Launched in September 1999, eWork Exchange is a Web site developed by a San Francisco-based company striving to provide more than just an online job board. The site not only lists thousands of projects for independent consultants, it also offers an extensive set of tools to help you both find and conduct business online.
It’s difficult to determine the total number of projects listed on the exchange, but according to statistics on the home page, more than 179,000 people have registered with the site, and it has succeeded in making more than 67,000 project work connections.
Registering with the site is an easy five- to 15-minute process. First, you create an online skills profile that includes a 75-word summary of your professional experience. You also can list your rates and availability. You highlight your area of expertise by selecting up to two fields from a list that includes business consultant, software development, database, system administration/networking, engineering, writing and editing, Web design, Web development, Web development-database, and marketing.
Next, you broaden the description of your experience by selecting three specific skills within your area of expertise. For example, a systems administrator might indicate that he or she has experience with hardware configuration, help desk management, and troubleshooting. If your skills don’t appear on the list, you can enter them in a blank text field. You also can indicate whether you’re looking for an on-site project or one where you telecommute. And you can create an online resume through an interactive wizard.
Registering with eWork Exchange creates your own My eWork interface, which you can access through a tab on the site’s home page. My eWork gives you instant access to projects that match the criteria listed in your profile. The exchange uses proprietary software to process all the criteria you entered, determine the matches, and rank them in order of relevance. You can save matches to a short list if you want to think about them for a while, or you can click the Contact button, which sends an e-mail or a My eWork message to the project manager. The project manager can then accept or decline your invitation to match.
Once both sides have accepted a potential match, the exchange releases contact information so the interviewing process can begin. You can use the online interviewing forum in My eWork or interview offline.
Besides using your My eWork page to monitor matching activity, you can have the site notify you by e-mail when you have a match request and when a match is accepted or declined. If your skills profile is inactive for 30 days, it becomes dormant.
Registering and creating one profile is free. Additional profiles listed concurrently cost $25 each. To view sample profiles, click on “Browse the Exchange” on the home page and enter a skill, select people or projects, and click on “Search.” Use the advanced search to find sample profiles that match your specific skills and location criteria.
To help you conduct business online, eWork Exchange offers several optional services and online tools in three areas: eWorking, eWork Services, and Training. Pricing is based on the specific services you select:
- The eWorking area includes virtual office tools such as an online meeting center, a group calendar, and a free Web site management service. The eWorking TimeTracker is a Web-based tool that can help you track your business activities and expenses. The basic TimeTracker service is free. You can also sign up for premium services.
- The eWork Services area offers help with invoicing, collection, and other administrative tasks. It also offers pay options for independent contractors (1099 or W-2 classification) and the opportunity to participate in group health and retirement plans.
- The eWork Training area offers online and in-class curriculums. Through partnerships with Headlight.com and click2learn.com, eWork offers certification courses for all major computer-industry vendors.
A virtual tour of eWork Exchange is available on the site. If you need more information, you can send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you used eWork Exchange to find jobs and advance your career? Did you find the site helpful? Post a comment below or send us a note.