The internet means it is now possible to find the perfect job without leaving your desk. Helen Perkins looks at 21st century job search with a particular emphasis on how new technologies are revolutionising the job market.
To make any job search as fruitful as possible, you first need to know what you are looking for.
Job seekers tend to fall into two categories – those who have a firm idea of what their next career move might be and those who simply know that it’s time to move, either because they have outgrown their current position or need a fresh challenge.
Whichever group you fall into, the internet can help speed up and refine your search.
The focused job search
If you have a definite idea of the kind of position you are seeking, there are a number of web services from which you can benefit.
Online job sites
All the professions, including accountancy, are well served by a variety of job sites on the web. Many of these have sophisticated search facilities, which will allow you to hunt for positions by preferred location, industry and/or salary. A number of sites also invite candidates to register their details online and notify them of those vacancies which meet their specific criteria, by e-mail or text message to their mobile phone. ACCA’s own online jobs service, ACCA Careers, allows users to set up a personal profile so that the system automatically lets you know when a matching vacancy comes up.
Many job sites also contain additional useful features, such as advice on CV writing, interview technique, salary surveys and even psychometric testing.
You may know that you want to work for a specific company. If so, it is highly likely that the firm/organisation concerned will have its own website.
Most employer sites will contain a section devoted to career opportunities and vacancies. If you don’t have the website addresses of companies you are interested in, you will almost certainly be able to find them through a good search engine, such as google.com.
An increasing number of larger organisations use the internet as a major means of recruitment and, as a result, the careers sections of many well-known sites are extremely comprehensive. Such is the appeal of the net that many leading UK recruiters, such as British Telecom and KPMG, are now conducting all of their graduate recruitment online.
The principal advantages of online recruitment are speed and convenience. To facilitate web hiring, recruitment methodology is gradually changing to become more internet compatible. For example, KPMG has identified 16 key competencies it looks for in graduates and its online application tool asks candidates to rate themselves in relation to them. The result is a personal profile which can be automatically scored by computer. By adopting this approach, KPMG can respond to candidates within 24 hours and aims to cut the time taken to hire new graduates by 40%.
While online applications can be completed quickly, it is important not to rush them and ensure you give them the same careful consideration as paper applications. It is also important to keep a hard copy of your application and ensure you supply the employer with an up-to-date e-mail address.
The general job search
If you are unsure of the sort of vacancy which might best suit you, the internet can still be a valuable tool. However, you may need to use different resources, in a slightly different way.
All of the leading recruitment agencies have comprehensive websites. Many employers still choose to route vacancies through agencies, so these sites can be an excellent source of job information. Agency sites will tend to highlight new or featured jobs/employers on their homepages, meaning you don’t have to spend time searching the site for the latest opportunities. It is also worth mentioning that a meeting with a good recruitment consultant can help you decide what kinds of positions you should be seeking, if you have doubts about your next step.
Journals, magazines and newspapers
Print media is designed to be appealing, eye-catching and sell a vacancy to readers. As a result, you may spot a position which interests you in a publication which would simply pass you by on the internet.
Despite the popularity of the web, many employers still see advertising in professional journals as the best route to employing an accountant with the right skills. As a result, you’ll still find a wealth of opportunities advertised in student accountant and other professional journals.
The quality national press continues to carry vacancies for particular occupations on certain days of the week. Most of the broadsheet press also have websites, many of which show all the vacancies placed with them. Again, entering the newspaper name in a good search engine should lead you to their site.
You may be unsure of the kind of positions to apply for because you don’t know the market rate for your skills and experience. If so, there are a number of salary surveys you can consult on the web.
The PASS magazine website carries a salary survey (see below). Agency sites will also tend to contain salary surveys for a variety of different countries and regions.
Some useful websites
You may find the following sites useful if you are currently searching for a training position. The list is, of course, not exhaustive and there are thousands more sites which carry general careers and vacancies information.
ACCA’s own online jobs site (http://careers.accaglobal.com/): It also contains details of other careers information sites of use.
Google.com. Leading search engine. Very useful for finding websites of individual companies, agencies and publications.