SURFING FOR WORKON THE WORLD WIDE WEB
by Janet Hawkins
Gliding across the electronic waves of the World Wide Web is
exhilarating. No two rides are the same. There are good links and there are
duds. And veteran surfers will tell you, if you’re not careful you can end
up somewhere far off your original course.
As more and more people dive into the web, new and exciting applications
emerge. Two that are gaining in popularity are career planning and job
There’s a lot to chose from
The web is an endless source of job and career information. With the
simple click of a mouse, you can easily find up-to-date occupational data;
tips on preparing for a new career; educational and training opportunities;
and employment facts, including articles on work environments and
appropriate job behavior. You also have access to personal inventories that
can help you pinpoint your interests, needs and working styles.
Web surfers need to be cautious, however, since they can get a lot of
misleading information from the Internet if they’re not careful.
Many self professed experts create home pages that appear to be helpful,
but may actually give false or biased information.
Tried and True Job Sites
The editors of HotBot/HotWired recommend the following Internet sites for
job and career planning.
If you’re thinking of changing careers, investigating salaries in your
chosen field or wondering how green the grass is elsewhere, begin your quest
here. CareerAdviser’s links and profiles cover all walks of professional
life, and the links to job and resume banks are especially useful.
The CareerBuilder Network
As with most career sites, posting a resume or searching the nationwide
listings won’t cost you a dime – and while the database isn’t the biggest
around, the search tools are among the best.
CareerMosaic boasts one of the web’s largest job databases, with 70,000
listings nationwide. Posting a resume or searching the listings is free
(though the absence of job categories makes browsing more difficult).
However, users will have to subscribe to search the resumes and post a job.
Lycos Job Bank
Lycos Classifieds has joined forces with three other powerhouse job sites – The Monster Board, the Online Career Center and Career Path.com. You’ll find search tools that provide fast access to job opportunities worldwide and abundant resources for job seekers and employers alike.
Some have described The Monster Board as the 900-pound gorilla of career sites. It boasts over 163,000 job listings, plus a resume database. As with most career sites, it’s free for job seekers, but employers or recruiters must pay for the service.
Virtual Job Fair
Like its traditional counterpart, the Virtual Job Fair connects companies with candidates instead of listing particular jobs. There are thousands of jobs listed here, from hundreds of companies, large and small. The search tools are keyword-based and very general, but the results – listing both companies and jobs – are effective. It’s important to learn to evaluate what you find on the web very carefully.
Where to begin?
Novices as well as experienced surfers will get the most from a web job search if they have a good introduction first. One way to get it is to talk with a career counselor. That’s what Kevin Dittrich did.
Kevin is an experienced web browser. He’s created his own web page with links to sites that interest him. He found job information easily on the web, but still faced the question: which job would be right for him. That’s where career planning came in.
Start with your interests and skills
Growing up, Kevin wanted to be a police officer. His cousin, a law enforcement veteran, had shared with
him his love of public service. To Kevin, solving and
preventing crimes seemed like a great career.
Over time, however, the job didn’t hold the same
excitement for him. In high school, he had developed a real interest in
chemistry. Was there something that would combine the elements of police
work that he liked with the interests and skills that were emerging from
his studies? A session with his college career counselor helped him find
Go from general to specific
Career counselors will suggest that job seekers who are
unsure of their career interests begin with a board or general category
search. Examples include careers in health care, science and technology.
From there, job titles, regional demographics, employers and job
postings can be found.
Medicine was a good place to begin for Kevin. A click on
Yahoo’s medicine subcategory brought up a list of universities. A search
of several university sites produced an interesting field of study:
forensic medicine. Kevin and his career counselor were zeroing in.
Five things to consider when searching the net for a job
When you’re surfing the web for job or career information, consider the following:
• Use self-assessment tests found on the web with caution. Many are incomplete and not thorough enough to provide a good appraisal of an individual’s aptitudes and interests.
• Realize that downloading information from the web is not a substitute for exploring your options with a professional career counselor.
• Study how occupational data is compiled and synthesized. Pay particular attention to those sites sponsored by private businesses, which maybe selective in the statistics they present.
• Don’t give up if the key word searches come up with too many items. Try to narrow the subject area. For example, instead of using the key word "jobs," try "jobs in manufacturing," or better yet "jobs in manufacturing in the San Francisco Bay area."
• Be cautious of the information you gather from the web. There is a lot of false and misleading data out there.
The list of options that followed covered a number of
career possibilities, from toxicology and medical science to clinical
pathology. What caught Kevin’s eye was forensic pathology.
Verify info with visits to other sites
Career counselors make it a rule to look at many
different sources when helping clients with career searches. One good
resource is the
Occupational Outlook Handbook.
The Handbook, and its companion, the Occupational Outlook Quarterly,
provide a summary of job titles, educational requirements and salary
averages compiled by the federal government.
The salary information was particularly valuable, since
it was one of the important factors Kevin would use to consider forensic
pathology as a career.
Copies of the Occupational Outlook Handbook and Quarterly are
available in most college libraries. Volumes of data can also be viewed
at its site on the World Wide Web; go to
employment projections and an industry occupational matrix, as well as
employment, training and earnings data.
Individuals with a clear idea of the kind of job they’re looking for
may go to one of the many job posting sites available on the web (see
the accompanying story, "Tried and True Job Sites").
The web can’t replace the real thing
A stop at a business, professional organization or reference site on
the web can’t take the place of an in-person visit. Kevin Dittrich
will be the first to tell you that.
After identifying forensic pathology as a career interest, Kevin got
in touch with a professional pathologist with the help of a friend.
After a quick drive to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, he was pretty
sure he was on the right track.
During a school holiday, he visited his cousin, now a chief of police
in Tennessee. While there, he took advantage of another opportunity: He
sat in on an autopsy. "I had focused all of my education and career
interest on police work," Kevin said. "When I decided I didn’t want to
do that, I had to start from scratch."
With the help and guidance of his counselor, Kevin now feels he has
"a good understanding" of what he wants to do: "The visits I made to
morgues and the autopsies I watched enhanced my interest in being a
Whether you’re an OCC student trying to decide what career path to
take or a resident of Oakland County who’s thinking about a career
change, OCC’s counselors, located at each of the college’s five campuses
are ready to help you assess your skills and explore your interests.
It’ll give you a good start on a career you’ll find rewarding and