Guest Commentary: How I Got This Incredible Job over the Internet--Almost Without Leaving my Living Room

What a great time to be in IT-or to at least want to be in IT. There are about a gazillion jobs out there. The catch? Most of these jobs call for about ten years of e-commerce experience.

But I didn't let that stop me. I wanted a high-tech job and I got one--a great one. And I did it all by wire, over the 'Net. I, who am barely cyber-literate, dot-commed my way to a new position-in my pajamas.

How can anyone lose? There's no shortage of sites out there. Headhunter web pages. Job Fair web pages. Fortune 500 web pages with "career" buttons galore. Just point, click, tap out a few keystrokes, and you're only mouse-moves away from a $90K/year plus bonus position.

There are a few obstacles, of course, but nothing the cyber-savvy professional can't overcome. One web site wanted me to list my job skills. Being an honest guy, I entered "COBOL and JCL", whereupon I was immediately linked to a career opportunity as "fry master" for a fast food chain.

Another pesky page ( or something similar) demanded that I build an elaborate online resume. I usually like to embellish a bit on a resume, but mine wound-up just a third of a page since I pay $4.95/hour for Internet access and "Ally McBeal" was coming on in 15 minutes.

One headhunter's home page subjected me to a dreaded "Online Personality Test" that included a list of 20 humbling, dangerous, toe-the-line questions such as, "Would you rather work 80 hours a week like everyone else, or go home at 5:00 PM you lazy bum?"

But the upside was that within an hour I had submitted eight resumes. (I've spent more time than that waiting to speak to the "next available representative.") My resume was out there. I was in cyberspace. I was an online applicant.

And that very week-I got phone-mail! Someone was interested. They wanted to see me (although they weren't crazy about my 80-hour answer.) They even set up a little prospective applicant chatroom that allowed me to submit questions online to three employees. (That was pretty neat. Unfortunately, I have a 2400-baud modem and I think they all fell asleep.)

Sure, at one point I had to put on a suit, go to an interview and sign a few forms. But they did take me out to lunch in the company cafeteria, where I had an excellent meatball sub (most of which, unfortunately, rolled out of the sandwich and onto the linoleum except for the one that I discovered in my pantscuff halfway through my interview with Sally from Accounting.)

The bottom line is that I got the offer. My cyber-search paid off. The money is great, and the location is great. The system was flawless, even for me! I haven't taken the job yet, but I'm thinking about it. They're giving me time to decide. But, the best part of it all? There's a job out there just waiting for me if I want it.

Unless, of course, they read this article. Then I'm toast.

Mike Cohn is a former Y2K consultant, and will soon be glad to be doing anything else.

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