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Overview of the Internet Job Search

The internet is an international network linking thousands of computer networks across the globe. It provides access to vast resources from the desk with little or no expense to the user. The internet can be a valuable tool in the job search process. It can be utilized as a method of networking or as a means of identifying and researching potential employers. However, the internet is by no means the sole solution to ones employment prospects. Used right it is an effective tool. Used incorrectly, it is simply the equivalent of newspaper's help wanted section.

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Pros and Cons of the Net Job Search


  1. National/International Scope- the user can find information on employment opportunities worldwide.
  2. Jobs- Job seekers want to respond to specific vacancies and thousands are available on the net. However, the fact remains that more jobs will be obtained by the hard work of networking rather than by applying for specific positions.
  3. Research- the internet enables one to research specific organizations as well as follow trends in the field/industry.
  4. Networking- the existence of newsgroups and email addresses allows for communication opportunities that are unparalleled.
  5. Therapy- newsgroups are not only good for networking, but also for support in the job search process.
  6. Resources- both the homepages and the people on the internet are resources for approaches, ideas, and information related to the job search process.


  1. Disorganized/Decentralized- people want to look in one place and find everything they need. This will not happen on the net. New sites come online daily and the searcher needs to keep checking all their bases.
  2. National/International Scope- this means for someone with geographic limitations specific positions in a specific location may be hard to find.
  3. Job Databases are Not Career Specific- while some databases are career specific, they are not comprehensive and a job seeker must search both types of databanks.
  4. It Takes Time to Learn- search strategies take time and a certain amount of creativity to fully take advantage of the available resources.

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Applying for Net Jobs

The fastest way to apply for internet jobs is by emailing your cover letter and resume. You still need that great resume and fantastic cover letter, but they will be handled a little differently.

  1. Have a resume prepared and stored in plaintext, also called ASCII or DOS text. No word-processed or Postscript files! Follow Preparing your resume for the Internet guidelines.
  2. Send a cover letter and resume in one file. Be sure to note where you found the ad!
  3. Use the job title and/or job reference number as the Subject of your message. Be sure to cite any relevant job numbers as noted in the ad. If you are cold calling, use a few descriptive words to define the type of job for which you are looking.
  4. If you have found several good job listings at a particular site, consider registering your resume there. Once you have done this, you can usually send a message to apply for an advertised position within the database of listings.
  5. WARNING: Some positions advertise on-line but do not accept resumes via electronic mail! Sometimes they will only take fax and snail mail applications, or they might want the email sent to a different address. Read the instructions and follow them!

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Preparing Your Resume for the Internet

This is not difficult. Most word processors and resume writing programs will let you save a file to plaintext, also called ASCII or DOS text.

  1. Create your resume with the formatting and display style recommended by the people helping you or the guides you are reading.
    • Check it for spelling and grammar, and read it over carefully to be sure you find any mistakes the computer didn't.
  2. Print a copy of the resume and then make a copy of the computer file.
    • Name it resume.txt, and tell the program to save this to plain text.
  3. Using any text editor, even your word processor, edit the resume.txt file to resemble your printed resume.
    • Notepad in Windows is one example of a text editor. Redo the spacing using the space bar, and add some unique characters to highlight your skills, etc., just like you did before. Remember that you may need to alter the margins a bit for the email. Figure no more than 70 characters across the screen. (Yes, you may have to sit there and count each letter and space to 70). Save this copy as text!
  4. Save both copies of the files on a back-up disc

Keep that resume ready to edit, print, or email on demand. Once you have redone your resume in the text format, mail it to yourself or a friend to see how it looks after being mailed.

A quick note on Highlights...

  • You cannot use bolds, underlines, or bullets in a plain text document, so consider the following characters for substitutes:
    • bullets--use asterisks (*) or plus signs (+) at the beginning of lines.
    • lines--use a series of dashes to separate sections. Don't try to underline text.
    • bold text--consider capital letters or use asterisks to surround the text.
  • Don't try to highlight text within your resume, but highlight the headers or titles of each section.

There are several places on the Internet where you can examine other text resumes to see what other job seekers have done to present their information.

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Points to Consider in Posting Your Resume

For some people, posting a resume has been a great way to get work. For others, there is the fear that someone will get their home address and telephone number or they don't want some people or organizations looking at their resume. Control and confidentiality might be a concern to you, so here are some things to think about:

  1. Do you want your resume public?
    • Once you have posted it, consider it a public document and out of your control. Anyone can look in the public databases and see what is there. Even the closed resume databanks do not let you dictate who can and cannot look at your resume. Instead of putting your home address on the resume, list just a telephone number and email address if you have one. Many employers and recruiters still prefer to contact you by telephone, so if you don't include a phone number, you may be overlooked.
  2. Check the confidentiality of the database or service where you are placing your resume.
    • Who can get access to this database? How is that access granted? Will you be notified if your resume is forwarded to an employer? Is it possible your boss will see your resume? If the answers to these questions make you the least bit uncomfortable, consider another service or consider not posting.
  3. Once your resume is listed, can it be updated at no cost?
    • Some internet services will let you post your resume at no cost, but they will charge you for updates. You don't want an old resume out there, and you don't want to pay for updates. You want an unlimited number of updates, even if it is only to correct a typo or to word something a little better. Skip any service that limits or charges for updates.
  4. Will your resume be deleted from the databank if you don't update it?
    • You don't want an old resume out there, and if you find employment, you don't necessarily want to be getting calls from other employers. A good database will delete your resume after 3-6 months if it is not updated.

Riley, Margaret. The Riley Guide.

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Company Research Literature

One of the most important activities in a job search is finding out about the company you want to work for. Knowing facts about companies before you interview will help you answer questions about why you want to work for them and what you have to offer them if you are hired. It will also give you some information and insight into the organizational structure and future plans of the company so you can assess its potential in terms of your future growth and development.

Most information about companies is readily available at libraries through various directories and resource materials. However, if you have difficulty locating materials, do not hesitate to check with the local area Chamber of Commerce (Office of Business and Industry) or call the company directly and request materials.

Many of the resources used to find background information on companies may also be useful in identifying potential employers. Be resourceful and do your homework. Your future may depend upon it!

Almanac of International Jobs and Careers: Provides addresses, telephone numbers, and information on services provided by federal employers, international organizations, associations, businesses, consulting firms, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities, and embassies.

American Almanac of Jobs and Salaries: Provides general salary information on American employees. Indexed by occupation, industry and geographic location.

Business Employee Directory of Huntingdon County: Alphabetical and by category indexed directory of employers which are members of the Huntingdon County Office of Business and Industry. Includes contact and product information.

Central PA Business Directory: Lists public, private, non-profit, subsidiary and other company profiles for companies in Central PA.

Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries.

Directory of Educational, Health & Social Services for Children with Disabilities (Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin Counties): Provides information on nearly 300 service organizations within the four county area. Contact information, services/programs available etc. provided alphabetically and by county.

Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the United States: Names and addresses of 4,800 foreign owned, U.S. companies engaged in manufacturing, mining and petroleum.

Good Works: Provides contact information and profiles of companies doing work in areas related to social change.

Hoover's Handbook of World Business: Lists and rates the largest companies worldwide by industry type and profiles 300 companies. Includes an overview, short history, amount of sales, names, places, products, and key competitors.

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Tips for a Successful Job Search

  • Work hard at finding a job
  • Be patient and persevere
  • Be honest with yourself and others
  • Develop a positive attitude toward yourself
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic
  • Set goals
  • Plan & get organized
  • Ask questions and listen
  • Be polite and courteous
  • Maintain a professional stance
  • Demonstrate your intelligence and competence
  • Do not appear to be desperate
  • Learn how to write an effective resume and cover letter
  • Develop good interview and telephone skills
  • Line up good references
  • Learn to accept rejections and job offers
  • Don't get discouraged
  • Use all resources available to you
  • Tell everyone you know that you are seeking employment
  • Let employers know what you can do for them

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Characteristics Desired by Employers

  • Always Important:
    • Dependability
    • Honesty and integrity
    • Ability to get things done
    • Desire to accept responsibility
    • Intelligence
  • Usually Important:
    • Common sense
    • Problem solving skills
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Mental stability
    • Maturity
    • Self confidence/poise
    • Decision making abilities
    • Ambition
    • Flexibility/adaptability to change
    • Creative thinking skills
    • Motivational abilities
    • Leadership skills
    • Neatness of appearance
    • Diplomacy/tactfulness
    • Speaking abilities
    • Perseverance
    • Staying power and stability with an organization
    • Possession of self-pride
    • An excellent example for others
    • Writing skills
    • Innovative ideas
    • Time management skills
    • Competitive ability
    • Mathematical skills
    • Health
    • Team management skills
    • Ability to "go along" with an organization's way of doing things
    • Computer literacy
  • Important, Depending on the Job:
    • Tactical and strategic planning skills
    • Willingness to relocate
    • Entrepreneurial spirit
    • Physical fitness
    • Ability to delegate to others
    • Willingness to continue education
    • Interests in current events
    • Candidate's prior knowledge of an organization
    • Budgeting abilities
    • Financial planning skills
    • Ability to work in close quarters
    • Attitudes toward family
    • Youthfulness and energy level
  • Selectively Important:
    • Foreign language competencies
    • Overseas travel interests
    • Computer skills

Sheetz, L.P. (1990). Recruiting trends 1990-91. East Lansing, MI: Collegiate Employment

Research Institute, Michigan State University.

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