Use the Web to Get Info on Preferred Companies

Despite all the promise of Internet job hunting, a tiny proportion of jobs are filled online. Forrester Research found that even at the peak of the tech boom, only 4% of job hunters found employment through online boards. (Help-wanted ads scored a 23% success rate that same year.) “Job boards are a research tool, not a matchmaking service,” says Margaret Riley Dikel of the Riley Guide (www.rileyguide.com), one of the Internet’s longest-running listings of online employment resources. “Boards are best used to survey who’s hiring in what fields. Otherwise, they should be pretty far down on a job seeker’s to-do list.”

One smart tactic is to use the Web to collect information on the handful of companies that you want to work for. As in all things Web related, the more targeted the search, the better the yield. Start at your preferred company’s home page, or run an advanced Google search on links to the company’s site. For example, Dikel ran a quick search of pages linking to Pixar, the producer of computer-animated hit movies. In less than a minute, she discovered two pages that point the way toward connecting with Pixar insiders: One page was a list of former students from Florida State University’s computer-science department who are now working at Pixar; the other was an announcement that a Pixar executive would be speaking at an upcoming 3-D film festival. Ultimately, a personal contact at the company that you want to work for is more powerful than all of the CareerBuilders and Monsters combined.

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