For unemployed Americans, searching the Web for jobs is about as key to starting the day as a cup of coffee. Indeed, some 11 million new positions appeared online in the first half of 2009 – plenty more than the 7 million-plus lost since the recession began. However, most online listings require searching by key word or city, a hit-or-miss affair. And hitting “send” often feels like dropping your resume into a black hole. But now, the latest generation of job sites aims to improve your chances by playing matchmaker.

THE TOP CONTENDERS:

QUIETAGENT.COM
Like most of these sites, QuietAgent has candidates answer questionnaires about their schooling, job experience and skills by choosing answers from drop-down menus. It then scans its database of 82,000 listings, plus 270,000 or so from corporate Web sites, for matches. The site lacks other services, like resume writing, but founder Jason Kerr says it may soon sell reference checks to job seekers, to save employers the trouble.

BINTRO.COM
This site relies on job seekers’ own words more than drop-down answers. Its technology can match, say, a nurse who cites “emergency room” experience with a hospital posting for its “critical-care unit,” says CEO Richard Stanton. Florida-based recruitment-ad consultant Peter Zollman says such nuance can go too far, possibly eliminating good jobs. Bintro also connects charities with volunteers and entrepreneurs with investors.

ONEWIRE.COM
This niche site focuses on financial-services jobs, although it declined to say how many listings it has. Resume writing costs $139 to $399 through a partner company, depending on one’s career stage. The site’s vice president of marketing, Marc Karasu, says the site may widen into the legal field.

JOBFOX.COM
Jobfox has the largest internal database of all the job-matching sites (100,000-plus from 5,000 employers) and e-mails both the job hunter and the company when it finds a match. For $10 to $30 a month, applicants get advance job alerts, a personal online career page for potential employers to view and a series of skills-assessment tests.

2010 Source The New York Times Syndicate