The last time I searched for a job, Bill Clinton was president, eBay was in its infancy and people were dancing the "Macarena." I was in my last semester at college and eagerly looking forward to starting a career.
The economy was in pretty good shape in the spring of 1996, and a significant number of companies came to campus to interview and hire graduating seniors. The career center at my university was a huge help, and before I graduated, I had a job with a human-resources consulting firm in Chicago.
After seven years with that firm, I gave birth to our first son and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. As our boys have grown, I've eased my way back into the working world. I do Internet marketing and copy editing for my husband's company a few hours a week, and I write this column.
But it's been 15 years since I updated my résumé and had a face-to-face job interview. I'm a bit anxious about this job search.
So much about the search process has changed. The initial steps can be completely electronic now. Career resources, such as examples of résumés and cover letters and career and personality tests, abound online. So do job listings.
I've explored job search engines like monster.com and careerbuilder.com. I was amazed at the number of job listings. If I search for jobs on careerbuilder.com, just with my ZIP code and no keywords like job category, 1,348 jobs are found. That underscores the need to focus on exactly what type of job I want.
Networking has changed tremendously during the past 15 years as well. I don't have a Facebook page, but I set up an account on LinkedIn, a business-related networking site.
While a lot has changed since I was 22 and looking for a job, some things remain the same. I will still customize cover letters and go to in-person interviews. Networking with people personally and not underestimating word-of-mouth in finding a job remains important. Being hired is still about being a good fit.
I imagine there will be some ups and downs. I have an employment gap to explain and I'm looking for a job with some flexibility. But I remember the excitement of getting the job offer that was a great fit for me back then, and I'm hopeful that at the end of this search I'll have that same feeling.
E-mail Kelley Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org