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Monday, 10 July, 2000, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Just the (online) job
Professional high-flyers are twice as likely to hunt out a new job on the internet as the rest of us, according to a new survey. What do they know, that we don't?
Job hunters were once readily identifiable. Inky fingered from scouring the classifieds, tongues gummed up from copious stamp-licking, and often left panting from their dash to make the final post.
The internet is threatening to take the pain out of finding a new job. Sixteen per cent of those in the smart AB demographic group already try to fulfill their career ambitions online.
However, those of us who are not investment bankers or corporate bigwigs needn't fear being left out in the cyberian cold, says Imogen Daniels, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
One in five of the companies surveyed by the institute said they would advertise skilled manual jobs on the net, up from one in 10 last year.
"The Internet is now in the mainstream for people looking for jobs and for employers advertising them. Although 42% of those jobs are managerial, there has been an increase in online vacancies across the board."
The government has even opened a virtual job centre, with vacancies from experienced ceiling fixer to chief engineer on a fishing trawler all up for grabs.
With so many career goodies on offer, where do you start?
If you already know which company you want to work for, the route to a job could be as easy as just going to their website.
Many firms now carry a list of employment opportunities on their site. Some even allow hopefuls to apply direct via e-mail.
Resigned to change
For those more keen to fish around, plenty of brash dot.com start-ups are inciting malcontents to draft their resignation.
The market is also now attracting the attention of the old recruitment agencies hoping to add "clicks" to their "mortar", says Net magazine's Robert Jeffrey.
"The traditional players have realised they have to be part of this, otherwise they risk losing business."
The entry of firms such as Reed, who commissioned the latest survey on internet recruitment, may please those suspicious of the reliability of jobs offers on the net.
Although Mr Jeffrey doubts online recruiters still pack their pages with out of date ads, he does preach caution.
"It's like every medium, if you chose a very big and reputable service you'll get the results you want."
World wide jobs
If the results you desire involve a complete change of environment, the internet comes into its own as a shop window for international vacancies.
Monster boasts some 400,000 global jobs, based anywhere from Buenos Aires to Bangkok.
Of course, even if you find your dream job as an e-business architect in Phoenix, there's no guarantee you're going to get it.
The internet can lend a hand here too. Lots of sites offer advice on CVs or, if you're lazy, have examples you can simply copy.
Top Jobs goes a step further. Its psychometric test gives you the chance to look deep inside yourself and ask what job you are really suited for.
However, the "unscientific" answers tend to make you look like Mother Teresa or Wall Street's Gordon Gekko.
If you're still at a loss, check out the sassy America site Flipdog. It's currently offering jobs for poker dealers and guide dog breeding technicians.
Those willing to undergo an obligatory lie detector test may even stand a chance of swiping the counter-intelligence analyst post in Idaho.
Before you enter this shady world, it may be worth checking up on your prospective employer. Imogen Daniels says the internet is perfect for doing just that.
"You can pick up quite a lot of clues and signals about a company from the web. Internet applications also often allow you to get direct access to managers, rather than just the human resources department."
Despite these opportunities, Ms Daniels does sound a note of caution.
"Employers do need to accept that not everyone has access to the internet. They still need to have paper ads or they risk discriminating against certain groups and reducing the pool of talent from which they recruit."
Many job hunters remain concerned about online applications, fearing their CVs will disappear into the electronic ether.
"That's not a massive problem anymore," says Mr Jeffrey.
"Anyway, your CV can just as easily go astray in the post."
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