In this day and age, there is an online forum for everything – cooking, classical music and of course, careers! You’ll find plenty of advice and support about your job search and career development by signing up with a discussion board on the Internet, most of the larger resume and career service websites offer them. Here you can connect with people just like yourself, all over the world in real time. Some have been laid off, others are looking to make a 180 degree career change and others are looking to enter the workforce for the first time.
Often, being out of work and looking for a job can make a person feel isolated and hopeless. You don’t have the day-to-day camaraderie found in the office place and the time in between sending out resumes and landing an interview can feel painfully long. But, if you join an online career forum, you will instantly be connected to thousands and thousands of people in your same boat who are looking for support, advice, networking and even friendship. You may finally get your answer to how to deal with inappropriate interview questions to how to run envelopes through your printer or how to start freelancing to the ins and outs of working for a temp agency. Who knows, you might even meet a person who can help you in your job hunt.
When signing up for an online career forum it is best to keep your public identity private. Create an anonymous user name and avatar that does not directly identify who you are; if you are currently employed, there is always the possibility that a co-worker or higher-up may be surfing the same forum. You may also want to get a separate email from one of the many free services like Yahoo! mail, Gmail, or hotmail. Also, like all other social media, don’t post anything online that would come back to haunt you. A good litmus test is to ask “would this embarrass me if my mother/employer/friend saw it”; if in doubt, don’t post!