Topping many a new-year resolution list is "Get a job!" The search party begins as you monitor the Sunday employment classifieds of three major newspapers, phone some friends of friends you met on a canoeing trip last summer, and fire off resumes and matching cover letters to the Dear Sirs and Madams of two dozen or so Fortune 500 companies.
Then, there's the Internet option. Do you make the leap, or not?
Don't let anyone tell you that the Web is the only tool you need in your job-hunt arsenal. It's so hyped that you may tiptoe around it, linen resume paper and roll of postage stamps in tow. Not all organizations recruit online, and the sheer number of job-search sites may stop you in your tracks.
But understand that the old standbys--newspapers, job centers, and career counselors--are going digital. Even if you're not into the electronic job-hunt scene, there's plenty of useful, career-related information on the Web. For starters, you can monitor job trends, research potential employers, learn to build a better resume, and post job openings online (buzzword: e-cruiting).
If information overload is your thing, you'll enjoy the plethora of job-search sites. Otherwise, do yourself a favor: Pick one or two sites to explore, and limit your time there. Wherever you go, you'll find a wealth of information that falls into three basic categories: career planning, job seeking, and recruiting.
Career planning. If you're a workplace veteran who's tempted to head straight to 6figures.com for an afternoon of browsing, don't overlook the power of planning (or performing a spot check on) your career path.
That entails exploring new careers, researching companies you'd like to work for, calculating what your salary is worth in another region--the list goes on. You can also take enlightening aptitude and work-style quizzes online. One such site hosts the Birkman Method Career Style Summary (www.review.com/birkman), a shortened version of the original Birkman Method that guides you to careers that match your interests and preferred working style. Here are some additional smart starts for career planning:
* America's Career InfoNet offers information on U.S. employment trends, online job-hunting tips, employment law, special training programs, and much more. Start at www.acinet.org.
* Hoovers Online hosts just-in-time corporate data that can help you prepare for job interviews and better understand a company's mission. It's at hoovers.com.
Job seeking. Most online job searches are free. The differences lie in the database sizes and search options. For example, are you getting enough hits on trainer to warrant a return visit to a site? …