In the past few years, the employment rate in the United States has dropped sharply. Pictures of lines at job fairs have become commonplace in daily news. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in North Carolina, the unemployment rate for November 2009 was at 10.8 percent, which equals about 487,631 people. This is a small drop from May 2009 where the rate peaked at 11.1 percent.
While attending job fairs is still a strong method to network and find a job, the Internet can also provide several networking opportunities. The website LinkedIn, which was founded in May 2003 by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Eric Ly, and Konstantin Guericke, has become a leader in online job networking. In its sixth year of business, LinkedIn has 40 million members from all over the world. These members also include all executive members of Fortune 500 companies.
LinkedIn becomes a virtual resume, detailing employment history, education, and can even link a Twitter account to the profile. Former employers and co-workers can post recommendations on the profile to further strengthen the profile. LinkedIn is also a job search engine, and will automatically search for jobs within the area specified. For Asheville, it will search in the surrounding areas, or in a radius according to your specifications.
If a job is found, LinkedIn also provides an opportunity to see if employees of a certain company are members of LinkedIn, so that even further recommendations and contacts can be created. In a culture where finding a job relies more on networking, this is a vital addition that other job search engines such as CareerBuilder or Monster do not provide.
While competition for jobs is still high, especially in Asheville, using LinkedIn along with attending job fairs can provide a strong attack on the job market. With the Internet becoming more of a vital tool in day to day life, having a strong profile on a website that features thousands of businesses and millions of members can provide another good way to network and get your name out there in the job field.