I'm often asked to list my favorite sites for job seekers, and it's always a challenge. First, there's so much happening on the Internet that it's difficult to say that any one site or even a small number of sites is truly unique. Second, new sites launch all of the time, and old sites (if they're any good) are continuously morphing with new features and services. As a result, the list of my online favorites today may be very different from my list tomorrow or the day after.
Those caveats notwithstanding, there are several sites that I think illustrate some of the best of what the Web can offer to job seekers and those striving to secure and advance their careers. Each offers something special-rich information, savvy insight, a dose of humor, genuine wisdom, helpful camaraderie; collectively, they are a marvel of human ingenuity, knowledge and inspiration. That's why I call them The 7 Employment Wonders of the Web. In no particular order, they are:
Wonder #1: Nail the Interview. This online "game" created and hosted by the Dayton Daily News is part entertainment, part education and part competition. You get to select the character you want to represent you in the game and the skin and hair color of your character. (Here's my only complaint about the game; it assumes you have hair, and some of us don't. Admittedly, that's a small flaw, but ... well, it's personal.) Anyway, after you select and customize your character, the game leads you through a series of situations that teach you the best practices for writing a resume, preparing for an interview, and nailing it when it occurs. Depending on how well you do with your answers to questions along the way, you earn a game score which is the salary you would be offered by the employer in the interview. Salary scores are saved so that you can challenge your friends and colleagues to see who does best and who should do some homework before they start looking for their next job.
Wonder #2: Dave's Blog is written by Dave Opton, the founder of ExecuNet, a career management and recruiting network for executives and those who recruit them. Dave is an extremely well read guy, so you'll find references to all kinds of books, blogs and other resources in his postings, but what's best about his commentary is his own insights. Dave actually knows what he's talking about. He's been a thought leader in the HR field for many years and a successful entrepreneur for almost two decades. His company focuses on career advancement for senior managers and executives, so his musings tend to focus on their issues and challenges, but even first-time job seekers will learn a thing or two from what he has to say. This is citizen journalism at its best.
Wonder #3: Landed.fm is a "career empowerment" radio station on the Web. Its host, Peter Clayton, conducts interviews with an array of fascinating people that you can listen to either by visiting the station on its Web-site or by downloading whatever interests you to your iPod. I'm a fan of Landed.fm because it offers such an eclectic mix of thinkers and doers, movers and shakers, insiders and outsiders. For example, Peter's most recent interviews have involved Erin Grunwell, a teacher and the author of The Freedom Writer's Diary-How a Teacher and 150 Students Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them; Rick Myers, the CEO of TalentZoo.com, a job board that specializes in the advertising and public relations industries; and Patrick Tedjamulia, the founder of the International Mentoring Network Organization which is conducting the much heralded Get in Their Shoes Campaign for disadvantaged youth and aspiring leaders.
Wonder #4: The Discussions at CareerJournal.com are the perfect antidote for the loneliness of job search. These online commentaries connect you with witty, experienced and generally wise people who are willing to share their insights and knowledge with others. You'll find discussions on The Best and Worst Jobs, The Job Market, The Search and other topics, but the area I like best is simply called Readers Respond. Although it is intended as a place where you can share your thoughts about the articles and columns appearing on the site, it is far and away the most popular of the discussions because people are so achingly honest in their posts. Recently, for example, there were comments about age discrimination in the job market, writing an appealing resume when you've been laid off five times, and trying to hold down a job while going through a divorce. I don't know of any better slice of the real world or source of helpful comments from one's peers for dealing with it.
Wonder #5: Student Stuff at Texas Instruments' Web-site is a great example of what employers are doing to help students make smart job and career choices. (Why they aren't offering the same assistance to the rest of us is beyond me.) The area provides a range of information and features, but two stand out for their originality and helpfulness: the Fit Check and Engineer Your Career. Fit Check is an interactive assessment instrument with two important benefits: it will help you pin down the organizational environment in which you will feel most comfortable (and, therefore, able to succeed) and it will tell you if you are likely to fit into the culture at Texas Instruments. That's getting straight to the heart of the matter. Engineer Your Career is a comprehensive career planning guide that will help you lay out your employment objectives and position yourself for success. While it includes a lot of information about Texas Instruments, the process will provide personal insights and understanding that will serve you well wherever you are employed.
Wonder #6: JobHuntersBible.com is the home of Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute (now in its 34th edition) and still one of the savviest writers in the career field. It's hard to know where to begin on Dick's site as he offers so much information and advice. It's all organized into six sections: Take (an interactive test to learn something about yourself), Discover (the five uses of the Internet for job seekers and career changers), Create (and post your own resume), Search (for contacts), Find Out (about places, fields, companies and salaries), Look (at job openings) and Learn (how to navigate the Internet). Dick is a straight-shooter; there's no sugar coating of his views and opinions about what works and what doesn't in today's job market. And, that's what I like best about his site-you get wisdom with candor, and to my way of thinking, that's a very special gift.
Wonder #7: The International Association of Employment Web Sites is the trade organization for job boards and career portals. Why should you care? Because there are over 40,000 of these sites now in operation, and the Association's logo gives you a "Good Housekeeping seal" with which to identify those that adhere to the highest ethical and business standrads. In addition, the Association's Web-site offers an array of tips for selecting the best job boards for you, given your skills and employment objectives, and for taking best advantage of the features and services offered at those sites. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm involved with the Association, but even if I weren't, I'd recommend it. It will help you be a better consumer of job search and career self-management resources on the Web and, in the process, get the services and support you deserve.
The wondrous thing about the Web is that there are almost certainly more than just seven wonders online. Nevertheless, the sites I've listed are among the very best for job search and career self-management, and I'd recommend that you visit them.
Thanks for reading,
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Corzen, a market research and consulting firm, recently tracked the number of jobs posted online by employers in 90 U.S. markets. The top companies with jobs to fill were:
Site Insite ... how well do you know the Web's 40,000+ job boards?
1. You're an organizational development specialist with experience in upgrading corporate productivity. Which of the following sites would help rationalize your process for finding a new employment opportunity?