'Jobtrak' Offers Tools For Efficient Employment Searches

Today's graduates have the option of using different job-hunting tools than those available to previous classes.

One of the more powerful tools is Jobtrak, an Internet service that lists job openings, allows college students to search for employment and submit their resumes via the World Wide Web at www.jobtrak.com.

By inputting their college ID numbers, Harvard students are allowed access to a powerful search engine that classifies job listings by date listed, geographical location, industry and level of experience.

Recruiters often praise the efficiency of the Jobtrak service, citing their ability to specify which schools can access their listings by filing out a single set of paperwork.

"It's been a great service," said Rachel E. Pearson, a staff assistant in health policy at the School of Public Health. "The response has been tremendous."

Jobtrak is also a convenient service for students who are applying for a large number of positions.

"From conversations I have had, the nice thing to be able to do is search by parameter. The ability to search by date is helpful," said Susan Vacca, director of the Harvard Office of Career Services (OCS).

Nancy M. Wallace, resource coordinator at the Kennedy School, said her students appreciate Jobtrak's 24-hour availability. Along with its efficiency, Ken Ramberg, who is a partner in Jobtrak, said the strong economy also led to Jobtrak's 95 percent increase in job listings over the past year. Companies needed this targeted approach to recruiting because of the low unemployment level, according to Ramberg.

Ramberg also cited the popularity of Jobtrak's resume submission service among recruiters. Students can select an option on the job listings that sends their resumes to a company via e-mail.

"This is a fairly new service. 50,000 resumes have been posted," Ramberg said. "I think its going to replace people sending in hand copies of their resumes because its so much more efficient...maybe four years down the road."

Jacob Farmer, a recruiter for Cambridge Computer Services, said he prefers paper resumes, however.

"Mail merged cover letters and unformatted ASCII text tell me nothing about an individual's presentation skills and personal style," Farmer said.

Farmer said he would like career service offices to use the money saved by Jobtrak to increase the personal counseling offered to students.

"The best thing about Jobtrak is that it frees the college career services office from the burden of storing and presenting information about companies who are actively recruiting," Farmer said.

"This hopefully leaves them time to help students find alternative opportunities that are not presented to them on silver platters," Farmer added, referring to the challenge recruiting poses to small companies aiming to expand quickly.

Jobtrak at the University

Though Harvard initially refers recruiters to Jobtrak, OCS will keep hard copies of job listings in a binder if asked.

Harvard charges its alumni $25 for three months of access to Jobtrak, even though the University itself pays no fee for the service.

"There are administrative costs associated with assigning them passwords. We need to verify that the individual is indeed an alum of the College or GSAS," Vacca said. "There have been a couple of cases where we have waved the fee and asked them to pay when they can."

"We really do want to make it possible for people to have access," she added.

Most colleges, including Stanford and Yale Universities, do not charge alums for Jobtrak access.

Administrators at Dartmouth College, which charges a fee similar to Harvard's, said it did not offer alums any career services before this year.

"We budgetarily and service-wise did not charge alumni. This [new] charge allows us to serve them," said an official at Dartmouth's career services.

Normally, all the resources of Harvard's OCS are available to alums without a charge.

Kevin J. Harrington, director of the Graduate School of Education's career services, says the school will begin using the service on June 15 and hopes the timeliness of the job listings will enhance their effectiveness.

Previously, the school issued a biweekly newsletter with job listings, but it will now charge alums the same amount to use Jobtrak as it did for a newsletter subscription.

"[Jobtrak] will be a lot more convenient for people who are far afield to access," Harrington said.

The Business School presently does not use Jobtrak, but the career services' co-Director Kirsten J. Moss said the school hopes to join the service next fall when the listings had expanded further.