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This article was prepared for the January 23, 2002 edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Fitting the Internet into a Job Search

Some eight years ago, Mark Mehler had an idea.

He and his friend, Gerry Crispin, central New Jersey HR

executives

both, "saw the Internet coming," and decided to catalog and

evaluate career and job hunting resources on the then-infant research

resource.

In 1994 they found 300 sites. Talking about their search results at

a conference in 1996, they were told "`if you have a book, we’ll

promote it.’"

"A light bulb went off," says Mehler. He and Crispin, by then

partners in the site-hunting enterprise, found a little publisher

in Trenton to print CareerXroads: the Directory to Job, Resume, and

Career Management Sites on the Web." With the book published by the

now-defunct Trenton publisher, the pair went to a publishers

conference

in Chicago.

Six publishers were interested. "Two took limos out to New

Jersey,"

says Mehler, a South Brunswick resident. But they could have saved

themselves the trip. "We told them, if you bring the standard

contract, don’t bother," Mehler recalls. A typical book contract,

he says, pays the author 80 cents for every book sold. Since the

average

book published in the U.S. sells 3,000 copies, that was not the

pay-off

he and his partner were looking for.

A standard contract was indeed what Mehler and Crispin were offered,

so, after researching the publishing industry, they decided to go

their own way, self-publishing and handling their own promotion and

distribution contracts. The book, they decided, would be a springboard

to a business. And that is how it has worked out.

In addition to selling tens of thousands of copies of CareerXroads

— through book stores like Barnes & Noble and on their website

(www.careerxroads.com) — the two men consult on Internet

recruiting

to corporations, write on the subject, and make about 100 speeches

a year.

Mehler gives one of those talks, "The Internet for

Jobseeksers,"

on Tuesday, February 5, at 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library.

For more information on the free event, call 609-924-9529.

Before starting CareerXroads, Mehler worked in human resources for

Webcraft in North Brunswick. During his tenure there, he worked for

six presidents. "As I hit 40, I decided I didn’t want to break

in the seventh," he says. He left to start consulting, but was

particular about his clients. They had to have high-speed Internet,

a rarity back in the early-’90s. He worked as an independent

contractor

for Johnson & Johnson, a division of General Electric, and Martin

Marietta, working out deals where he did their work during the day,

and came back at night to work on CareerXroads over their fast

connections.

Four years ago, Mehler made CareerXroads his full-time job. Crispin,

formerly a vice president at Shaker Advertising in East Brunswick,

came onboard full time two-and-a-half years ago.

Early on Mehler, a computer neophyte, turned to his older daughter,

Lauren, for instruction. Lauren, 12-years-old at the time, is now

a sophomore at Rutgers, where she is deciding whether to major in

journalism, political science — or maybe both. She also

contributes

a column to Dow Jones CareerJournal. Mehler’s younger daughter, Dara,

logs a lot of computer time too, but, also interested in athletics,

she doesn’t let the Internet dominate her days.

Despite all the job hunting resources on the Internet, Mehler says

job seekers would do well to emulate Dara’s relative detachment from

the computer.

Avoid webitis. For the current edition of CareerXroads,

number seven, Mehler and Crispin found 4,000 Internet sites devoted

to job postings, resumes, and career management. Some job seekers

spend their days on these sites. Big mistake. Conduct no more than

one-third of a job search on the Internet, says Mehler. It’s a fine

resource, but doesn’t replace more old-fashioned methods like

networking.

Get out a map. Job hunters should unfold a map, put a

pin in their hometowns, and then draw a circle to delineated the

distance

they are willing to commute. The next step is to identify companies

within that area, and go to their websites. "Four hundred and

ninety-six of the Fortune 500 companies have websites," says

Mehler,

pausing to wonder why anyone would want to work for any of the four

not on the list. All but 36 of those companies post jobs on the sites.

A recent survey indicates that the second largest number of new

employees

get their jobs through those postings. (Employee referrals is number

one.)

Limit your Internet search. CareerXroads reviews the top

500 job search sites, but Mehler doesn’t expect that anyone will use

them all. Job seekers need to be selective, focusing on the sites

that match their target industry, experience level, and geographic

preferences. Picking just one site isn’t a good idea, but bouncing

around trying to register on every one isn’t good either. Concentrate

on five or six that are the best fit, advises Mehler.

Be careful about what you post. Go ahead and send resumes

through the jobs section of company websites, even if you don’t see

a job that suits you. Companies file the resumes, says Mehler, and

keep them around for a year, making it possible that candidates will

get a call if a good fit comes up.

Posting resumes on general job sites may not be a good idea for

employed

workers. It is all too easy for employers to find out about the job

search. Instead, just list skills and an E-mail address on the sites,

and let them send notices of job openings to you.

Find a friend at target companies. After using the

Internet

to identify good job openings, work hard at finding someone within

the company to "walk your resume in," says Mehler. Network.

Ask friends if they know anyone at the company. A resume that is

delivered

by an employee "separates you from thousands of other

candidates,"

says Mehler.

Competition for jobs is up along the Route 1 corridor, making

this advice particularly important now. While this climate is better

for employers with spots to fill than it is for job seekers —

an abrupt shift from just a year or so ago — Mehler says his

company,

which has freed him from job searching, probably forever, does well

either way. In a booming economy, corporations make heavier use of

his services, including a database of all the Internet sites he

uncovers,

not just the 500 in his book. But in this economy, it is job seekers

who are turning to CareerXroads looking for all the help they can

get in identifying good employment prospects.

Top Of Page
Participate, Please

Nancy Glazer, a test developer with Educational

Testing

Service, has recruited volunteer drivers on the Rosedale Road

campus

to help the Road to Recovery program devised by the American Cancer

Society office on Route 1 in North Brunswick. Volunteers use their

own vehicles and receive training on how to transport patients.

Under ETS’ Community Works program, ETS pays the employees for

volunteer

service on company time, up to seven hours annually, but the Road

to Recovery volunteers go beyond that. Twenty volunteers have been

trained but many more volunteers are needed. To be a driver volunteer,

or to coordinate volunteers from your firm, call 800-ACS-2345 or

732-297-8005.


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