SO, HAVE YOU applied for a job online yet? If you work in IT the answer to that question is increasingly likely to be "yes". It’s amazing how fast things change. Even though it only seems like yesterday, when I first started looking for a job the above question wouldn’t even have made sense. "What’s online?" I would have asked. Back in those days (hey, we’re only talking the late 80s here), you used the same medium (print) that had been used for many, many years. Or you went walking the streets (no, not that kind of walking … although I guess it would depend on the type of work you were looking for) door-knocking. Online recruitment is the modern equivalent of pounding the pavement and scanning the newspaper ads. Judging from the anecdotal evidence I’m hearing, chances are you have probably used the Web to help you in your job hunt. Recruitment agency Wilson White director Doug White told me recently that he estimates about 80% of the CVs the agency receives come in as a result of applicants surfing through sites on the Web (such as jobuniverse.co.nz — Computerworld publisher IDG’s online jobs site — or nzjobs.co.nz). "The whole process has changed dramatically recently," he says. IT people are very adept at using online methods for searching for jobs, he says. The Web is a great medium for searching for a job, with its ability to do fast database look-ups. Not only can you search sites specifying the type of job you want, the skills you have and the location you want to be in, most job sites now have job alerts to ensure you can be notified of a job that suits you. So you can outline your perfect job and you’ll only hear from the job alert when such a position comes up. White muses that we could see a reduction in classified advertisements for IT jobs in the traditional print media. I agree with him, but I don’t believe it will see the end of print ads altogether — it’s just that they will be used to brand agencies and companies, rather than to highlight specific jobs. The man who helped set up IDG’s online jobs site, Frank Quinn, thinks so, too. (Quinn is the publisher of Scope Communications which publishes three IT publications in Ireland as a licensee of IDG and is contracted to run WebUniverse which has been set up as an IDG subsidiary.) Quinn said on a visit to New Zealand earlier this year that print media advertising could become important in getting across the employer-of-choice message: "We are the company that you want to work for". But I digress. Back to my point — the use of online job sites is growing from all sides (prospective employees, agencies and employers). A new report in Australia (from an APT Strategies’ survey) claims that 23% of Australian Internet users will in the next six months "probably or definitely" apply for a job online. According to the American Management Association in New York, 59% of companies post jobs electronically, three times as many as two years ago. This year the Lampen Group’s annual salary survey showed that of the Wellington organisations surveyed which had Web sites, 20% had jobs advertised on them and another 25% were considering advertising in the future. Just over 21% had advertised jobs on specialist job sites. About 80% of the organisations which advertised were happy with the results — whether advertising on their own site or a specialist site. In Auckland and Christchurch the uptake wasn’t so high, with only 8% and 7%, respectively advertising jobs on their site and 16% and 22% respectively, considering it in future. Whether general jobs will end up following the IT jobs trend is difficult to say. Everyone knows you need a critical mass when it comes to online job ads, which is why IT is so well-suited to it — the people you want to target are obviously in touch with the medium. So have you used the Web to search for jobs either in New Zealand or overseas? What was your experience? How does it compare to more traditional methods and which would you prefer? Drop me a line and let me know how you got on. Mills is Computerworld’s careers editor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or ph: 03-467-2869 or fax: 0-3-467 2875.