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Websites and tools make job search easier

If you're looking for a job, it’s heartening to know that technology can make the search a little easier.

Back when I first entered the workforce, job hunting involved leafing through the help wanted sections of the local newspapers, cold calling potential employers, dropping off resumes, and going to Canada Employment offices and private placement firms to see what was listed on their job boards. It made an already depressing experience even more dismal. You did get a lot of exercise though.

Today, it’s all online. Even the newspaper want ads are on the Internet now. And specialty firms such as and have made the search almost (but not quite) fun.

You still have to work at it, of course, but posting your resume and searching for jobs has been largely automated. At both Monster and Workopolis, you can establish an account (free), and build your resume in a systematic way -- with skills, interests, accomplishments, education and experience all correctly formatted. And if you have an existing resume, you can upload it (in Word format) and your online resume will be automatically created by parsing your document (a little tweaking will probably be necessary, however).

Once you’ve created a profile you can search for jobs by keyword, position title, location and other factors. You can save job searches or specific jobs (in case you want to think about applying for them) and can subscribe to email alerts when a job matching your specifications becomes available.

Both sites are heavily used by employers -- though a lot of the positions seem to be duplicated.

Employment Canada offers a similar service, but you have to build your resume line by line (a process that can take hours).

Two other general sites worth visiting are Canwest Global’s and handily sorts jobs according to economic sector. It also offers resume building (or you can cut and paste from an existing word processor document)  and keyword email alerts. (which also has an iPhone app -- see below) seems to specialize in particular industries, but has international scope.

Most placement firms and headhunters also have websites that offer the ability to upload or email resumes and to browse through current postings. There are also sites devoted to specific industries -- for example, if you're looking for a job in the non-profit sector, Charity Village is a must visit.

Larger employers are also automating the search. For example, UBC let's you upload and save your resume, save jobs and check on the status of jobs for which you've submitted an application.

And don’t forget the social networking sites. Though I wouldn’t recommend posting your resume on Facebook (probably best to set your privacy settings high while you’re searching in fact), it doesn’t hurt to let your FB “friends” and Twitter followers know that you’re in the employment market. And is a great site for job seekers -- like Monster and Workopolis, you can build and post your resume, skills, accomplishments and aspirations and advertise your job-seeking status.

Finally, could I possibly end a Megabyte column without mentioning iPhone apps? Of course not! There are many apps available for employment hunters. These include free job search apps as well as some pricy apps that purport to give you advice on careers in various fields (sorry, at $14.99 I’m not going to download and review “Careers for History Buffs and Others Who Learn from the Past”). But I will review two free apps I found:

Both CDN Jobs and JobServe (which links in with their website at offer location-aware searches, or you can override that and search other locations. You can search by keyword or industry. The jobs available in my field were more plentiful and relevant on JobServe, but maybe that's just me.

For all of these sites, check out the privacy settings. When you post your resume, career aspirations, contac information and other details online, you’re exposing a lot of personal information. If they don’t have an explicit privacy policy and/or options, ask about it. Caveat emptor, or should that be Career emptor? I don't know -- I didn't list Latin among my skills.

Happy job hunting.

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