RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
With the nearly 15 million people out work last month, according to the latest government unemployment report, that's a lot of people competing for a limited number of jobs. Some are turning to a new generation of job search Web sites that claim to play matchmaker. And as NPRs Tamara Keith found, it may not be love at first sight.
TAMARA KEITH: Michalyn Bauman has been actively job hunting for about a year. And in that time shes applied for a lot of jobs.
Ms. MICHALYN BAUMAN: Oh, I would say at least 100 jobs, here and there, for my experience and then below my experience too. Just trying to find something. Its a tough market.
KEITH: And applying for all those jobs has been a bit like throwing resumes into a black hole, with very few nibbles or even automated responses. Shed like to find a marketing job at a medical devices company near her home in Orange County, California.
That's what Bauman was doing before she took off a couple of years to raise her kids. But now her husband is out of work too, and the job search is getting urgent. Every day she visits four or five job search sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.
Ms. BAUMAN: It's pretty much the same. You see the same jobs posted everywhere.
KEITH: Along with a few legit prospects, Bauman says these sites are full of offers for degrees from mail-order universities and sales opportunities with�Avon.
Ms. BAUMAN: You start getting exhausted just filtering through the junk.
KEITH: For the last month or so, her daily job search has included a visit to one of the newer job matching sites. Its called Jobfox.
Ms. BAUMAN: I like this site a lot. I think its really clean, which is a positive.
KEITH: Though she says shed like it even more if it led to a job or even an interview.
The founder of Jobfox is Rob McGovern.
Mr. ROB MCGOVERN (Jobfox.com): Were kind of like eHarmony, but for jobs.
KEITH: McGovern started CareerBuilder back in the 90s. He says job search algorithms have come a long way since then.
Mr. MCGOVERN: You know, when the first search engines came along, you had to be a search expert. You had to do this thing called Boolean search to put search terms in and really ferret out the data. And then along came�Google and said, no, we're going to build a smarter search engine. Well, the same thing's happening in jobs.
KEITH: Rather than just posting a resume, Jobfox users fill out detailed profiles that get very specific about their skills and hopes for a new position. Then, McGovern says, candidates are matched up with job postings that are just right.
Mr. ROB MCGOVERN: When you look at 10 jobs on our service, we want you to say, wow, all 10 of those, I'd be good for that. And we want the employer that sees you to say, this person's really qualified, as opposed to the, oh, here's yet another resume I didn't want.
KEITH: Mark Ciabatarri has applied for about 20 tech industry positions through Jobfox, but so far those leads haven't resulted in any job interviews.
Mr. MARK CIABATARRI: Is it that much better or differentiated than what Monster and some of the other sites are doing? Hmmm - it is different? When someone has said, hey, I saw your credentials on Jobfox, lets talk, then youll have a convinced winner.
KEITH: There are a handful of sites out there now that promise more targeted job searching, with names like Indeed,�The Ladders�and QuietAgent. Monster is getting in on the matchmaking too, with a new power search that's still in beta mode.
But they all face one big obstacle - the job market itself.
Tamara Keith, NPR News, Washington.
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