A lot has changed since I was last in the job market. I had done a little looking around in the past, but in doing a full fledged job search I have seen how the whole process has changed.
Up until a few months ago I was working for Flextronics, doing Tech Support for Verizon Wireless. I started the job back in January of 2001 and was almost to the 10 year point when layoffs and the removal of tech support was announced. I could have kept my job, if I wanted to have an hour long (or more) commute to the other side of the city. The layoff was a turning point that allowed us to make a life changing move to the Twin Cities area.
So (to shorten a long story) I am in the process of looking for work. And I have noticed a few things that have changed. What used to be a pen and paper search, where you would pick up the daily paper and search through listings has turned into a lot more than just the electronic version of hunting through the newspapers online listings. Today it is all about using online tools to make the job easier. Even making tools like Twitter work for your job search.
Some of the biggest tools that I have been using have been variations on the Twitter service. Many companies out there have been tweeting new jobs as they open up. Services like twitterjobs and TweetMyJOBS.com have been a great way to setup alerts for tweets that match your search criteria. Also remember that you can go right to Twitter.com and do a search right from there.
The other tool that I have been using is LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn gives you the ability to network yourself through your own colleagues, friends and people you meet at various places,such as job fairs. The only real downside is that if you want some of the more advanced features you would need to sign up for a paid subscription. I have found a few workarounds for this, though. If you do a custom Google search (ex: charlie d site:linkedin.com) it will help you find names and info about companies. The main thing to remember is that you cannot fully access their profile unless you are a direct connection with them, and to request them as a connection you have to have a job link with them, or know their email address.
So it has been a learning experience, but I feel these internet tools have made the search for a job, and probably the interview process easier. Mainly because it is so easy to find out more about the companies, and people that work for the companies before you go to an interview.