Engineering an On-line Job Search

April 8, 1999
Whether looking to land a high-tech job or just pick up a little advice, surfing the Net can pay off.

So you’ve decided it’s time for a change — maybe a completely new job, or perhaps you need advice on dealing with an unbearable colleague. Searching the Internet is a convenient approach. You don’t have to leave your house or change out of your pajamas to do it, and job postings are available 24 hr a day, seven days a week. A look at them comes free of charge in many cases. Other advantages of on-line job hunting include elimination of geographic boundaries and long-distance phone charges.

As surfing the Net can be time-consuming, we’ve put together a list of Web sites worth visiting. Many of these URLs include links to similar sites.

It’s who you know

Networking is a valuable career tool, even on-line. Ask your colleagues what sites they find most useful. Job recruiters offer services on-line, but ask around. A referral from a colleague or acquaintance who has used one can be reassuring. The Riley Guide, a career advice page, has links to several recruiters’ sites.

Take advantage of those dues you fork over to professional organizations. Some have information and job listings open exclusively to members, though many offer career assistance and job banks to all. There is a wealth of job boards, for example Monster Board, but it’s also worthwhile to check out individual companies’ sites. They often list open positions. Autodesk even has a database linked to its home page,, for jobs that require knowledge of its software.

Cyberspace is a handy guide to the “real” world. Trade event schedules and job fairs, such as Westech, are listed on-line. The Web can also be a stepping stone to books. Try searching one of the Web bookseller conglomerates such as for career-management book titles.

When choosing a job-search site, find out what companies are registered with the site, and thus who is receiving your resume, suggests Sally Richards, president of Richards Marketing which, among its services, provides on-line promotion for high-tech companies. She also suggests checking out how many hits a site gets.


Keeping a job search under wraps while maintaining your present job can be tricky. Consider a personal Internet account at home for job searches. Using an Internet connection at your present job is comparable to pocketing paper clips, maybe worse if your employer finds out you’ve been using company resources to land another position.

An advice page at suggests, “You should be prepared in the unlikely event that your employer finds out about your efforts. Your response when confronted might be: ‘I test the market every three or four years. So far I’ve not found anything better than what I have. Don’t you think that’s a sensible way to run a career?’” The idea is to throw the employer “off guard.” If things do get ugly, the site advises getting a personnel director involved.

Let the jobs come to you

Listservs, or e-mail “newsletters,” are available from many organizations and job boards. You can often sign up to receive them at an organization’s Web site. They carry information on jobs and updates on professional events such as shows, conferences, and meetings.

An example is P.J. Scout at NationJob Network. Once you sign up for this free service and specify the kind of job you’re looking for, the site will regularly e-mail you with new jobs that meet your qualifications. The update e-mails link to the NationJob Web page for full-length job descriptions. The service is free and confidential.

E-mail lists are not as time-consuming as searching the Internet on your own, but perhaps are not the best approach for those in dire need of a new position. The more proactive seeker may want to post a resume on-line.

“Keep it simple. Resumes are sorted by keywords, so anyone posting a resume should be really clear about what job title they’re seeking and what they’ve done in the past,” says Richards.

She also says, “Make sure your resume is posted exactly as the directions on the site read. They do not reformat your resume, so you could be wasting your time. Also, don’t use any odd punctuation that may reformat itself.”

And what’s the biggest mistake Internet job seekers make according to Richards? “Being passive. If you’re not getting results, keep looking. The Web is just like a bulletin board. If you aren’t getting calls, move on to the next Web site. Keep pushing and be very aggressive.”

Margaret F. Dikel, author for the Riley Guide, proposes that a Web search comprise only a quarter of your entire job search, unless you’re searching for a high-tech, computer-based job. Even then, she suggests devoting only half of your energy to an Internet search.

Get a job

The following Web sites are a starting point for engineers in hot pursuit of a technical job or in need of professional advice.

Machine Design salary survey results give up-to-date salary information.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers lets you search a job-posting database by title, locations, responsibilities, or requirements. Some provide an e-mail link to the company contact.
Wall Street Journal Interactive has advice columns. General job listings can be searched by company, industry, job function, and location. It’s a good place to visit for general career advice; it’s not for engineers exclusively.
National Society of Professional Engineers offers job listings.
Medical Device Link includes job listings for medical equipment designers.
• Search the Society of American Military Engineers site database by category, keyword, employer, and date posted.
• The Riley Guide presents a wealth of career advice and links to job-search sites specific to engineering. It gives Internet surfing tips as well. Career fair and recruiting firm sites are listed.
• The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers job listings which members may search by location or technical specialty. The site includes a schedule of “real” job fairs as well.
Women in Technology International has a job listing database.
• Nationjobs,, has a customized listserv and searchable job database.
What Color is your Parachute?: The Net Guidechute by career expert Richard Bolles, author of the book What Color is Your Parachute, rates various job search/advice pages on his Web site and offers career advice.
• Thomas Register of American Manufacturers,, provides company descriptions and contact information.
• The Occupational Outlook Handbook gives job outlook data, salary-related information, and education information.
• At, information technology jobs are posted. Fill out a skills profile, and its JobSeeker service will send a daily e-mail containing suitable job listings.

Novoresume offers career guidance on its career blog.

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.

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