Rough economy sends local job seekers online

BY ERIC MOORE | OCTOBER 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Internet is helping Iowa City residents find employment in tough economic times.

Though the number of online job advertisements has dropped by 1,700 in the state between August and September, according to data collected by the Conference Board, some Iowa City residents are finding success on Craigslist.

Some experts say Internet presence will continue to be important as employers try to fill vacant jobs.

"The people who are trying so hard to be invisible [online] are also missing an opportunity," said Susan Joyce, the editor and publisher of job-hunt.org.

With an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in Iowa — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — several locals said they are taking advantage of such opportunities.

Iowa City resident Kristy Rekers said online job searching and advertising has proven successful for her.

Rekers said she began using the site to promote her gardening services to make extra income after her family moved to Iowa City a year ago.

Since then, she said, she's received enough work from online job postings to allow her to garden five to six days a week for two to five hours a day.

She said she also gets three to four emails per week, and roughly three of those four become clients.

"All of my clients that I have in Iowa City I've gotten off Craigslist," she said. "Some of them have been one-timers, and some of them are turning into a full maintenance thing … they have a great yard, and they don't really know what they're doing. So I come in and clean it all back up."

Rekers, who said she usually works while her children are in school, said free posting originally attracted her to try Craiglist two months ago.

"I didn't want to put an add in a newspaper and put that money out not knowing if I was going to get anything in return," Rekers said.

Davenport resident Matt Molyneux, who advertises DJ services for Iowa City as a "side project" to his main DJ job at a strip club, said he feels the site is going to "change the way people find their jobs."

"I do think that Craigslist is kind of taking over the classifieds section … it doesn't even have a word limit — you can put as much information on there as possible," he said. "It's just a nice way of people being able to see what I have, and then they can actually contact me."

Though the online job posting site can prove successful, Joyce warned that users should be cautious.

"Craigslist is wonderful but be very, very careful using it," she said. "… Craigslist is a little crazy, because a lot of the people who are using it don't know how to use it, and a lot of people are using it for scams."

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