Social Networking for Jobseekers
Asked about social bookmarking most people will respond with the site in the news lately, MySpace, or perhaps sites like Friendster. The concept has actually been around for several years and some businesspeople, especially entrepreneurs and salespeople, use more mature, business-oriented sites like Ecademy and LinkedIn. Their value for jobseekers ranks from near zero for sites like MySpace (though I do know of one case locally of a business manager hiring someone from MySpace) to moderately useful for the business oriented sites. The danger with aggressively using the business oriented sites for job prospecting is that you will cross the line into spamming, as so many network marketers have done, and end up spamming a potential employer who might otherwise have hired you from another source.
Jobster is a social networking site aimed specifically at the job market. It uses the circle of friends/network concept and many other social networking/social bookmarking concepts effectively in the context of putting job seekers in touch with hiring employers who view the network friends as a sort of built-in first reference.
These are some of the features of Jobster:
Profiles - As with most social bookmarking sites, the profile page provides a quick overview of the user. Employers can view your profile and see your professional highlights, experience, education, your homepage if you have one, your tags and your company wishlist.
Wishlist - You can view the companies currently using the service to find employees and put those you would like to work for in a wishlist, creating the potential to trade contacts with an employee at one of those companies who is also searching for a job.
Networking - You can add people you already know, add their friends and the more exposure you get hopefully have people add you based on mutual wishlist settings. Networking is one of the most effective ways to tap the "hidden job market" that goes unadvertised and social networking sites provide an opportunity for quick, efficient networking to do so.
Tagging - This is a concept familiar to bloggers and to users of search engines like IceRocket or services like Technorati. The job seeker can self-tag his profile with useful keywords related to personal qualities, job type, experience, education, etc. and the employer can search on those keywords.
Contact blocking - Just as there are spammers and stalkers on instant messaging networks, there are "employers" who will take advantage of this system to push buy-a-job scams like network marketing and envelope stuffing. There will also be companies who are not particularly discriminating in who they contact and will continue contact even after you expressly say you aren't interested. Jobster gives you a simple way to block contact from companies you don't want to hear from.
Ease of use
I was able to register and set up my profile in less than fifteen minutes. I made one error in filling out the form (attempting to put "southwest Missouri" instead of an actual city name) and the system showed me my error with no guesswork.
Adding companies to the wishlist was easy but time consuming. There is no feature to check off several companies and add them all to the list. It's necessary to add a company, wait for the page to reload and scroll back down the page to the place you left off, then add the second company and so on. I spent about as long adding 19 or 20 companies to my wishlist as doing everything else combined, including responding to the confirmation email.
The wishlist issue seems to be the only drawback, so I'd give this service a qualified thumbs up until I have more to report on results. It's a fairly new service and has about 100 companies on board, so it may not yield great results today. On the other hand, it's a great concept, the companies that are using it are big names and it is likely to grow quickly. Being in on the ground floor means a chance to build a bigger network before the growth really explodes and be positioned to get that dream job when it does.
Just Getting the Resume Out There Pays Off
The Quick Apply feature on Monster was fairly simple to setup and definitely saves some time when applying for jobs. Using it when applying is as simple as pressing a virtual button. If you are going to use Monster in your job search, you should take advantage of this time saving feature.
As I wrote, I applied to a few jobs on Monster, but I have yet to receive a callback on any of those. The call I did receive was from my updated Yahoo! hothobs resume. I got a voicemail from an employer doing interviews in my area (well 25 miles away anyway) this Thursday. Something about the voicemail leads me to think this is a life insurance sales job, which I'm not especially interested in, but a call on day two is still nice. On some of these online job sites, employers can search by the date the resume was updated, so just updating the resume shows employers that you are currently in the job market. Especially for anyone already working but open to new opportunities, regularly updating the resume online and reviewing the new job listings is a quick easy way to achieve that.