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Your Best Job Search Tool May Be Your Computer

Have you ever been frustrated at the lack of job possibilities advertised in the classified section of your local newspaper? Large papers may offer more choices, but you will still be limited by the number of openings listed at any one time, not to mention geographical limitations. Even at its best, this approach just won't cut it anymore. Searching through the classifieds may have been good enough at one time, but today that's about as progressive as pounding out a resume on a manual typewriter. With an impressive array of Internet resources just a few mouse clicks away, your computer is the ticket to that next great job. As any human resources officer can tell you, the use of the PC as a job search tool has become the norm in the last few years. This includes creative use of e-mail and the Internet, as well as the taking advantage of the capability of any computer for use in producing resumes, letters and other job-related materials.

The Cyber Job Solution For many employers and job hunters, the Internet has become the common denominator. It connects people from both ends of the hiring equation with ease. Employers can post job openings with the knowledge that they will be available to large numbers of job applicants. At the same time, job seekers can easily explore possibilities for all kinds of jobs offered by companies, government agencies, non-profits and other employers. They can also submit resumes and applications electronically.

A major advantage of this approach is that it breaks down geographical barriers. Instead of being restricted to job openings listed in your community or the region covered by local media, your search can include any number of cites or states, or the entire country, for that matter. You can also pursue career interests in other countries, if that sounds appealing. Another plus is that the use of online communication is less intrusive than traditional methods. If you're already employed, you can spend time during nights and weekends perusing sites maintained by employers or job search companies, posting resumes and more, all without conflicting with your current job. If you don't have a position, you can work to maintain an electronic presence that far surpasses the scope of other job hunting techniques. Even if you're tied to a specific location and are only interested in local employment, you'd find plenty of information available online. Many newspapers now include Web-based versions, as do state and local employment offices. You can also visit Websites of area employers for job-related information. In fact, regardless of location, one of simplest approaches is simply to peruse websites of possible employers to look for postings and related information.

In looking such a site, you will probably see a heading "jobs" or "position openings." Click here. you will see a list of current jobs openings along with the qualifications for each one, the application deadline and other relevant details. For a first-class example, a look at the home cage for State Farm Insurance (www.statefarm.com). It shows a heading of "About State Farm." Clicking here will bring choices that include "careers," and then "careers home page." This section provides a wealth of information on current job openings, State Farm recruiting events across the United States and Canada, benefits, and more. In addition to searching current openings (which are listed at HotJobs.

com), you can go to an "opportunities" page that describes the various jobs for which applicants might be sought, including position descriptions and a geographical breakdown of jobs available around North America as well as those located at the company's headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois. You can even find info on how to prepare the ideal resume for scanning and submitting to the company's database. Not all companies offer such well-developed Websites, but most large organizations provide updated information about job openings. The practice has become so common, in fact, that many small businesses and non-profits also offer some type of job information. In addition to finding information directly related to jobs, you can conduct Internet-based research about potential employers. Obviously the more you know about a prospective employer the better, from determining the kinds of job openings to boning up on the organization's background so you can individualize cover letters or resumes. The employer's Website can often be a great source of such information. If you browse the main page for any but the smallest business or non-profit organization you will find links to items such as news releases, annual reports, earnings reports, executive bios and contact info for company personnel. You can also obtain corporate profiles from third party business information services such as Hoover's (www.hoovers.

com). And don't overlook sites that provide salary information such as nextSource's People Ticker (www.peopleticker. com), those maintained by professional associations and the Bureau of Labor Statistics site at www.bls.gov. Career Site Solutions Perhaps the ultimate in Web-based career information is available at a number of comprehensive sites designed specifically to serve job seekers, employers or both. For example, Monster.com (www.


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