The days of trawling a newspaper classified section for a job that suits your particular requirements and skills could be at an end as internet recruitment sites continue to flourish.
Despite the demise of the internet clothing giant boo.com, which gave rise to rumblings about the end of the internet boom, online careers services are expected to play a big role for job seekers in the future.
A study conducted recently by Continental Research on behalf of Monster.co.uk found that 44% of those who have been in the job market for the past five years have at some point used the internet as part of their search process. Usage appeared to be strongest amongst the under 25's and there was evidence that men used online recruitment facilities more often than women.
Continental Research also found that those who used the internet for job searching in the past are now likely to turn to it again for information about job markets, with 32% citing the internet as opposed to 20% for both local and national papers.
The respondents for the research comprised regular users of the internet – defined as using the internet at home or work on at least a monthly basis, and who were either in, or were looking for, full or part-time work.
But where does a new user begin? Type "jobs" into an internet search engine and the list of results is endless. Most allow you to browse the jobs in your area of expertise and invite you to register to hear about future vacancies. Are you expected to register with each and every one of them ?
According to Jayne Coles of Lime Street Recruitment, if you are looking for a specialist job such as "underwriter" or "claims technical controller" you would be better off checking out specialist recruitment sites. Richard Griffiths of Hays Inter-Selection agrees. He says: "What you have at the moment is the big internet sites which are advertised everywhere, but are like high street agencies. People working in this industry need to be looking at the specialist recruitment sites.
"Online sites I think will grow because most people find it difficult to enquire about jobs during working hours and the internet allows them to shop after hours. That means more people looking for jobs and more jobs becoming available. We spent £8m on our internet site and we believe it is a worthwhile investment. Of course the growth of the internet means that companies will advertise their own jobs on their own sites – but whether they are worthwhile depends on how much money is ploughed into them."
And Mark Farrimond technical director of newly created www.justinsurance jobs says that a number of insurance companies have said that they have had a poor response from general recruitment sites – as they are lost among thousands of other unrelated industries.
Another specialist insurance site is currently being launched called search-direct –
www.search-direct.com – part of the eBridge group. The site works on the basis that no recruitment consultancies are involved. People can register on an anoymous basis and fill in a profile of themesleves. They can either see what jobs are availble or can wait for a potential employer to look for them. So it works both as an online recruitment service and online headhunting service.
With estimates that 100 million CVs will be circulating on the internet in the next ten years, are niche sites, therefore, the answer?
Griffiths concludes: "The first stage was sites in general, now there is a growth in specialist sites. The next stage will be niche sites with career services available – such as salary information, and tips for interviews which many job seekers will find extremely helpful."