Promoting Yourself In a Paperless Search
By Hal Lancaster
It's the age of the Internet, so why the heck are we still killing trees to write rďż˝sumďż˝s?
Well, that's just another aspect of the so-called paperless office that hasn't yet come to pass. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be using the resources technology has laid at your feet to promote your career.
What can you find there? Ask Scott R. Lucado, who consults with companies on using the Internet for intelligence gathering. His favorite tool: Internet help-wanted ads.
Companies tell "a great deal about their technology in help-wanted ads," says Mr. Lucado, of Fort Worth, Texas. "Sometimes I wonder whether organizations realize how much sensitive information seeps out."
He was once asked to report on rumors that a company's rivals were about to introduce new speech-recognition products. But Mr. Lucado didn't find any hiring activity outside of research laboratories. Further checking confirmed that no significant new products were on the horizon.
You also can gather intelligence through newsgroups devoted to specific industries or trades. To search for newsgroups, go to google.com's group directory, or go to Web sites such as vault.com, which profess to be the business world's cyber-water coolers. Here you can learn what employees are griping about and how they view their companies, their industries, and their management teams.
You also can use the Web as a direct job-search tool. Huge databases such as monster.com will store your rďż˝sumďż˝, even help you write an electronic version, and then make it available to Web-surfing employers. While there remains considerable debate about how many jobs are filled online and in what areas, few people doubt that the numbers will increase substantially as years go by. The companies are there, the recruiters are there, the databases are there, and, increasingly, the job seekers are arriving.
So you need to be there.
For some time, I've been recommending that career-minded folks create a personal Web site as a repository for all their career-management resources: rďż˝sumďż˝, work samples, log of personal and Web experience, links to professional and business Web sites, and contact information. From this base, you can print out rďż˝sumďż˝s, e-mail electronic versions and provide interested employers with a road map to your experience and knowledge.
Bob Rindner, a Boca Raton, Fla., stockbroker, created an electronic rďż˝sumďż˝ and placed it on a Web site that helps him job hunt and expand his network of contacts. He routinely refers contacts to the site, where they can study his rďż˝sumďż˝ and click on embedded links to get more information. The hyperlinks could also connect to work samples, thus creating an electronic portfolio that doesn't clutter up the basic document.
The Web site also makes Mr. Rindner instantly accessible to people world-wide. This has led to consulting assignments from as far away as Tulsa, Okla., jobs he might not otherwise have known about.
Robert M. Kaye has a personal Web page that shows well the wide range of background information that should be on such sites. Mr. Kaye, formerly the executive project manager for data integration at DaimlerChrysler, has sections on his Web site for organizations and associations he belongs to, recent business seminars attended, and business books and trade periodicals he has read. He is explicit about his accomplishments. For instance, he discusses in detail the $8.2 million annual cost savings he got for one employer by installing new software.
At Trev Hall's site, a natty-looking fellow in a long-sleeve yellow shirt and tie stares out at you. Do you want to know his work history? Click on his rďż˝sumďż˝. Want to know what he thinks about business and technology issues? Click on his essay section. Want to talk to the man? Click on the pager icon and leave a message, or click on "Contact Trev" and fill out the e-mail form that pops up on screen.
Mr. Hall, president of the M.B.A. class of 1999 at West Virginia University, Morgantown, made it easier for potential employers to his Web site to get a more rounded picture of him as a manager than they'd normally get from reading a rďż˝sumďż˝. And the essay section is a great idea. It enables him to show off his knowledge on a variety of critical management issues. He then gets down to business in a section titled "Who Is Trev Hall and What Can He Do for Your Company?"
As personal Web sites grow in number, they should organize into communities of like interests. Mr. Hall and his classmates want to form an online alumni-networking community that can share business ideas as well as opportunities.
Isn't that what the Internet is all about?