In the late nineties, when I was running the career programs for my previous employer, Moore & Associates, I made sure to pass out a bright yellow handout to every client — listing about 50 employment websites that were imperative for the average job hunter to utilize at the time.

Since then, the field has diminished considerably.  Not only have many previously popular sites winked out of existence, unable to sustain a following, but the rise of the new “aggregator” class of sites has led to even further consolidation throughout the web advertising world.  In fact, over the past few years, things have been extremely stable.  Almost boringly so.  As most of you know, I’ve been preaching for years that job hunters only need to pay attention to three key employment websites: SimplyHired.com, Craigslist, and the LinkedIn.com “Jobs” page.

Has there been a disturbance in the force, however?  Is there a now a fourth significant job site entering the scene, worthy of our attention?

The early returns suggest that yes, there might be.  This new site, called JobsMiner.com, appears to have potentially cracked the code and found a way to harvest and aggregate job listings from the “untamed country” of the Internet — the social media universe.

How have they accomplished this feat?  Well, according to their own self-description, “We have created the first social media job search engine based on a unique technology called Makam. This search engine crawls social networks, blogs and forums, filtering out the clutter and presenting only opportunities that are relevant to the job seeker.”

The big question: does it work?  Does this site actually tap into a pool of job listings that, until now, were virtually impossible for job hunters to access in a convenient, systematic way?

Based on my sample searches so far, the answer is yes — kind of.  Without question, this site seems able to dig some pretty obscure job postings out of the bowels of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and various corporate blogs scattered around the web.  The problem?  Pulling data from social media job postings is like herding cats.  Nothing is standardized.  So as good as this mysterious “makam” technology may be, it’s not perfect.  It can’t always determine whether a job is located in Seattle, St. Louis, or Sao Paolo, Brazil.  And you also can’t search jobs exclusively by job title, which is a major restriction.

In a test search I ran for CFO jobs in Seattle, for example, there were 10 jobs that came up on the first page.  Of these 10, only six were actually CFO jobs — two were accountant jobs that reported to a CFO, one was a duplicate, and the other one was a nurse practitioner job with no relevant connection to the search criteria whatsoever.  And in terms of geography, one listing came up from Tacoma (close enough, I guess) but several others were from (oops!) Washington, DC.

There’s also no alert feature on the JobsMiner site I’ve been able to find, either, despite the “FAQ” section of the site saying that such a feature exists.  So unless I’m blind as a bat, and somehow missing the link in question, it seems you have to check this site manually on a regular basis, which takes time and makes it difficult to keep track of which jobs you’ve already seen — and which you haven’t.  Keep in mind, too, that the site also picks up jobs from LinkedIn and Craigslist, so you might end up duplicating some effort on that front, as well, if you’re already tracking those sites.

So in conclusion, I’m not completely sold on JobsMiner quite yet.  It’s got tons of potential, though, and to be fair it’s also still in Beta testing mode — so perhaps further improvements will be forthcoming, down the road.  For now, I’d encourage any active job hunters to try it out for a while, compare it to the listings you’re already receiving from other sources, and see if it produces any fresh results you haven’t seen previously.

I’ll be dying to hear any feedback you have around it, once you’ve put it through its paces!