Interview With Rhidian Orr
We interviewed him, by email, this past week. His perspective on the electronic job hunt is well worth your time.
1st Steps: Where are the two best places (besides 4WORK) to begin a job hunt?
Rhidian Orr: As the web continues to grow there are more and more choices where to start. For recent college grads I recommend checking with their campus Career Centers as a first step. In most cases the Career Centers have worked hard to create relationships with employers that hire recent college grads. Many of them have put together Websites of their own to help distribute information about job hunt strategies and resources. Stanford, for example, has put together a great Meta-list of on-line job-search resources and services. List such as these give a person a greater feeling for the types of services and reference tools that are available on the Web. As this function on the Web is still in it's formative stage, job seekers should experiment with multiple services to determine their ease of use and to expose themselves to as many different opportunities as they can in their search for a job.
1st Steps: Are there any Website that are particularly good for pursuing specialty employment?
Rhidian Orr: Two years ago I would have said that the news groups would have been the place to search for a specific type of job. Today, most news groups have become cluttered and looking for the right job can be virtually impossible. It's like looking for gold in a stream with a four inch sieve and hoping the gold flakes get stuck on the cross bar. As the web moves into its adolescence, it's beginning to develop niche markets. One of the best examples of this is athletics. Off line you virtually need to know someone in the organization to get a job. The Online Sports Career Center has done a nice job putting these opportunities at the job seekers finger tips. This site is designed for the people who are looking for careers in the sports field. Niche markets for specialized occupations are popping up all the time. Depending on the type of job people are looking for, there are likely areas on the web that specialize in their area of interest. Utilizing the search engines and doing a little research can pay great dividends.
1st Steps: How would you research a targeted email campaign for resume distribution?
Rhidian Orr: I would recommend that a person evaluate what their own skill sets before proceeding with any sort of job hunt. There are different sites that help people evaluate there personal areas of interest and skill bases. Once a person knows what they want to do, their next step is determining where they want to work in a geographic sense. I recommend using one of the search engine spiders. One of the most up to date spiders on the web is Altavista. For example, when you enter in your geographic area and your skill sets, the spider will pull up a list of positions in that geographic area. Through looking through all the different opportunities a job seeker can find the right person to send their resume to.
1st Steps: Do you have any cover letter pointers?
Rhidian Orr: I was at a conference earlier this year and this question was raised in a group of employers and career counselors. The bigger companies represented did not see a need for cover letters. The only use that they found for the cover letters was to determine which position the candidate was applying for. Most of the medium to small companies still utilize the cover letter as a sample of a persons writing ability. I encourage job seekers to contact the Career Centers at their almamater to find out whether they know if a specific employer needs a cover letter. If the information is not available it is better to be safe and write a well thought out cover letter. Make sure that your spelling and grammar are impeccable. For some good pointers on content and structure a job seeker can reference the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute home page.
1st Steps: Where's a good place for advice on building a resume?
Rhidian Orr: There are hundreds of places on the web to find advice on how to write the perfect resume. You can find a list of these address by going to Yahoo! or any other major search engine and entering "writing resumes". Some of the people giving advice on the web are more qualified then others. The College of William & Mary has put together a very easy to use step by step process of building a resume. Another incredible resource where you can find tips and step by step process is through the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). NACE has a site that gives advice from every aspect of career services. They have put together a great page of resources on building the right resume.
1st Steps: What about HTML resumes?
Rhidian Orr: For me the jury is still out on the value of HTML resumes. On one hand there are spiders sent out by large recruiting firms to collect all the HTML resumes they can find. Most the larger companies that I deal with still uses some sort of OCR that compiles their data into an in-house database. Through talking to employers across the country I have found that most of the companies that still use OCR's as a means of sorting data would prefer a resume that was clean with very few graphics. They have told me that resumes in a strong text base are easier to scan. Now days it is important for a job seeker to utilize all the tools available to assist them in attaining a job. Microsoft has made it very simple to transfer a document from a word format into HTML.
1st Steps: Any final thoughts on electronic job hunting?
Rhidian Orr: I can't finish this interview without a plug for our site. The amount of information out there about opportunities and job hunt strategies is staggering, and there's more everyday. To help with this, we built BTAB (It's `Better Than A Bookmark!). BTAB is an intelligent agent that job-seekers can task to search 4work.com for opportunities. It brings order to chaos, it never sleeps, and it works for nothing. (I had a roommate like that once…;-) We've thousands of jobs indexed on our site and we're adding more every day. In addition, we have almost 3,000 `resume builders' for undergrads, though on the site we call them volunteer opportunities and internships.
1st Steps: Thanks, Rhid.
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