Welcome to the digital jobcentre

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Looking for a job can be an expensive and time consuming business. You have to tailor application letters, rejig CVs and buy bumper packs of A4 envelopes.When the standard rejection letter flops through the letter box it hardly seems adequate recompense for all the effort. Perhaps that's why the internet is proving to be an effective medium for employers and would-be employees.

David Brown, managing director of Gisajob, says that after just eight months of trading his internet-based job search company has registered 53,000 jobs. "Job seekers register with us free of charge and post their CVs on the site. Clients, who can add as many vacancies as they like, can then browse for suitable candidates and make contact independently."

Given the medium, it's no surprise that IT vacancies are the most prolific at Gisajob. But Mr Brown foresees a change. "In the beginning the net was for geeks. Now it's a tool for business. Next I see it becoming a household item, a part of the family."

About 5,000 new vacancies come in daily, up to 10 per cent of them from outside the UK. Around 100 new CVs arrive each day, a quarter of them from abroad.

Peoplebank offers a similar service but with a twist; applicants complete a personality profile. The four-page reports generated from the tests are generally accurate.

Not all job hunters want full-time employment, and while Peoplebank and Gisajob have freelance vacancies, those looking for less of a commitment might consider Contract Employment Weekly's site. Greg Erickson, the magazine's director of operations, says its internet site has clients and contractors all over the world, though the majority come from the US. "Several staffing agencies have been with us for many years, with Kelly, Manpower and Comforce among them. We do charge a subscription fee, but then, contract workers are likely to need to return to us."

Freelancers could also look at the US-based site of Creative Freelancers on line. The only drawback with this one is that users have to pay to advertise.

Often, internet users will need to go no further than their service provider when looking for work. Both AOL and Compuserve have careers advice and jobs pages. Lineone, a smaller, UK provider,offers advice, case studies, classified ads and CV postings. It also archives employment- related articles from major newspapers.

While Lineone's job hunt service is tame compared to Gisajob and Peoplebank, it compensates with a link to TopJobs on the internet and its offshoot TopGrads. These have sections dedicated to international and UK vacancies. Its brief job descriptions can be expanded to included information such as contact details.

It is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of job hunting on the internet. Some people contact the websites to thank them. Most do not. Fewer still complain if it hasn't worked for them.

One areas where electronic job hunting falls down is that most sites have search engines that compare key words in job descriptions with those on CVs. They do not actually read them.

Mr Brown suggests making several searches or registering several times using different wording. While some sites allow you to look for several criteria, keywords, salaries or locations at once, others do not. Remember too, that while some people may call a teacher a teacher others may refer to them as presenters, trainers, tutors or lecturers.

Job hunters are only as successful as their skills and experience,websites are as effective as their navigators.

For more information contact:www.gisajob.com; www.ceweekly. com/; www.peoplebank.com; www. freelancers.com; www.topjobs.com or www.jobsunlimited.com