It happened the other day. I almost couldn’t believe it. There it was, sitting in my e-mail inbox, an opening for my dream job.
Giddy with excitement, I clicked on the link to the job announcement and, to my dismay, read the minimum qualification requirements. Despite 10 years of professional experience directly related to the job, I needed two years of graduate education to qualify. I’m finishing my first year. Bummer. Of course, this is exactly why, like many of you, I am going back to school to get my master’s degree. But it got me thinking, what job openings exist in my field today? How has the job search changed since I found my first professional position a decade ago in the newspaper classifieds?
Hitting the Web to Find Work
It feels almost archaic, flipping to the classifieds section of a newspaper, fingers smearing with ink, red pen in hand to circle potential job openings. I hear it all the time in the journalism school at CSU – the newspaper industry is struggling mightily, thanks in part to the loss of classified advertising. As a former (and now seasonal) writer and editor for the Jackson Hole News & Guide and Daily, the current state of affairs for newspapers saddens me. Here I am, though, typing up a blog post, not print copy, and searching the Web for jobs, rather than looking through the classifieds section of my local newspaper.
If I had to label my field of interest, I would call it environmental communications, so what do I get when I type “environmental communications jobs Colorado” into a Google search? About 19.4 million results (sigh). Fortunately, thanks to fantastic search technology, several of the initial results are helpful. EcoEmploy, the Environmental Career Center, and the Warner College of Natural Resources right here at CSU, with a list of job sites in my field and a PDF with online job search tips, are all useful resources.
OK. That was pretty easy. I’ve found a few sites with good jobs and haven’t even tried the mainstream websites yet, such as Monster and CareerBuilder. And my colleague and co-worker Zac McFarlane gave me the tip on Andrew Hudson’s Job List. I’m feeling pretty good about my prospects, even if my dream job is currently out of reach.
Not Old, Just Old School
When it comes to new technology, I tend to be a “late adopter,” as defined by Everett M. Rogers in his diffusion of innovations theory. I’m usually one of the last of my friends to get the latest and greatest new technology. Despite my reluctance to buy a smartphone and upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010, I consider myself to be tech-savvy, yet find the amount of information at our fingertips to be overwhelming at times.
As non-traditional students, many of you may feel the same way, but the Internet offers a wealth of job opportunities, so you need to check the Web when looking for work if you want to remain competitive. More and more job seekers are turning to the Internet to find work, according to a 2008 report, and this trend will only continue.
If you need some help getting started with your online job search, check out Irene McDermott’s article New Improved Internet Job Search. A librarian at the San Marino Public Library in California, McDermott puts her search skills to use for you, providing links to job websites, information on careers and job outlooks, advice for job searchers, and information on social media. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, it may be a good idea, depending on your field. The website is like Facebook for business professionals and serves as a great social networking tool.
The Internet Age
Do you have a favorite website for job postings in your field? If so, post a comment below and let us know where you go online to look for work. For more advice, talk to your advisor, a career liaison in your department, staff at the CSU Career Center, or a career specialist.
In her 2005 article, Finding a Job in the Internet Age, sociologist Christine Fountain notes:
“The proliferation of thousands of internet sites containing millions of job postings and resumes, not to mention online classified advertisements and job postings on corporate Web sites, indicates that perhaps the internet is a new social space through which job information can flow.”
It appears she’s right. But after you’ve scoured the Internet for job postings, take a moment to check out the classifieds section of your local paper. You never know where you’ll stumble across your dream job.