What the .Jobs Domain Means for Job Seekers

Network of sites under universe.jobs is yet another place to search for openings.

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The job-search community is buzzing over how a new network of websites at the .jobs domain will affect employers, who can list openings there for free, and other job boards, whose business models rely on companies that pay to list jobs. But largely left out of the conversation is what these 40,000 websites and their umbrella site, universe.jobs, mean for job seekers.

So today we're answering the question you really care about: If you're job-hunting, are the .jobs sites worth your while?

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While the project has great potential, particularly because the domain is likely to rank high in Google search results, online job-search experts say the sites don't yet offer anything job seekers can't find elsewhere.

"It's not a great leap forward in terms of the job seeker's experience," says Chris Russell, a job board consultant and CEO of AllCountyJobs.com. "They're just duplicating content ... There are already too many job boards out there."

Finding a .jobs site that fits your needs is as easy as typing your occupation into your browser—say, for example, nursing or engineering —and adding .jobs rather than .com. You can also search by city: austin.jobs or washingtondc.jobs or seattle.jobs. City-occupation combinations like seattlenursing.jobs are expected to be live by the end of this week.

Click on one of the thousands of posts on those pages, and universe.jobs will redirect you to the listing on the employer's website, rather than asking you to apply through their system like some popular job boards. Others job-search sites, like SimplyHired for example, already offer that feature.

"We don't have an application database, so the job seeker applies directly to the company's website, which is exactly what employers want," says Bill Warren, executive director of DirectEmployers Association, which manages the .jobs domain. Ironically, he's also one of the founders of Monster.com, one of the companies that tried to block Warren's association from building out the top-level domain. (Warren left Monster.com in 1999 after serving as president, he says.)

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Career coaches often advise job seekers to steer clear of job boards—or at least avoid using them as their sole tool—and instead focus on networking or other more targeted approaches. Companies sometimes receive hundreds or thousands of resumes in response to job-board listings, which means a candidate's application might get lost in the shuffle. Networking and building a brand online may be more effective because it encourages your contacts to come to you with opportunities before they're posted on job boards.

DirectEmployers Association, a non-profit trade group of employers, is funding the venture with member dues, which run $15,000 annually, Warren says. But even non-member employers can list open positions on the site at no charge. That's appealing for small businesses, who often can't afford to post job openings on well-known boards like CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com, which typically charge several hundred dollars per post.

"Companies put less than 10 percent of their jobs on commercial job boards because of the cost," Warren says.

Because it's free, .jobs sites include positions that aren't listed anywhere else, Warren says. The automated websites scrape jobs from about 6,000 company sites, and 41 state workforce agencies upload jobs as well, resulting in more than 752,000 positions. About two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies list their openings on universe.jobs, he estimates.

But the network of sites does not include positions from some companies that are listed on other well-known job boards, largely because DirectEmployers Association asks for permission from each employer before scraping their site. "Right now it's fairly limited in terms of the employers who are represented and the cities and states represented," says Brad Schepp, co-author of How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Other Social Networks. "[But job seekers] should keep their eye on what's going on with this site, because the potential is tremendous."