Using the Internet as a Career Planning Tool

Article excerpt

People often ask me, "What is the best way to use the Internet as part of a job search?" To which I respond, "I don't think of the Internet as just a job search tool." I say that I think of it as a professional development tool for educating yourself on job searches and career transitions, researching prospective employers, tracking trends, making contacts with other people, and identifying and generating professional opportunities.

That distinction is an important one. That's because though I think the Internet (like a lot of technology) is a wonderful tool with all kinds of potential uses, too many people have the impression that, somehow, technology will not only miraculously pave a path to an employer's door, but also get them hired. (Sorry, people still make hiring decisions; technology only scans and sorts resumes.)

And though using the Internet can be a great way to conduct the initial stage of a long-distance job search, it's no substitute for face-to-face meetings. If you're an introvert and thought you'd be able to get hired for a new job without having to meet anyone, forget it!

Having made those disclaimers, here's how you can use the Net as part of your job search or career exploration.

A news kiosk

Tired of the vacuous happy talk on your local television station? Upset that your daily newspaper gives only scant coverage to business news and trends that affect your job and career? Think of the Internet as a news kiosk. Use it to read the nearest big-city daily paper. And while you're at it, sample from the pages of other leading newspapers, magazines, and business weeklies across the world.

As a former reporter who long ago grew accustomed to reading three newspapers every day, I delight in using the Internet to read or at least scan the headlines and top stories each morning from the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. I try to pay particular attention to the business section and the science and technology section of the NY Times and to the Journal's coverage of job and workplace issues. Doing that on a regular basis can give you a good handle on the trends shaping the American workplace, including those that will affect our roles as HRD professionals.

But don't limit yourself to newspapers. America Online, for example, offers Business Week and such substantive, though lesser known, publications as Investor's Business Daily. IBD gives great coverage to business news, issues, and trends. I heartily recommend it. What's more, its archives provide a rich trove of information on job hunting and career planning. …