Roland B. Vendeland

Warmth, wisdom, and wit.

Roland B. Vendeland

Using the Internet to Find Unadvertised Job Opportunities

Alan Koch, a software engineer with The Software Institute, worked with computers. He wanted to work with people and considered teaching. He asked my opinion.

I suggested, "Teach one course at a college. See how you like teaching. It's a shame that communicating over the Internet is impersonal; otherwise, you could use it to develop a relationship with someone at a local college."

"Oh, no, Roland! The Internet permits us to communicate with a sense of anonymity and freedom, creating personal bonds that might not otherwise occur," responded Alan.

Each of us gained a new perspective. I discovered that e-mail and chat rooms could serve as powerful means of networking and relationship building. Alan identified a potential solution to his problem.

Alan shared two philosophies with Geneva College, fundamental Christianity and home schooling. He explored Geneva College's home page. Identified the college's strengths. Contacted Dr. Richard South, Computer Science and Physics Department Chairperson and commended him and the college on their twenty-first century technology and first century values. A relationship evolved and led to an adjunct teaching position for Alan at the college. Alan enjoyed the student interaction and has since accepted a consulting position with The Software Institute in which he trains other software engineers.

Viewing a problem from a slightly different vantage point can make a world of difference. Ed Fine, Executive Creative Director at MARC Advertising rewards his staff's efforts with an annual trip to Disney World for education, training, and creative recharging. He told me the most important lesson he learned during their 1997 visit was the "Half-degree Principle." Fine and his staff discovered the "Half-degree Principle" at a Disney Institute seminar.

The Principle states, "When confronted with a seemingly unsolvable problem, move one half-degree away from the situation, reevaluate from this new perspective, and solve the problem." This advice hardly seems consequential until one realizes that MARC has used such discerning insights to surge from a locally owned and oriented advertising agency to Pittsburgh's premier agency with local and national accounts.

Utilizing novel applications of the Internet for employment searches may, likewise, prove productive. Many of the earliest Internet web sites featured job listings. Only those knowledgeable enough to meander through the mazes of Veronicas, Archies, and Jugheads could find those sites. Techies successfully found career positions with this "inside" information.

The advent of search engines exposed the Internet to the masses, greatly increasing the number of people viewing job listings on the Internet. Many technical and non-technical job seekers, however, still restrict their Net search to job postings. They e-mail hundreds of resumes to electronically advertised jobs the same as they mail scores of resumes to newspaper job listings. They do this even though 70% of the jobs in this country are not advertised. Experiencing minimal success, these job seekers announce, "The Internet is not any good for searching for a job!"

When used creatively, the Internet is a GREAT place to conduct employment research. Networking is the most productive route to meaningful employment. The Internet provides the resources to target one's networking. A systematic search of informative web sites reveals emerging employment opportunities.

When companies do positive things, they let others know, often through press releases. Companies release these "information bulletins" through news services such as Associated Press, Business Wire, and PR Newswire. Information reflecting potential company growth (i.e. increases in available cash, production, or distribution) is especially helpful. The key is to use electronic resources to identify and research prospective employers before networking to them.

Electronic news clipping services intercept press releases on topics requested by the subscriber and forward them to the subscriber via e-mail. News Profiles, one such news clipping service, is available through America Online.

To envision the process, follow the electronic search of the presumed John Smith. His expertise is introducing new products to new markets, especially foreign markets. Several years ago he left a major telephone company following a merger. Since then he has been consulting with high technology companies concentrating on those under fifteen years old with annual revenues between 25MM-75MM and 100-350 employees. He does not enjoy consulting as much as he thought he would and has begun seeking full time employment. Through use of electronic research he has developed lists of prospective companies to "watch" and "must see."

A News Profile press release announces that Forbes Magazine has selected Tollgrade Communications, a Pittsburgh-based telecommunications company as one of "The 200 Best Small Companies In America." Several weeks later Tollgrade announced via press release that it received ISO 9001 registration recognized as achievement of a global standard of excellence in quality management. John places the company on his "watch" list.

A company profile found inthe Dun and Bradstreet Million Dollar Database reveals a $37 million, eleven-year old company with just under 200 employees. Tollgrade's latest quarterly financial report secured from the Securities & Exchange Commission portrays a growing, financially healthy company dedicated to developing new proprietary products and expanding international markets.

At the Tollgrade Communications, he finds a company commitment to "invest in engineering and new product development" and "expand its international presence."

At Search Bank ,John locates newspaper and periodical articles that confirm Tollgrade's lead in state-of-the-art technology and project continuing success for the company.

John adds Tollgrade to his list of five other "must see" companies and actively seeks opportunities to communicate with the company's executives or managers. While waiting for a friend of a friend to provide him with a contact, he notices an announcement in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Tollgrade CEO Chris Allison will speak at an open meeting.

John attends, introduces himself, describes his background, explains his research, and expresses his interest in learning more about the company. Allison introduces him to Joseph O'Brien, Senior Vice President for Organizational Development. John calls O'Brien the next day and schedules a meeting for the next week. The following Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette publishes an article on Tollgrade Communications with a description of Joseph O'Brien's former involvement as a Goodwill Industries director.

John is reading the article when a friend and former colleague tells him, "I just got an inside lead off the Net. Tollgrade Communications listed a position on the Three Rivers Free Net. I'm sending them my black and gold embossed resume. They'll be impressed."

Meanwhile, a smiling John is dusting off his "Man of the Year" plaque presented to him by the Goodwill Industries.