The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Tuesday, February 25, 2003


I've been job hunting since early January -- though I for all I have to show for my efforts, I could have stepped onto my deck every morning, yelled "Experienced Java Engineer Needs Work", and gone back to my Civilization III game.

My previous job hunts have been in 1992, and several times in 1995, 1996, and 1997. In the mid-90's the economy was strong and I had recruiters doing all the work for me. Not since 1992 have I had to perform a job search on my own. Back then the major vehicle for communicating job openings was the San Jose Mercury News Sunday classified. Now of course everything is done online. I picked up a Sunday rag a few weeks back and there were three entries for software engineering jobs. (Not that my $1.25 was wasted; a comic was funny, which in the post-Watterson era probably happens as often as I look for new work.)

I have used three online job sites and I will rate them.

Monster is the most famous but also the least effective. There are not many software engineering jobs, and applying for a job is badly designed: You cannot write an ad-hoc cover letter. Monster's idea is that you write up to five cover letters and send one with your application, but what good is that? Who wants to send out a generic cover letter? When I send an application I want to be able to grease the skids with a list of their requirements and my amazing skills in those areas; I don't want some clunky generic letter saying "I would be an ideal candidate for your product or service."

HotJobs has about the same number of jobs as Monster, which is to say not many. HotJobs allows you to write ad hoc cover letters. I rate HotJobs as having the best interface of the job sites.

Dice is oriented toward Bay Area technology professionals. It has a lot of jobs, and the interface is reasonable. The only objection I have to Dice is that it does not send you a confirmation email after you apply for a listed job. (Monster and HotJobs both do this.)


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