Technology has changed society in many ways, most of them beneficial. You can arrange to have your groceries delivered to your house, order clothing, have a pizza delivered, shop for a new car, even a home or research your next career and register for school, all without leaving your home. But there’s a downside to technology, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll find yourself withdrawn, having poor interpersonal skills, and feel anxious when you do think about getting out and meeting people and have to interact with them.
Job searching is obviously what I want to focus on here and technology has really fundamentally changed how we go about researching and applying for jobs. I suspect it might seem to the young like the dark ages, but think in a single generation how much has changed. In 2014 it’s normal to have the internet in your pocket on your phone, your watch, your tablet and at home on your PC or laptop. If you are out and about, you can pop into an internet cafe, a library, a resource centre, and your connected.
In 1980, no one carried the internet with them, there were no tablets, cell phones, laptops and personal computers. Computers themselves were huge and heavy, and price-wise they were out of reach of the vast majority. Even after 2000, people were still using floppy disks to store data, and if you went up to someone and said, “I-phone?” they might say, “No you’re not, you’re a person.”
Used to be conducting company research was more challenging too. You had to physically show up at a business, pick up literature, read their quarterly reports or annual meeting documents. If you knew someone at a company, you pretty much had a major advantage because getting real information you could use was difficult to get. It really did depend on who you knew.
So much for a history lesson. Fast-forward to 2014, (and we’re already half way through this now). We have the internet relatively inexpensively, and accessibility to it is easier than ever. If you don’t have a cell phone with the internet, you know you can pop into a library and use theirs or borrow some time from a friend or neighbour. Most of us however in the developed world have it and consider it pretty much a given. That’s how far we’ve come.
And with it, we can research companies in seconds, finding out things like how long the company has been around, what their values and beliefs are, the culture of the company, their mission statements. Even pictures of people on their websites give us strong clues about the kind of people they want to hire.
When it comes to applying, most websites have a, ‘Careers’ or ‘Join Us’ link that tells us what positions are open and often there is an application form to fill out electronically. Frustrating maybe to have to create some kind of profile complete with username and password for each company, but this does weed out those that don’t have the technological skills or the patience to even complete their application fully.
So there’s a lot of good in the application method that company’s now use. However, the drawback to all of this is there are a lot of people who seem to think that sitting behind a screen and in front of a keyboard is how you go about getting a job. It’s as if they really believe you just do everything on-line and you get a text or return email saying you start tomorrow. Why is this? Because the internet is all about speed. “I applied twenty minutes ago, why haven’t I heard something by now!!!!”
Some things DON’T change with the hiring process. A Hiring Manager is still in need of time to collect resumes from qualified candidates, still needs to review them, still needs to select those closest to what they are looking for, and still needs to arrange interviews, and still needs to then make a decision. Time to use an old-time skill….patience.
And so it is that I find myself listening to many young job seekers who after applying for six or seven jobs lament the fact that they haven’t had a response and are getting frustrated. Not to diminish their feelings, (because feelings are something everyone is entitled to), but a typical job search requires stamina and diligence.
A good job search requires two things when it comes to applications: 1) a quality application 2) a quantity of applications. In other words, you have to put some real effort into your application so it’s as strong as it can be and markets you as best you can, but you also typically have to repeat this process many times. If you are fortunate, a really good application results in an early return and you get interviewed and hired early in the job hunt. Bravo. If you are like most job seekers, it involves multiple applications to different employers, sometimes even in different lines of work.
The challenge then becomes to not get discouraged, even when you have your daily ups and downs (and that’s normal). Staying committed to a focused, determined job search in which you really put your best effort into applying is critical to gaining success. If you put only a slight bit of effort into applications and circulate hundreds of them, odds are you won’t be successful.
All the best in your job search!