By Steven Porter
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (let's say around 1980), job seekers had few places to job search. Most people accepted that newspaper ads were the most trusted place to discover who was hiring and there was little reason to look elsewhere.
The 21st Century Job Search
As the world was thrust into the digital age, and printed newspaper job ads went the way of the dinosaurs, the act of locating job listings changed. As the Internet and other technological advances flourished, classified ad websites, online job boards and social media replaced much of the newspaper's Help Wanted section, revolutionizing the process faster than most job seekers could react. All of a sudden, locating job openings wasn't the way it used to be.
Instead of embracing these exciting new methods to find opportunities, I continue to hear significant reluctance and grumbling. The technology is being used, but it's not respected. This lack of respect for the technology is hindering many job hunting efforts.
There was once a personal connection between the resume writer and his typewriter. Depending on the skill of the typist, it could take hours to craft the perfect document. And once the resume was mailed, the candidate had three to four weeks to reflect and feel good before the polite rejection letter arrived.
Applying with Lightning Speed
Today, with the use of email and web applications, a candidate can apply for a job and be screened and rejected with an auto-response in the blink of an eye.
Candidates need to accept that online job ads are much more than newspaper display ads on a computer screen. With innovations like resume databases, employers can locate qualified candidates in minutes. It's not unusual for an employer to post a job on a busy website and have several qualified applicants in under an hour - and then "poof," the job magically disappears. Old-school job seekers who planned to apply later are simply left behind. And with the emergence of online candidate resume databases, jobs can be filled before the candidates even knew they were open.
What You Can Do
The lesson here is to respect the speed of the technology and leverage it to your advantage. Because of these advances, you can now:
- Apply to more jobs than ever before
- Create and save multiple resumes, each fine-tuned to a specific industry or around a specific skill
- Save your searches and create Job Alerts to notify you of relevant job openings
- Research companies to find a great place to work
- See how closely you're connected to hiring managers through popular social media websites like LinkedIn
- Post your resume to be considered for non-advertised positions
Altogether, in the old days, these efforts - if possible - would take months.
A Mix of the Old and New
Even though the digital age brings many conveniences and efficiencies, computers will never conquer basic human kindness. The etiquette of sending a thank you note, networking with family and friends, and making personal connections with colleagues are lessons from the dinosaur age that still ring true. A combination of the old and new will likely land you that great, new job.