ERIC Identifier: ED405534
Publication Date: 1995-00-00
Author: Lundberg, David J. - Thirsk, Robert W.
ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services Greensboro NC.
Cruising the Information Highway for Jobs: On-Line Career
Development. ERIC Digest.
Career services centers are beginning to discover many of the world-wide job
and career information resources currently available through the information
highway and its primary thoroughfare, the Internet System. Access to this
marvelous network of generalized and specialized information is becoming fairly
commonplace for those who have the right equipment, are connected to computer
systems that have on-ramps to this network, and know how to work their way
through its seemingly endless by-ways.
Unfortunately, the problem for students is that many do not have a means of
accessing on-line computer systems. In addition, without detailed instructions
to provide the necessary directions and to help novice users avoid inherent
pitfalls, the on-line experience can end up being an exercise in frustration.
One way to encourage students to do job information research themselves is to
design a road map to help them get the most out of the various on-line networks
that provide useful employment information.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro's Career Services Center
provided its students with the necessary vehicle and map to get them onto and
cruise the superhighway of information networks. We explored many of the
networks on the Internet system in search of the most practical and useful
sources of employment information. A detailed list of instructions was created
so that even the most novice of network cruisers could sit at one of several
computer vehicles in the Center, log on, and cruise to and through some of the
most useful networks without getting totally lost.
Keywords were identified so that students could be more specific in their
search efforts. Finally, directions were created to "coach" students through
The "road map" of directions follows a particular
strategy. Job seekers are directed, first of all, to decide the geographic scope
of their job search. Students determine if their job search is to be local,
state-wide, region-wide, nation-wide or world-wide. If their search is local,
instructions are given on how to access the portion of the university
information network listing local job opportunities. If the job search is
state-wide, instructions are given to allow students to access several of the
other state university bulletin boards which contain lists of job vacancies.
There are often lists available through several universities for both private
and state government job openings.
For the person who wishes to expand the search to region-wide, nation-wide or
world-wide, directions are given to switch to Internet and use "Gopher," the
common information exchange system. Instructions are given for those who wish to
navigate to positions in higher education, private jobs, federal government
vacancies, or international job openings. Only the most user-friendly
thoroughfares are recommended. "Toll roads", computer services which charge for
job information, are avoided.
RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION
The first step is to determine
the geographic scope of the job search. Beginning with State-wide, these are the
Log onto the local campus on-line computer system. Specific details and names of
"entries" will vary from location to location within any particular state.
If you are interested in local jobs, you would typically select "Bulletin
Boards" to view jobs currently available. A typical selection would then be
"Employment Listings" or some similar term, then either "Job Vacancies,"
"Position Listing" or whatever other term is used. This allows you to browse
through local job vacancies.
If you are interested in other jobs within a state, go back to the main menu,
then select "Other Information Systems" or some similar term, then search the
bulletin boards of other universities for job listings. It will take some time
to identify those universities that have good sources of job listings. It will
also take some practice to learn the particular commands for navigating through
the local system. You should be patient and follow the "Help" instructions which
typically appear at the bottom of the computer screen.
To switch to Internet and use "Gopher," another information exchange system,
leave the local on-line system by backing up to the main menu. Leave the main
system by either selecting or typing "Quit." At the prompt, type "Gopher" and
hit "Return". Then select "World-wide Gophers" by moving the arrow down and
hitting "Return". Remember that it may take a while to access this information,
so remain patient as these directories are being loaded. Select "North America,"
then "USA," then "All." After the "All" directory is loaded, you are now at the
point of searching region-wide, nation-wide or world-wide. At this point you
should consider what type of position you are searching for in addition to the
If you are looking for a position in higher education, select "Academe this Week
(Chronicle of Higher Education)." Then select "Job Openings," then select
"Search Using Words." Decide whether you wish to search the entire list or a
specific region and select the appropriate entry. You now must tailor your
search by selecting a key word(s) to "browse" the job openings. For example, if
you are looking for a job in counseling, you might type "counseling,"
"counselor," "counsel" or some combination of those words. It takes a little
experimenting to determine the proper word(s) for an effective search. Once you
have a list of job openings, select and review those that interest you.
Another source of information on job vacancies is the Online Career Center. Back
up to the "All" menu. To access the Online Career Center, select "MSEN" then
"Online Career Center," then "Search Jobs," then either "Keyword Search: All
Jobs" or select a region. Again, you must decide on geographic area, then you
must experiment with key words to use to browse jobs.
Finally, you may access the list of Federal Government Job Openings (including
some private industry jobs) available through Dartmouth College. Go back to the
"All" menu. Select "Dartmouth College," then "Career Services," then "Job
Openings in the Federal Government." Again, you must decide on the geographic
region you wish to access or the specific government agency you wish to view.
Under "Job Openings in the Federal Government" is a listing of "Federal
Government Position Announcements" and "Private Industry Position
Announcements." When you view these sources, you must again "tailor" your
The preceding strategy is designed for
use by anyone, computer novices as well as "advanced computer hackers." For
those who are more familiar with computer systems, and particularly, use of the
Internet, there are many other resources available. The World Wide Web is an
information service that has become the predominant method for accessing the
Internet. There are many ways to access the "Web." Perhaps the easiest way is
through a Web browser. Two of the most commonly used browsers are Mosaic and
Netscape, and these are available through many college computer network systems.
Mosaic or Netscape are different than Gopher or local information system
accessors in that they present multimedia interfaces to the Internet. They do
more than present text, they link into other documents and can handle audio,
pictures, and even video. They are exciting, and they are great, potential
information sources for the job seeker.
If you have access to browsers such as Mosaic or Netscape, you simply
double-click on the program icon. After the program loads and connects to your
network system, you may travel to an information directory which presents
additional job information. In Netscape, for example, a simple way of accessing
this information is to perform a search for "Yahoo," which is a comprehensive
and commonly used information directory.
Once you access Yahoo, you may select "Business," then "Employment," then
"Jobs." This presents an extensive list of job listings and other career related
information. Job information is constantly added and deleted. Browsing this list
may uncover many additional job possibilities.
Finally, state universities often provide additional sources of job
information on the Web just as they do through Gopher. Comprehensive lists of
jobs currently listed through employment security commissions and office of
state personnel vacancies are typically available. You may find this information
by searching the Web for the appropriate state university "page." This provides
"one-stop" access to very diverse sources of information.
In addition to the very important aspect of
searching for employment and job opportunities, use of the information highway
may provide other inputs to career development. Use of the highway may broaden a
person's horizons to take in other locations and types of jobs which have not
been previously considered. Using the highway can open new worlds for the job
seeker to explore. The world is much larger than the help wanted ads in the
local newspaper, and use of the information highway makes that larger world very
real and accessible. It helps people grow.
Use of the highway may also help a person narrow his or her focus to specific
jobs and industries that are most desirable. The job seeker may discover that a
particular area of employment is just what is wanted and needed. This helps
people concentrate their efforts and energies in an effective way as their
One aspect of career development and maturity which is difficult to measure
but very important is what is termed Reality Orientation. Learning what the
world really has to offer and what truly fits is a process that every job seeker
must face and resolve. Use of the information highway may aid in this process as
the individual sees exactly what is available, what he or she is suited for, and
where those opportunities exist. Along with broadening of horizons and narrowing
of job focus, this can have a truly therapeutic effect on the individual.
Through these search strategies, individuals are able to:
use of on-line services as one more weapon in their job search arsenal.
a broader picture of career opportunities, range of jobs, and the global
jobs in specific locales (institutional, local, state-wide, regional,
nation-wide, or world-wide).
their computer application skills.
As career center staffs have greater demands made on their time, and as
resources become more scarce for the purchase of job vacancy information, access
to the Internet system will become a viable alternative to currently used
methods for assisting students. Just as SIGI Plus and Discover have become
useful as "independent" career development tools, on-line computer systems are
evolving into an exciting and important asset.
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David J. Lundberg is a doctoral student in Counselor Education at the
University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Robert W. Thirsk is Director of the Career Services Center at the University
of North Carolina at Greensboro.