When I worked on general daily newspapers a couple of years ago I remember trying to convince the powers that be we needed Internet access. The response I used to receive usually went something along the lines of: "What’s the Internet?" I would patiently hold my breath while I explained what it was (not an easy thing to do I grant you) for the umpteenth time (that day). We need it for email, I’d moan. "What’s email?" Some of these people — all brilliant journalists — were still coming to grips with the fax machine. While the Web isn’t good for everything — for some tasks (particularly searching through data), it’s just a brilliant medium. A couple of columns back I asked for feedback on one great use of the Web — online job searches. My proposition was that this is the way of the future when it comes to advertising specific jobs. From your responses, it seems you feel the same way, although there are some reservations, which tend to relate to online jobs being relatively new in New Zealand. One respondent says he’s looking for work and has done a lot of his initial job hunting using the Web. "I have searched both in IT fields and regular jobs, and have found the experience quite enlightening. In my experience, IT jobs are clearly easier to find on the Web and I guess given the nature of the beast, that’s no surprise." He says non-IT jobs seemed to only to be advertised in small numbers and raises another good point — that searching for work anywhere out of Auckland is "damn near impossible". He was initially seeking work in Auckland, but due to personal circumstances is now wanting work in or around Hamilton. "I’ve found the only reliable way to do that is to get the Waikato Times delivered to my door." The respondent also noted that networking is still one of the best means of job-hunting. (So if you know of anything going in Hamilton for someone with Web design/journalism/Internet /data entry skills, let me know and I’ll pass on your message to this guy.) Another respondent actually got his job via the Web. He says he was actively using the Web to look for jobs in New Zealand, Australia and the US. "It was an invaluable resource. I could search at my leisure and without the pressures and sales pitch from a consultant." He’s used a number of New Zealand job sites and individual recruitment agency sites. But there’s always a "but": "My only comment was that I found it quite frustrating to apply for New Zealand jobs advertised on the Web as current, which were in fact many months old and no longer available." This isn’t good enough. I had the same problem when using the Web while house-hunting. I would say 80% to 90% of the houses on one site were off the market. The other major frustration that this respondent had when responding to an advertised position, quoting the job reference number (even noting in the email that he was only interested in that position), he found his details were put in the database and he was inundated with "all manner of unwanted job propositions". "I think the New Zealand sites have some catching up to do with their Australian and US counterparts. Otherwise, the Web is my preferred source of jobs and I hope to continue to use it in future." He says he likes features like Job Universe’s (Computerworld publisher IDG’s job Web site) auto-email of matching job criteria. "It keeps me up with the play without actively having to surf every couple of days myself." Another respondent says he got his job in the US through the Internet, but also has a caution. "It is a real door opener, but one has still to go through all the traditional obstacles in getting the job offer." Mills is Computerworld’s careers editor and can be contacted at email@example.com or ph: 03-467-2869 or fax: 0-3-467 2875.
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