Top 5 Online Communities for Starting Your Career

Sharlyn Lauby is the president of Internal Talent Management (ITM) which specializes in employee training and human resources consulting. She authors a blog at

It’s helpful to have someone with more experience show you the ropes when you’re beginning a new journey — this is especially true when it comes to entering the job market.

Having a community that shares job openings, tips, resources and words of wisdom is of real value, especially when you can ask the tough questions, such as “Do I really need to write a cover letter?” or “What are the job prospects in my industry?”

There are several career communities that focus on those initial years of your career and offer resources for you to start off strong — here are five.

1. Intern Queen

Intern Queen is a site managed by Lauren Berger, named by Businessweek magazine as one of the Top 5 Young Entrepreneurs Under 25. Berger shares her experience from 15 internships (hence the moniker “Intern Queen”) as the foundation for her advice.

You can search for internships as well as get on the Intern Queen Hot List, a bi-monthly e-mail of opportunities. The Intern Queen has a strong social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

2. YouTern

YouTern also focuses on the internship market. Organizations are able to post internships for free and search the resume database. Individuals are able to search for opportunities by location, position, or industry. Searches can also be filtered by paid/non-paid, virtual, school credit and others.

Its internship resources page lists other relevant blogs that help individuals rate internship opportunities and educate companies on employment law related to internships.

In addition to its blog, YouTern has a robust listing of white papers providing information about college recruiting.

3. focuses on helping people learn from the experience of others. It promotes itself as more than a traditional job board/resume bank. The site offers something for students, alumni, employers and schools. Users have the ability to create a profile, network with other students/alumni/mentors, as well as search for opportunities.

Its blog contains insights about compensation, job forecasts and skills to succeed in today’s workforce.

4. AfterCollege

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, AfterCollege connects college students and alumni with employers via faculty and career networks at colleges and universities around the country. It promotes a network of more than 8,200 academic departments.

Faculty can create a career network for their department or student group. After signing up for an account, users are able to search for jobs or participate in network discussions. AfterCollege provides a career resources center with information about interviews and résumés, and also hosts a salary negotiation guide.

Its “In the News” page (under the About tab) has a really terrific library of articles about the employment market for college grads.

5. Brazen Careerist

Brazen Careerist is a career management site with several interesting tools. In addition to looking for jobs, users are able to create social résumés, build their networks and blog from the site. Brazen Careerist also recently launched a new program called Network Roulette, giving participants the chance to connect with others in a hassle-free manner.

Part of Brazen’s success lies in the fact that it taps into its existing users for expertise. It posts user success stories and has a tremendous library of resources, including the e-book “What I Know About Getting a Job” co-authored with Rich DeMatteo from Corn on the Job.

These career sites are specifically tailored for entry-level job seekers. What career communities are you finding valuable?

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