The Internet: The Great Job Slot Machine

There are more than 5000 web sites on the Internet with job postings. In fact, there are over 8 million jobs posted online. It would seem a simple enough thing to do just to get one of them.

But for every job posted online there are seven resumes (on some sites, even more). On the most prolific job board on the Internet they claim over 6 million resumes against less than 500,000 job postings. For job seekers, that’s an enormous amount of competition.

The fact of the matter is that job postings on the Internet have very little to do with careers. Job postings are really more of a way to give companies a bigger pool of candidates to choose from and job boards more clicks to report on their web sites. And they shamelessly promote themselves with high-minded, self-important accolades in the process.

They advertise it as a free service for job seekers. They promise to change lives. In fact, they dare you to use their web site to rise above the mediocrity of your current career status. Unsuspecting numbers of the unemployed – or merely countless others who wonder if they just can’t do better – innocently stumble to these sites like hopeful lottery players.

It’s big business. The product is information – personal and private information – the kind of comprehensive information that you would find on a resume. And they’re not giving job seekers a thing in return for the information they submit online. In fact, the online job boards are robbing job seekers blind.

Here’s how it works: a job seeker goes to a job site and finds an attractive job posting. They click to apply and either fill-out a form or submit a pre-formatted resume. But that’s where the similarity between a real job search and the Internet job hunt ends.

The big problem is that job postings online are nameless. Many times a job seeker won’t know the name of the posting company and most of the time will not end up with a contact name either. All they can do is submit the resume and wait by the phone.

Just like a slot machine. Drop it in, press the button and pray.

Only the results are more dismal. An online recruiting industry survey showed that less than 10 percent of all resumes submitted online ever get an acknowledgement from a prospective employer – let alone an invitation to interview.

That’s not job searching. That’s job begging.

And in the process, job seekers sell their souls in the name of an honest job search. They release the job board from any liability regarding the use of that information – willingly – over and over and over. Human nature, whether it comes to making money or finding a job, gives in to the restraints of reason. When you just need a job, most people will do anything to get it.

So they go from job board to job board – posting resumes and applying for jobs, fighting odds far worse than what is found at the slot machines in Vegas. Sometimes, out of weariness or just a twisted sense of fantasy, job seekers apply for jobs they could never get in real life. They apply to become the CEO of a high-tech company or they apply to a six-figure job they lack the qualifications to legitimately land. After all, what have they got to lose, right? They might just get lucky, right?

What most people do not realize is that personal information is the currency of the Internet. And by giving it up freely they are only allowing it to make someone else rich. In this case, the Internet job boards reap a windfall. They don’t care where it comes from or even the intended purpose for which it was submitted.

They just want to sell it.

And anyone with a checkbook can buy personal information online. Yes, legitimate companies buy into resume pools for viable candidates. But that’s only one market that job boards use “their” information as a revenue stream. They sell to advertisers of all manner of products – from vendors of training courses to shysters hawking multi-level marketing schemes. If the demographics match, they will sell the information they harvest online to any willing party with the funds to pay for it.

And all of it is behind the guise of a near-public service: to “help” people find jobs.

To companies large and small, job boards market the number of candidates they have using their service. For them, it’s not about the number of jobs. It’s about the number of resumes. The more resumes they have, the more companies they can hook. And hook them they do.

For employers, who have the deep pockets to pay the fees, Internet job posting is a bargain. The Internet costs a third of traditional recruiting methods. And the returns are incredible. Because the Internet is distributed worldwide, the response a job posting gets online is overwhelming. Most job postings are so wildly received that companies invest in computers just to process all the responses.

The job boards have partners in the information supermarket. Companies who have no intention of hiring anyone use job boards to lure unsuspecting job seekers to invest in multi-level marketing schemes and investment programs. They get away with it because their participation is blind, for the most part.

For the person out there just trying to find a job, the scenario is fruitless. It is a waste of valuable time and resources. And once that information is out there, you cannot get it back – ever. It can be sold and re-sold for years to come. Spam in your e-mailbox does not end up there by accident, and your phone doesn’t ring at dinnertime because phone solicitors get lucky. Someone has made merchandise of a job seeker’s personal information. It’s that simple.

What is a job seeker to do?

? Use the Internet as it is designed – and harvest your own information. Study companies who advertise careers online and try to connect with them offline. Sincere candidate seekers will be glad to accept a resume on paper.

? Resist the urge to post a resume online anywhere. Once it is out of your hands, you cannot control who accesses it. Read the privacy policies of web sites that offer resume services – and stay away from any site that promises to change their privacy policy at will.

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