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By Bonnie Fadel

Planning a career move? The Internet is a useful tool that will enhance your job search. It is a fast-growing area for employment information and communication. It is a dynamic environment--here's how you can integrate the Internet into your job search.

Of the many benefits available, the most important is that the Internet is a network. Most employment professionals recommend that you network with people who can help you in a job search. You can communicate with anyone who is on the Internet and ask questions of any of the discussion groups or other organizations. You also have access to information, including job listings, that are not available anywhere else.

Speed is another benefit. Computers provide exceptional speed in searching for information, and provide access to far-away places which otherwise may be unrealistic to reach. E-mail provides almost instantaneous communication, and eliminates time wasted on mail or telephone tag. It is always open, so you can work on your job search after business hours. It cuts down on gatekeepers, such as secretaries, by allowing you to send a message directly to your targeted recipient. Also, electronic communication for your job search shows potential employers that you have up-to-date computer skills.

There are many different ways to use the Internet during your search. Effective searches include more than one. You can quickly explore the Internet and decide what will best suit your goals.

First, use the Internet to network with groups that have similar interests or can provide needed information. There are many different Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists available; you should be able to match your areas of interest. They can advise on your job search, notify you of job openings, and even provide industry salary and benefit information. Second, explore the job listings that appear in different locations on the Internet. These listings may not be available elsewhere, because some employers now rely primarily on the Internet to communicate their needs. Some online job listings are by discipline, industry, or geographic location; some include only government or nonprofit organizations. Even the government employment agencies now have their job database on the Internet. Often you can link up to dial-up bulletin boards that also list job openings.

Several resource discovery tools, which includes both search engines and indexers, are available that can be used to locate specific terms throughout the Internet. These will quickly retrieve classified job ads for you. A good one to start with is Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com) on the World Wide Web. You can search by looking for specific terms such as "employment" or "auditing." Yahoo! will locate all entries that match your specifications. Once you review these entries, you can decide if you should narrow or broaden the search by changing the search terms.

Some major newspapers are also included on the Internet. If reading the want-ads is part of your job search strategy, you can check to see if the ads that you found in print are also found when you run an electronic search. This will help you evaluate the effectiveness of the specific terms you selected. For example, accounting jobs may be listed under "controller" or "financial analyst." No single tool can get all of the information that is available; you should learn to use more than one.

Online recruiting services contain job listings and other employment information. Two popular ones are Online Career Center and Help Wanted USA. Online job hunt guides are available which link to many employment resources. Some also include information on how to use the online recruiting services, such as Employment Opportunities and Job Resources on the Internet. When you are applying for a job advertised on the Internet, be sure to follow directions precisely. Have a resume prepared ahead, and send it along with a cover letter in one file.

There are several online resume databases on the Internet. You provide an electronic resume that is posted to the database, and employers then search the database for a match to their job specifications. Two free sites are the Online Career Center and World Wide Job Seekers. Remember, once you have posted information, it is publicly available. If confidentiality is an issue, consider including just a phone number and e-mail address, rather than a home address.

There is a vast amount of information on the Internet that is available at your fingertips. You can research industries and companies and communicate with professional organizations. This is also useful once you have located a job opportunity and need more information for a cover letter or interview. If you have targeted specific organizations for employment, periodically review their home pages. These will provide information that will help you approach the company and often list job openings.

There are numerous online guides, resources lists, and virtual libraries available for your use. Networking with employment newsgroups will help keep your knowledge current. Because the Internet is constantly changing, you should consult a current book on Internet job searching. Some valuable publications to use are The Guide to Internet Job Searching by the Public Library Association, 1996, and The On-Line Job Search Companion by James C. Gonyea, 1995. Both include Internet addresses to several of the services mentioned above, along with tips on how to use them. Using the Internet in Your Job Search by Fred E. Jandt and Mary B. Nemnich, 1995, also provides a discussion on writing an electronic resume.

Using the Internet does not guarantee a successful job search. It is a strategy that quickly provides a great deal of information to add to your search and help you achieve your career goals. *

Bonnie Fadel, CPA, is a consultant with a background in corporate financial planning as well as public accounting.

Michael Goldstein, CPA
The CPA Journal

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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