LABOR DEPT. REVS ITS NEW SEARCH ENGINE, SAYS IT WILL HELP JOBSEEKERS CUSTOMIZE RESUMES
By Stacy Jones/Star-Ledger
January 20, 2012
Landing an interview and landing in the recycling bin can depend on how job applicants sells their skills and experience.
People who have been unemployed for a long time can have an especially hard time convincing a potential employer they’re worthy of a job title that’s not already on their resume.
That’s where OnRamp comes in.
The New Jersey Department of Labor showed off its new job search engine yesterday at the One-Stop Career Center on Broad Street in Newark. Jobseekers can use the search engine, which appears on Jobs4Jersey.com, to comb through listings on 2,4000 websites, and next month employers will be able to post openings to OnRamp directly.
Labor commissioner Harold Wirths and workforce field operations director Paul Macchia said the system will help jobseekers identify positions that match their skills and customize their resumes for each employer’s requirements.
“Our old system matched you with your old job title, but that doesn’t help if your industry is gone,” Paul Macchia, director of the division of workforce field operations, said yesterday. “If you used to work at Eastman Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy this morning, you’re going to have a hard time finding another job as a film chemist.”
In another example, he said that New Jersey’s building and cosntruction industry has experienced a 25 percent to 50 percent unemployment rate since new home starts plummeted during the recession.
If someone who spent 10 years working with heavy machinery used OnRamp to create a resume, Macchia said, it could help them market that experience to companies that sell or repair the machines they’re so familiar with.
“We are developing tools to link people to jobs in New Jersey,” said Wirths. “We could have thrown everything but the kitchen sink into OnRamp, but we didn’t do that. We were going for quality and simplicity.”
And there are plenty of people looking. Just hours earlier the state announced that its unemployment rate had dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 9 percent.
As of yesterday more than 30,000 people had uploaded their resumes to the OnRamp site since it went live in November, he said. It currently lists 80,000 in-state positions and 250,000 jobs in neighboring states.
OnRamp “spiders” or cultivates listings from 2,400 employment sites like Monster.com and catalogs them in its database, breaking apart job listings to make them searchable by the skills required.
Job agencies unaffiliated with the state will be allowed to post job openings and help jobseekers create accounts on the system after they sign an agreement that prohibits them from charging people money for access to OnRamp or its listings, said Macchia.
The state worked with Burning Glass Technologies, a Boston-based company that specializes in creating systems to match people with jobs, to revamp its 10-year-old employment database.
“So far it’s been working well, we’re able help more people look for work,” said Twanna Brewer of Newark.
She’s been a resume workshop facilitators at the Newark re-employment center for two years and said that customers appreciate the ability to tweak and reword their resume for different positions.
For now the site’s services will be available to job seekers, said Macchia. The labor department has started showing off its new system to New Jersey employers.
“We want to test it and work out the kinks with job seekers,” said Macchia. “When we open it up to employers, each of the career centers will have a business rep to help with listings.”