The Internet has changed a lot about our world in the last ten years─including how we look for jobs. The basics may be the same: the old finding an opening and applying for it, but the internet has completely revolutionized the employment process. With more than 9% unemployed, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people are going to be using every single tool at their disposal to find their next employment opportunity.
Networking has been the traditional way to find a job, but over the last ten years this has changed to social networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These sites are now the second-most effective tool in your job-hunting arsenal, according to job placement firms. Searching for jobs at trade fairs or by looking through newspaper classifieds has long been replaced by the internet. It’s not about the old school anymore, today’s job seekers have to be on the web to find a job.
Social networking sites have exploded with popularity, people look to connect with old friends, loved ones and business partners alike, so there is always opportunity to meet someone with a job offer online. Facebook has over 500 million users worldwide, Twitter’s traffic has increased exponentially in the last year and LinkedIn, despite not being as robust as the other social media options, is perhaps the most useful of any social networking site when it comes to actual job hunting. LinkedIn’s traffic has nearly doubled in the past year, thanks to its usefulness as an employer posting site and networking capabilities. You all know how I feel about LinkedIn.
Employment posting sites have been popular over the last decade as well. There are a lot of options out there for these sites and many are household names. Job posters look for these sites because they know prospective employees are going to frequent them in hopes of finding something. These sites experienced great growth early in the decade but social media sites and other factors have contributed to a loss of traffic.
One of the factors in the decline of job posting sites has been the boom of Craigslist. Craigslist is a privately held company that specializes in free internet postings. It’s basically like an online classified section for the internet, users can post jobs or even garage sales. Much of Craigslist’s earnings come from job postings, Craigslist’s success has meant tough times for the newspaper industry. Total revenue from classified listings for newspapers has fallen by as much as 42.5% in 2008 to just $2.2 billion, which makes it the worst drop in the history of the industry.
The internet is definitely where people look for jobs, but the ease at which prospective employees can send out resumes has made it tough for HR managers. They have to sift through a huge pile of resumes to find the right candidate and with jobs scarce at the moment, it can be hard to get through the clutter. People who rely on one method for their job search will find it much more difficult to find employment than others.
My brother-in-law just bought a car for my nephew off of Craigslist. I know NOTHING about Craigslist. The little I do know had negative connotations attached to it, so I decided to do some research to find out more.
While opinions differ, many believe that Craigslist can be a good place to look for jobs, as long as the job seeker takes the appropriate precautions.
Craigslist can be thought of as the biggest electronic classified site in the world. Designed to be easily searchable and typically free, it is the perfect place to advertise everything from lost pets to open positions. The simple search functions which allow users to browse local listings through clearly marked categories, makes finding a job or other service or item easy. Understanding how to make Craigslist work for a job seeker is another matter entirely.
First, realize that in most cases, potential employers can place ads for free. While there are some options that require a payment (ranging between $25.00 and $75.00), most options are free of charge. This means almost every company can advertise on Craigslist without breaking their budget. While this can be positive, it can also lead to potential scams. Understanding that not every post is legitimate and learning how to recognize a scam helps job seekers stays safe. The best way to protect yourself is to regularly review their posted information regarding scams and fraudulent advertisements and by using caution when posting a resume.
It is equally important to protect your identity. Never post full contact information. Instead, rely on a simple cell phone number or an email address. This way, job seekers can carefully evaluate open positions and offers without risking identity theft.
Next, users must understand how Craigslist works. It can be somewhat daunting to narrow down the massive database to jobs that are appealing, appropriate and located in the correct geographical area. Craigslist utilizes lists and drop down menu’s to help users drill down to the information they are looking for. By spending the time to review options and select appropriate choices, it is possible to find job postings that will work.
Craigslist can be an excellent resource for job seekers. It can be especially helpful for those looking for employment in smaller companies. Understanding not only how Craigslist works but also how to protect your identity and information is all that is needed in order to be successful with this service. Be smart about it, research and know the service before you use it.
A word of warning: when using Craigslist, or any service, if the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Proceed with caution.