Students seeking employment are catching jobs in the Net

by Amy Becker

Students have always marshaled newspaper ads, job fairs and university career centers in the hunt for a job. But increasingly, students are adding the Internet to their employment-search arsenal.
“The Internet is efficient, and it is available to students anytime, 24 hours a day. Companies are realizing that many students use it,” said Tami Petersen, a career counselor at the Office for Special Learning Opportunities.
More and more companies are posting job information on the World Wide Web. A 1996 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that 65 percent of surveyed employers used the Internet to post jobs, said Petersen. But as more students start to explore careers via the Web, experts urge that the new medium cannot replace personal networking.
Students can find job postings at various websites, like America’s Job Bank, Jobtrak or JobCafe.
Many sites such as these are free, but some charge a fee for their services. Petersen said she strongly encourages students to use the free sites. “Generally, a free service is company-paid,” she said.
Some sites, like the JobCafe, offer students a resume-entry system. Students post their credentials, and future employers can then access the submitted resumes.
“Your resume is never sent to a general distributing desk, to someone who is not hiring or shoved into a file drawer,” advertises the JobCafe website.
But posting resumes online creates security issues, said Petersen. “You have to ask how many people are going to see that information about you,” she said.
Todd Schenk, a senior in the Institute of Technology, said he would e-mail an Internet job bank before submitting his resume. He said he’d also check with the service to ensure that his resume would remain confidential.
It’s a good idea to e-mail an Internet career service before utilizing it, Petersen said. Students should ask about resume confidentiality, success rates and which companies work with the site.
Kevin J. Nutter, program director of the Career Development Center, emphasizes that students can use the Internet to not only search for jobs, but also to research their job options.
“The Web is a resource for information, and good job hunting requires information about options,” Nutter said.
This means not just looking at job banks, but also looking at company-specific sites and professional association sites.
“I looked for the websites of the companies I planned to interview with … to get an idea of what their goals are and what services I could provide,” Schenk said.
He also said much of the information he found on the Internet was vague and that it was difficult to find specific information about specific jobs.
Nutter stressed that the Internet is only one tool for students to use while job hunting. Petersen shared this opinion.
“The Internet is not a be-all and end-all,” she says. “One of a student’s strongest skills is still networking — getting out there and talking to people.”