Web-Based Research and Job Search

The Web is full of all the information you could ever need to know about your chosen career. Chances are that your dream job is out there somewhere — if only you could find it.

In doing research on the Web, the best place to start is with what you know. It doesn't matter whether you start off in the exact right place. The Web is a job seeker's paradise because it is so easy to follow any trail in whatever direction you choose. Here's an example. We'll let our Web Designer friend Chris Smith take a quick look around the Internet to see what's happening in the working world.

  • Chris is just beginning a job search, so he starts at his favorite all-purpose search engine (we'll say that's www.google.com).

  • Chris types in his chosen job title, “Web Designer,” in the search field and narrows the search just a little by adding “employment.”

  • The Google search engine returns nearly 2 million Web sites that are related somehow to the phrase “Web Designer employment.” Some of these sites belong to other Web designers looking for employment. Chris ignores these for now, although later they might be a good way of networking with others in his field. He wants actual job postings. He doesn't have to look very hard to find them. The second link on the page lists a job board specializing in Web designer and other graphic-oriented opportunities. These are sometimes known as niche job boards.

  • In the next five minutes, Chris finds the following information, just by clicking links that look promising:

    • Dozens of job postings for Web designers, containing plenty of keywords.

    • Several big job boards or niche sites specific to graphics and Web professionals. These contain not only job postings for Web designers, they give Chris an idea of what companies are hiring, what industries in his part of the country are seeking Web designers, and what qualifications employers currently expect.

    • Salary information. Some job postings include a salary range. But these are not often reliable, so Chris clicks around a little and finds salary statistics on an employment-related government Web site, as well as on salary sites.

    • Sites of individual companies with pages devoted to current openings, all with contact people listed.

    • Online forums and blogs maintained by people just like himself, experienced Web designers of all kinds. Their discussions cover topics ranging from “Freelance Survival” to “Making It Big in the Corporate World.”

These are the results of a real Web search, using these keywords, conducted during a quick coffee break. As you can imagine, the real key to getting useful information from the Web is knowing when to stop. Five minutes can easily yield more information than anyone could use in a week; one page links quickly to another. The Web is a huge, chaotic haystack of information. But as long as you don't worry yourself about hunting for one in particular, you'll find more needles there than you can possibly use.

Vistas for a Web-Based Job Search

Here are a few avenues for beginning your online job search:

  • Check with your local librarian to see whether your state or geographic region sponsors a job bank or whether individual listings can be found online.

  • Check the Web sites of companies in your chosen field or marketplace.

  • Use a Web search engine to visit the three current major job boards: www.hotjobs.com, www.monster.com, and www.careerbuilder.com.

Your local newspaper may also list its help wanted ads online. Online listings are usually much easier to search than the printed version. Also, ads often include a link to the company's Web site, where other suitable postings may be found.

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