Unemployment hovers at historical lows, while the technology industry bemoans thousands of vacancies. Employers’ desperation creates a great atmosphere for launching a job search.

If the thought of networking is unsettling, and you don’t really know where to begin, the various online job boards and Web sites might be a good starting place. Targeted job boards can help ensure that you’re not just discovered but discovered by the right people.

Just for techies
These Web sites are designed specifically for IT professionals.

  • Techies.com: Ranked the #1 technology career site by PC Week, Techies provides a lot more than job listings and a place to post your resume. Techies’ search engine allows you to customize your query, and the comprehensive registration process lets you create your “techfolio.”
    Candidates designate which companies may access their information and what sort of “techalert” job e-mail they wish to receive. The site includes meaty company profiles, career help and advice, and online training covering both technical and nontechnical subjects.
  • Vault.com: Vault features a variety of opportunities for feedback and interaction. The Electronic Watercooler message boards are company-specific, giving job seekers a chance to really peek inside a corporate culture. Am I Worthy? lets professionals post their experience and qualifications. That information is rated by peers who help you chart your earnings potential. Vault also offers in-depth reports on more than 50 industries and 3,000 companies along with a job board containing thousands of listings.
  • Dice.com: If you have a very specific sort of job in mind, Dice has a job search for you. You can restrict your results geographically (even by metro area or telecommuting jobs), area code, and job type. Dice posts your availability for employers after you have completed a detailed survey that includes objectives, desired employment type, pay, location, and skills. Create a streamlined job-seeker profile to get e-mail notification of new jobs that meet your skills and needs. The site also hosts several relocation and salary tools, including MeasureUp to help IT workers prepare for certification exams.
  • ComputerJobs.com: ComputerJobs organizes opportunities and content into 18 vertical skills sets and 19 major metropolitan areas. The focus here is on the job listings. My ComputerJobs matches your profile to jobs in designated areas that require specific skill sets. Consultants can add their profile to the Consultant’s Corner section.

PeopleScape CEO Ben Slick offers these words of caution and advice for Internet job seekers:Do your homework: Research potential employers as if you are investing in the company. Avoid blind ads, and concentrate on companies and job openings that match your needs and experience.Protect your information: Online resumes should not include your address, telephone number, or home e-mail address. Instead, set up new e-mail and voice mail accounts that can be cancelled if they become inundated.Study job boards: Although job listings on Internet sites may not be the best way to find a new position, job boards are a good place to jump-start your search. If you don’t mind being contacted by recruiters, job boards are a good place to test the effectiveness of your resume.Set realistic goals: Job search sites are a good place to start, but set realistic goals. At worst, they will give you information about the types of jobs that are available. At best, you could land a great new position.
The biggies
These two sites are possibly the most well-known on the net and are more general in scope.

  • Monster: The granddaddy of job sites boasts nearly half a million job openings. The site’s community dedicated to technology workers offers articles on technology topics, with a heavy slant toward training. You can customize up to five agents that generate daily e-mail listings of job openings that match your criteria.
    Monster’s privacy options are a handy feature. You can make your resume public, block certain companies from viewing it, or keep it completely private and use it only when applying for positions online. Candidates can create up to five different resumes and cover letters to help you streamline your communications efforts. The site hosts daily chat sessions covering job search topics such as interviewing and negotiating tips. Job Seeker Resources include general job search advice and extensive company profiles, which appear to be focused on finances and may be more helpful to prospective investors than prospective employees.
  • HotJobs: HotJobs lets you search by keyword, industry, or location. The Hot Jobs 411 link gives you information beyond typical job search tips including advice on relocating and a frank discussion of employee benefits. For fun, you may want to check out the site’s collection of humorous articles and cartoons.

Going solo
Consultancy and freelance work is gaining in popularity. Workers like the independence, and employers have work that needs to be done. Looking for projects is easy. Big sites, such as Monster and ComputerJobs, have sections dedicated to consultants and freelancers, while other sites, including Ants and FreeAgent, function as project bidding boards for a variety of industries.
What was your experience like? Did you get a job or learn anything worthwhile? Did the site live up to the hype? Send us an e-mail and let us know.