution to unemployment. The large number of online job sites can have some advantages, but the Web eliminates in-person interviews, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an outplacement agency.

“The number of job search engines has grown in recent years from a handful of major players, such as and, to hundreds of sites, offering everything from industry-specific and localized job search engines to dating service-like compatibility matching between job-seekers and employers,” says John A. Challenger, chief executive officer.

“However, access to thousands of job search sites on the Internet is not necessarily a good thing. The choices can be overwhelming for those who find themselves either voluntarily or involuntarily in the labor pool. One could easily spend all day, every day surfing the Net for job vacancies, emailing resumes and waiting for the phone to ring. Unfortunately, this approach will rarely lead to a new job.”

For many unemployed workers, the Internet is the first place to start looking for available positions. The Web is a useful device, but should be considered second to the traditional method of meeting face to face with potential employers.

“Those who make the Internet their primary job search tool are likely prolonging the time it takes to find a position,” says Challenger. “Overuse of the Internet also threatens to prolong the hiring process on the employer’s end, as well, by inundating employers with irrelevant resumes.”

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. offers tips in using the Internet as a beneficial guide during the job search:

* Obtain names of key people. Visit the company websites in order to find the names, phone numbers or emails of those executives in charge of hiring. Message the hiring persons instead of a general email, which will most likely go to human resources.

* Stay up-to-date with the company’s news. View the employer website to see if the company is expanding or if new positions will be needed.

* Go to websites for trade associations. View an overall picture of hiring needs and trends among members.

* Email contacts indicating job need. Message all your friends and family; let them know you are looking for a job and provide a little background on the type of position and your qualifications.

* Use social sites to communicate unemployment. Inform your network of friends on Facebook. Increase your professional network by joining sites such as LinkedIn.

“Job-seekers must learn how to use the Internet as the tool it can be, rather than just relying on it as a conduit for electronic resumes,” adds Challenger.