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How to do it on the Internet? WBS - Web Job Search Support
Career guidance and employment services successfully implemented "at a distance".
Web 2.0 social websites, an example of the evolution of career development and job search.


What is WBS?
WBS – Web Based Job Search Support, funded with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union, is a an international project aimed to create a career guidance platform for job seekers. It has involved six different European countries: Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland and Bulgaria.

The partner countries worked together to prepare, test and implement the WBS methodology. Each country has its own version of the website, but all of the WBS sites share the same methodology and objective, offering self-assessment guidance tools, information and professional guidance online.


Why WBS?
The European Employment Strategy states that all unemployed adults should have access to career guidance, so to better identify their needs, create a personalized reemployment action plan, and provide assistance during their job search.

Career guidance delivery, though, is often very expensive because it is traditionally provided by professional advisors and carried out in small groups or through one to one counseling interviews. ICT allow for the supply of effective information and guidance to a wide audience, regardless of budget, distance and time.

WEB 2.0.-based tools such as social networking websites are proving to be a powerful means for promoting peer to peer support and improve further access to services. Therefore, WBS websites are structured in a way to maximize interactions between users and to create virtual communities of people sharing the same condition, difficulty or interest.


What can one find in WBS?
From the project presentation page www.jobsearchsupport.net you can have access to the 8 national websites Italian, Spanish, Czech, Slovenian, Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian and Greek. During the phase of Exploitation of the results, in fact, other 2 countries decided to develop their own national version of WBS website.

Each version is divided into 4 main sections:

"Find your career goal", "Be attractive for employers", "Efficient job-seeking", "Be interactive/personal folder". The website's content includes activities for the user to complete. After completing the activities the user can receive feedback.

In the first section one can learn about things to consider while looking for a career goal, by completing such activities like: "Knowledge and skills acquired on the job", "My professional values", "My interests" and by synthesizing them in the "Myself" exercise. The section also includes activities that allow organization of the acquired knowledge into information to identify a career goal.

The second section is for people wanting to assess their own attractiveness for employers and to learn how to increase this attractiveness. It includes exercises focusing on user's previous educational experience, their current "value" on the job market, purposes for learning, and educational action-plan.

After completing the exercises from the Third section the user is familiar with various tools for job searching, and will be able to use them and assess their efficiency. The section includes exercises such as "Find an employment agency near you", "Networking", "Job advertisements in the press and on the Internet", "Individual job-searching plan".

Transitions between sections are conceived to be flexible. Users are able to decide which sections to visit and which exercises to carry out. For example, a person who already considers his/her attractive for employers can skip section 2; a person who knows how to look for jobs can go from section 2 to section 4.


Be interactive!
Section 4 is an important part of the portal. It allows users to create their own folders with documents related to their job search, and to interact between each other. The user is able store and revisit the results of exercises and documents related to job search: resume, cover letters, databases (networking, employers), meetings and contacts schedules. The portal offers the possibility to publish one's own resume (or other job search documents) so that it is visible to the website facilitators, other users, employers, and to write a blog about the job search experience.

The website includes a FORUM section dedicated to different categories of users:

e.g. persons aged 40+, people looking for their first job, people experiencing difficulties with job search. Users are also encouraged to be part of a "Job Club", a more restricted group of people looking for a job helping each other.

The "Job Club", like all the forums, is moderated by a facilitator – a real career counselor who answers questions, gives advice on where and how to look for information, helps to explore the portal and moderates the Forum.