CYPRESS Semiconductor Corporation wants to hire 100 college graduates by July 4. But the San Jose, Calif., company didn't launch its recruiting campaign until last month -- too late to visit campuses. So it decided to float its job openings for electrical engineers and computer scientists, some requiring advanced degrees, on the Internet.
What the maker of integrated circuits didn't anticipate was the response: 500 resumes since mid-April. Some interviews have been set already.
''This is the newest, major revolution occurring on the job-market scene for new college graduates,'' says Patrick Scheetz, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
While on-campus interviews and networking may still be the most effective ways to land post-college jobs, many students are now looking to the Internet for help as well.
Mr. Scheetz says 3 to 5 percent of this year's college seniors will find jobs using the Internet.
Many say the number of students finding jobs through the Internet, a global computer network, will double by next year.
''In the time frame that we are attacking this college recruiting process, [the Internet] is distinctly an advantage,'' says Julie Pestka-Schardt, a human-resources manager at Cypress Semiconductor. ''It goes into literally the classroom, dorm room, lab, wherever the student is ... and we present ourselves to them versus them having to look far and wide for us.''
Anywhere from 25 million to 30 million people currently access the Internet. The majority of them are on college campuses. Most universities are wired to the hilt to the Internet, note college placement counselors, and many give incoming freshman free Internet addresses. Campus career offices are also beginning to transfer their information onto the Internet's World Wide Web for easier student access.
''The Internet will eventually revolutionize the way in which employers ... disseminate information about their companies and their opportunities on campus,'' says Tim Gibbon, a vice president of Bernard Hodes Advertising Inc., a human-resources communications firm based in New York. He figures 90 percent of students at colleges have Internet access and of those 70 percent log on at least twice a day.
In April 1994, Mr. Gibbon's agency launched CareerMosaic, the first site on the World Wide Web to offer a job database, and the one used by Cypress Semiconductor. Here, companies post an electronic recruiting brochure that gives information about the company's history and mission, as well as job opportunities, internships, and coop programs. The service costs a company between $10,000 and $20,000 a year, he says, about 20 to 25 percent less than printing glossy brochures and distributing them coast-to-coast on college campuses.
Currently, about 150,000 people a month visit CareerMosaic, he adds. They can review about 50,000 job openings.
Even though tens of thousands of job databases exist on the Internet, according to Internet gurus, the concept of an electronic job search is still in its infancy. While the Internet gives students the ability to sift through thousands of job listings quickly, most of the jobs posted are geared toward the techno-types who use the Internet. And the majority of employers are targeting those with several years of experience.
''More than 50 percent of the job information on the Internet doesn't apply to college students,'' says Henry Houh, a PhD candidate in electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
One reason why there are so few jobs for new college grads, says Greg Ruf, founder of Resume-Link, is because companies generally don't have a problem recruiting such students. His firm, based in Columbus, Ohio, compiles databases on computer disks of students' resumes for universities, and then distributes them to companies. While Resume-Link doesn't have any products on the Internet right now, Mr. Ruf says it will.
Many personnel experts see it as only a matter of time before companies adopt this medium to do their college recruiting.
In the case of CareerMosaic, of the 40 companies that currently subscribe, the majority are high-tech firms, such as Intel, Intuit, and Cypress Semiconductor, Gibbon says.
Computer types and hackers have been more frequently wooed until now because they were the ones using the Internet, says Jim Neumeister, who graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1994 and spent this year working on an Internet ''electronic career office'' for the school. But with more students finding the Internet, ''that's going to be an audience -- and a target group -- that no one is going to be able to ignore,'' he says. He admits, however, that he has not heard of any students at UVA finding jobs on the Internet.
Career counselors say the Internet should not become the sole method for finding a job.
''What we tell people is this is not an excuse to do nothing but surf the Internet,'' Neumeister says. ''There are a lot of channels that you have to be working through to find a job.''