I think I can safely say that one hundred years ago most everyone worked on a farm, ran a small business, or worked in the local factory. Everyone was busy making or growing something or selling something tangible. There were also people in service jobs (waitresses and waiters, travel agents, butlers, and maids). In those days, people expected to work at the same job for years and then retire, hopefully with a pension. If someone did lose their job, they would turn to the want ads in the local newspaper or look for jobs posted on a corkboard outside the gates of a factory. Just like today, they might be told about a job opening by a friend, even before it becomes public knowledge. Even though there are still want ads in newspapers and friends still help friends find a job, there is a new way to find a job thanks to the internet.
We now live in an age of information instead of tangible goods. The internet plays a big part in this information age. It only makes sense that companies can advertise and we can find jobs on the internet. This may be news to you if you have not tried to find a new job lately. You can now browse dozens of job posting websites from your home computer or at your local library, if you don't have a home computer. There is a partial list of job posting websites in the left column of this page.
Most of these job posting websites can be browsed by location (city and state or zip code), by distance from that location (within x number of miles), by keywords (writer, plumber, taxi driver), and by category (accounting, information technology, truck driving). All these filters make it possible to filter or focus a job search such that only viable possibilities are displayed. After all, if the job seeker lives in Idaho he or she does not want to consider jobs in California or Argentina. However, all possibilities can be easily displayed if the search is set up correctly.
While job posting websites make it possible for job seekers to find job postings, many of them make it possible for employers to find potential job candidates. Any job posting website worth its salt allows job seekers to set up a profile that is saved on the website's database. These profiles usually contain name, address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, email address, area of expertise, and a copy of the job seeker's résumé. Of course, some of this information, like telephone number, can be hidden from public view. Some job posting websites, such as CareerBuilder.com, will even send periodic lists of job possibilities (based on your profile settings) in an email.
Online job posting websites make it possible to broadcast a job seeker's qualifications and résumé to hundreds of potential employers. On the other hand, employers now get hundreds of responses for each job posting. Therefore, employers no doubt have their own filtering process to reduce the number of possibilities they have to consider. Just as Human Resources people once scanned a pile of paper résumés for key words or phrases, they can now scan digital résumés and profiles for keywords or phrases.
I have seen reports that show increases and decreases in job and résumé postings online, but I am not sure it is possible to say what percentage of jobs are found by using online job posting websites. As a contractor, I have worked at many companies in the last decade or so, but I have only had three employers. Of those three employers, I connected with one through a job posting website. That means I have found one-third of my jobs online.
Finding a job online is only possible because we now have the world wide web, the internet. It is just an additional tool that job seeker's should use in their quest to find their next job. Job seekers should use online job posting websites, newspaper ads, job postings at clubs or places of worship, and, my favorite, their social network.