GigaOm

How the Web Has Changed Job Searching


The Internet has changed a lot of things over the past decade or two—including how we search for jobs. Sure, the basics are the same: Find an opening and apply for it. But the Web has permanently altered the employment process. And with more than 1.2 million info tech jobs lost this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a lot of people are going to be using every tool they can get to find their next job.

While networking is (and has traditionally been) the best way to find a new job, the second-most effective tool is another type of networking: sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, according to a poll released Aug. 17 by placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Old-school employment search tricks like attending job fairs and reading newspaper classifieds got the lowest ratings. Here's how the Web is changing how we look for jobs.

Social networking sites are exploding in popularity, as people look to connect with pretty much everyone they know, from friends to co-workers to potential employers. Facebook claims it has more than 250 million users; Twitter's traffic has grown tenfold in the past year; and LinkedIn—while not as flashy as its social networking brethren—is perhaps the most useful of the bunch for job hunting because of its employment- and recommendation-focused profiles. It's seen its total visitors double since last year.

Fun with Fund-Raising Employment-focused Web sites have been popular with VCs as well as job seekers. Job search engine Simply Hired recently raised $4.6 million in a fourth round of funding, and Glassdoor, an anonymous employer and salary review site, raised a $6.5 million Series B round last fall.

At the same time, it's estimated that privately held Craigslist will generate more than $100 million in revenue this year, a 24% jump over the 2008 estimate, with much of that revenue coming from job listings. Meanwhile, for America's newspapers, total revenue from job listings, a former cash cow for the industry, dropped 42.5% in 2008, to $2.2 billion, the worst drop in history, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

Other job search sites, like Monster.com and CareerBuilder, which charge significantly more than Craigslist to list jobs, are also seeing huge increases in traffic, with 33% more visits overall, according to ComScore. Yahoo has reportedly been looking for a buyer for its HotJobs site, and given the growth of the sector, will probably make a pretty penny as newly installed Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz looks to shed "noncore" assets.

The Internet is definitely making a huge impact on how we search for jobs, but as the Challenger survey notes, the ease of sending out shotgun blasts of résumés and hoping one hits the right recruiter is making things much more difficult for employers as well. "[F]or every qualified candidate who comes in from the Internet, there are 10 to 20 who do not even come close to being a good fit," said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Those who rely on one tool [for their job search]…will take longer to find a position. The problem with the ease and accessibility of the Internet is that many job seekers make it their primary job search tool."

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