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Working the web: Online job hunting

photo courtesy of www.west-info.eu

Marie Mosca
Opinion Editor

Almost every person looking for a job today is required to use the internet to scope out what is available and fill out applications. Most stores will not even keep hard copy applications in the store anymore, and will tell patrons to visit the website for details on how to apply. Companies like LinkedIn, Monster, Snagajob.com and many more even make a profit from people searching for relevant and available jobs in their area. Some websites have open forums for those seeking jobs and those seeking services like Deviantart, Angies list, etc. There seem to be both advantages, and disadvantages to both finding work in person and finding work online.

There are dangerous folks on the Internet out for your personal information, which makes it hard to trust some online operations. This is especially concerning when a place is asking for sensitive personal information like your social security number and working permits. It is best to do some research and ask others how applying and even working for a particular company works and have them explain their experiences. I find this to be the best way to get a good feel as to whether you should surrender your personal information towards an online job application or not. I have had a few less than ideal experiences while trying to find jobs and/or commission jobs online in the past.

I made the mistake of posting to the jobs and services sections of the Deviantart forums this past year. At first, each client seemed responsible and thorough as to how they wanted me to work. One client even had a contract for me to sign before the project began. Both times I used the forums I was either never paid for my work, or the project was bigger than the client had originally stated and I had to back out to give someone with more experience a go at it. I was obviously extremely disappointed in this as I had a high hopes for a place in the forums of an artists community, but then I remembered most of us are broke. The lesson there would be to ask for at least half payment upfront. Now I know.

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I have, however, had rather pleasant experiences with Snagajob and other online job portals for specific companies. It really helped me narrow down what I needed as far as pay, hours and the general work I would be doing alongside being within a 10-mile radius of my home. The only thing I will say is a lot of the times you are asked to take a very long and complicated survey or even timed tests to apply for a job which I found a little crazy. I am sure it narrows down applicants to those who would be best suited for the job, but I had to take a math test this past summer while applying for office max and pretty much failed it completely out of pure surprise and anxiety.

I believe that there should still be a paper or in person version of applying for jobs instead of just being told to go online, as many applicants may not have access to a computer or the Internet. I cannot count how many times I had to tell a customer to go online to apply because we just “Don’t do on the spot interviews or applications anymore”. For now however, it seems that applying for jobs is going digital and leaving everyone without access behind in the dust.