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Interactive CVs offer good news and bad news

By Kevin Voigt
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The art of the job search has undergone seismic changes in the digital economy.

Blown away are the physical boundaries that separate region-to-region and country-to-country (when hired by the Hong Kong editors of The Wall Street Journal in 2000, I found the listing roaming the net while living in Japan).

As broadband coverage pervades in even developing nations, job-hunt sites and online resume listings have multiplied around the globe.

That's a good-news, bad-news scenario for both employers and would-be employees: As technology eases the speed of sending off CVs and resumes, employers are being snowed under in a digital storm of applicants.

The advent of Web 2.0 online communities -- such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook --have increased the reasons why potential employers may take a pass on your application. And cagey criminals, perusing online resumes, have found new ways to steal identities to make a buck.

Still, there's no turning back from the online resume revolution.

"Paper-based resumes ... you don't see that much these days," says Matt Burney, UK manager for Onrec, a Web site and magazine that tracks online recruitment trends worldwide. "Open recruitment days and job fairs are the last bastion of that kind of media for CVs."

The online resume hunt has become big business. Revenue for Monster Worldwide, the world's largest online recruiter, passed $1 billion last year, a 36 percent increase from 2005. In China, ChinaHR and are fighting for supremacy in the white-hot Chinese recruitment market. From Malaysia to India and Dubai, more employers and job candidates are turning online to find employees and jobs.

"The original use of online media (for job search) was with top-level employees, because they were simply the people who had access to it," says Burney, who has worked in the online recruitment industry for eight years. "That's changed: Now it's mid-level positions that are dominant on the Internet, because they have the access -- and the time -- for this kind of search."

While behemoth companies such as Monster, Yahoo Hot Jobs and Career Builder dominate global market share, the real fast climbers are niche industry job-hunt sites, such as Aviation Job Search, a Web site dedicated for pilots and engineers in the aviation industry, or Simply Sales, a British Web site that focuses on sales position.

"As the large players have consolidated their position, it's these niche sites that are really growing," Burney says.

Online caution needed, experts say

As job candidates become more Internet-savvy, care should be taken on what they reveal on recreational Web sites.

"The influence of MySpace and Facebook and what they reveal about themselves can produce questionable content that (potential) employers can find," Burney says. "There are people who have posted on fetish Web sites who have found the job search has not gone so well for them."

" Paper-based resumes ... you don't see that much these days." - Matt Burney, Onrec

Other user-to-user Web sites have conversely been a boon to job seekers: LinkedIn, a Web site dedicated for networking among job seekers, has gained acclaim for matching people together for business purposes.

"LinkedIn has gone a long way to recreate informal social networks for job seekers," says Alan Whitford, who has written extensively about online recruitment and runs Abtech Partnership, which consults companies about using online tools for hiring.

The plethora of job hunt sites means both employer and job seeker need to bone up on online skills. For companies, that means well-defined job descriptions to avoid the shot-gun splatter approach of many candidates sending out resumes online. For job seekers, a succinct response is best to get attention.

"A bad CV is an instant turn-off ... make it not too long, easy to read," Burney says. Experts caution that lies have a long shelf life on the Internet

Be careful about what information you put online and what responses you get: Around the world, several have complained of scams where applicants are contacted by a "company" and asked to transfer cash from one account to another -- scams generated from Russia and Eastern Europe.

"If they ask for money up front for 'training' or anything of the lie, don't do it," Burney warns.

Although resumes posted on the Internet has increased the job-hunting prowess for many, traditional approaches -- such as old-fashioned, off-line networking, is still a powerful job-seeking tool. "You need a blended approach -- you can't put your eggs all in one basket," Whitford says.


The traditional paper CV on paper is giving way to Internet recruitment and job application, experts say.


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