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Job Hunting Goes High Tech

Despite feeble economy, Stanford graduates are flooding Internet with employment resources.

Jobs, money, unemployment and economy are the topics on everybody's minds these days, but some Stanford graduates are taking these rough times to generate business ideas and resources to help themselves and hundreds of others in the Bay Area and nationwide.

The California unemployment rate is at a whopping 12.8 percent, according to a July report from California's Employment Development Department. Specifically, Santa Clara County alone is at 11.4 percent. Neighboring counties are staying close with San Mateo County at 9.4 percent, Santa Cruz County at 11.4 percent, San Francisco County at 9.7 percent, and Monterey County at 10.8 percent.

One job site taking the online world by storm and hoping to reduce these dismal unemployment numbers is Jobnob.com, founded by Stanford Business School Graduate Julie Greenberg and Alan Shusterman. 

Jobnob features thousands of job listings to connect prospective employees with employers, in particular with startup companies, according to Julie Greenberg, co-founder. 

More than 15 years after job postings were first available online, Greenberg said there are still ways "to bridge the gaps between job seekers and employers."

Greenberg said her own startup involves several components: online usage of profiles and messaging, in-person job fair events and upcoming virtual events where employers can speak to colleges across the nation over the computer.

Michele Colucci, founder of MyLawsuit.com, takes great use of Jobnob's resources and advantage. Several of her team members come from the events hosted by Jobnob, Colucci said.

Before the Internet was as prevalent as it is today, "the way you found jobs was mostly who you know. Today it is what you know – the resources you know, like LinkedIn," Colucci said.

"We just think [Jobnob] is a great source of talent," Colucci said.

Noa Santos, who graduated in June with a degree in Science, Technology and Society, said he has gotten most of his jobs through online social networks.

Santos found the job he currently holds in New York working for an interior design firm by "friending" somebody on Facebook and, down the line, getting introduced to someone successful in the industry.

"Over half of the people get the jobs they want through personal connections," said Santos. 

Santos had a Web site startup in the works, as well, but decided to fold the idea when he found something more up his alley. His original idea was to have a site that helped put students in touch with internship opportunities and startup companies. 

A few other Stanford graduates have sites for helping prospective employees in the works, but they are not ready to go public with the ideas and models yet.

"A lot of people are frankly so surprised that [unemployment] is so high in Silicon Valley. But, if you look at it, Silicon Valley is hugely dependent on how well the rest of the country is doing," said Kris Stadelman, director at NOVA, an employment and training agency serving Northern Santa Clara County cities, including Palo Alto. 

Stadelman said NOVA teaches "networking and classes in LinkedIn and have a LinkedIn group for [its] customers that local recruiters are allowed to visit for skill set searches."

She was just as curious about the changes in job searches as the graduates developing new resources. 

"We are also in the process of a study of social media, how it is used for recruiting and what social media skills employers need in their employees," Stadelman said.

According to many, including Greenberg, in this new field of jobs to find jobs, this is just the beginning of the public accepting new uses for technology, especially if these new sites will help them find jobs. 

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