African American collegians preparing to launch their careers have at their fingertips an indispensable tool for job hunting: the Internet. Students skillful at surfing the Web can benefit from a wide array of sites offering employment leads, career counseling, tips for resume preparation, and relocation advice. By navigating the Internet comfortably and confidently, students can gain a competitive edge in locating the best opportunities in any given industry or academic field.
The Impact of the Internet: The explosive growth of the dot-com community during the 1990's had a tremendous impact on the employment industry. Among the early visionaries of the Internet as a point-and-click tool for job hunting were the creators of job boards such as Headhunter.net, Careermosaic.com and Careerbuilder.com. They clearly recognized that as the Internet became more technologically sophisticated and commercially appealing, the doorway was open for employers and job seekers to meet on the electronic "information highway." These trailblazing companies were soon followed by other businesses that carved a niche in the burgeoning market of Web-based employment services.
Now, the Internet has mushroomed beyond anyone's imagination. According to current estimates, over 10,000 Internet sites are devoted exclusively, or at least tangentially, to employment matters. These include job boards such as those listed above and many other types of Web sites, as discussed below.
Popular Among Recruiters: Employers of all sizes and descriptions rely heavily on the Internet for identifying prospective candidates for positions ranging from entry-level to senior management. Although the majority of job openings require some degree of work-related experience, many sites include attractive opportunities for recent college graduates.
Why is the Internet so popular among recruiters? Several reasons can be given for the widespread use of the Internet as part of a comprehensive corporate recruitment program.
To begin with, the Internet attracts both active and passive job seekers. That is to say, appealing Websites generate "hits" from persons who are actively seeking job leads as well as those who are casually scouting the market for what might constitute a "golden opportunity." In this regard, companies can capture an audience that includes prospective hires for both current and future employment needs.
Secondly, the Internet is a cost-effective way of building a pool of candidates in comparison to more traditional means of recruiting, such as through newspaper and magazine advertising. In simple terms, instead of placing employment ads in the Sunday editions of major metropolitan newspapers, employers can spend the same amount of money (or less) posting job openings on several leading Websites that target the particular audience they wish to attract.
Whereas the newspaper ads appear for one day, the online job notices can last for several weeks or months, or longer. Such prolonged exposure is especially beneficial to recruitment efforts targeting candidates for recurrent job openings, such as entry-level positions. Thus, companies can get more "bang for the buck" in advertising employment needs online.
Thirdly, the Internet serves an important public relations function for employers seeking to attract new talent. Display ads in publications can only say so much about the position opening and the employer. By contrast, appealing, interactive Websites can provide prospective candidates with a "virtual tour" of the company, the workforce, and the community amenities associated with the position. Some sites even offer audio testimonials of employees who have found career satisfaction in joining a given company.
Fourthly, the Internet makes job hunting easy, convenient and even "fun" for committed job seekers. In times past, job hunters trekked to the nearest library to spend hours scanning employment listings in major newspapers. …