Imagine that your mission was to dive and retrieve a golden apple. You are given a choice. You can jump into the Atlantic Ocean on a stormy day and look for it. Or you can jump into a small pool with clean water and a lifeguard and look for it. What would you do? Anybody in their right mind would choose the second option. However, when it comes to look for a job online, I am still surprised about the number of people who chooses the first.
Like countless undergraduate students, two friends of mine decided to use Internet to look for part-time jobs. They had the added difficulty that they were foreign and newly arrived to England. No, I do not mean that they were going to be discriminated against (luckily for me, I have never experienced that). I mean that the working conditions and the paperwork required vary enormously from one country to another, so they were going to need some guidance. The first girl put an advert in a generic website where, as well as offering or searching for work, you could also sell and buy things, find out about events, etc. She only got dodgy phone calls from dirty old men asking for massages or offering her to do “glamour” photos. The second girl went to her university webpage, where she found a site specialised in jobs for students. She immediately got a position tailored to what she needed, as a barmaid during the weekends. The site was powered by the students’ union. When her wages got delayed because of a work permit problem, the union provided her with advice about her rights and the documents she needed to give her employer. Moreover, they told her that they would book her an appointment with a support worker if she still remained unpaid. It ended not being necessary, but it was relief to know that somebody was there to help.
My two friends’ experience taught me that the keywords when looking for work online are: specific and tangible. Internet provides immense resources, but they become useless unless you know how to classify them and where to look. On the other hand, Internet is a virtual world. We should all remember that “virtual” also means “simulated”. Anybody could say anything or pretend to be anybody: there was once an advert offering work from home putting letters in envelopes. When I replied, they demanded some money to send me “the method”. I never wrote back, and I found out later that it was a scam. A webpage run by your local council or by a university has more guarantees to be genuine.
I had thought that this topic was perhaps too obvious to dedicate it a post. After all, if you are reading this blog, it is because you are users of this specific webpage, powered by the very tangible University of Warwick. Then, I spoke to a work colleague, a language teacher with several years of experience. She was seeking a more stable and better paid job, but was puzzled about how to get it. I was shocked to find out that she did not know that our local council has a web page where you can search for specific jobs in education (not only teaching, but also learning support, technicians, assistants…). She was also unaware that The Times (an established and, therefore, reliable newspaper) has an educational supplement with job offers divided by sectors and subjects.
Your CV is your passport to your livelihood, so treat it with care. Send it only to places you can trust. Good fishing.