Technology is moving at such a rapid pace where a PDA from a few years ago is now completely obsolete while IPad Tablets are the latest craze. A job search is one activity that always appears to be in a constant struggle between using the activities that have proven to work in the past, or trying the latest hot trend of the moment.
Why do you have to choose? Why not balance some of the tried and true activities from the past (and present?) with the latest trend or future activity? Let’s examine some key aspects of a job search and how you can balance the past, present, and perhaps even the future.
• Networking – This key aspect of job searching is an area that traditionally has been under used. The process of attending networking events and calling past colleagues can be very time consuming and (perhaps) even uncomfortable for those who are not extroverted. Modern technology has removed some of the personal pieces of the process (and many would argue that this has reduced its effectiveness), but it also may have made networking more accessible for those who are introverted. A Job Seeker can now use Social Media such as their Facebook or LinkedIn account, to communicate to others that they are in the job market. You can “friend” people you used to work with or know to add them to your network. You can then use these individuals for job leads or references.
• Applying – It was not that long ago that the paper Resume was being formally introduced and securing a spot alongside the paper application for Job Seekers. Now it is unusual for anything but entry level positions not to have an error-free Resume (don’t forget the Cover Letter also!). The application process is becoming more paperless with even medium-sized companies moving toward an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The trend will be to emphasize “keywords” in your document not only to better match to the job requirements, but also so the system will recognize these “keywords” and move your application towards the top of the list.
• Being a Passive Job Seeker – A passive Job Seeker is someone who will listen to opportunities, but are not actively applying for positions. This has usually meant having a “Headhunter” call you regarding a position they were contracted for by the employer. Tight budgets have greatly restricted a company’s ability to hire “Headhunters”, however, employers have greater availability to reach out to passive job seekers. Savvy Job Seekers are now making themselves available in multiple different electronic ways such as posting their application on a website such as WNYJOBS.com, or creating a LinkedIn account. Doing this allows an employer to reach out without the job seeker having to invest the time to run an active search.
• References – It is still a standard practice for a company to call past co-workers or employers to find out more about an applicant. So, a Job Seeker should keep an active list of references ready to be contacted. There is also nothing wrong with keeping hard copy letters from your references, although that is becoming less the standard as time goes on. Generally, this is due to the static nature of a printed document (i.e., can’t ask questions, etc.). What is becoming increasingly popular is adding (to your LinkedIn account) recommendations from colleagues about your abilities and knowledge. These statements are easily shared electronically with a company you are speaking with.
• Job Seeker Accessibility – Not that long ago the only way to quickly reach someone was to call them on a landline, usually at their home. This necessitated some planning and generally was not an “in the moment” situation. The use of mobile phones, text messaging, and e-mail has greatly increased the accessibility of a Job Seeker. There still is nothing that beats the quality of a private landline in an area where a person will not be disturbed. It offers the best connection and ensures a conversation without interruption. It is good, however, to offer a Recruiter multiple ways to connect with you. This will greatly increase your accessibility especially if you need to be reached for something quick.
• Thank You Notes – The standard in the past was to write a handwritten note (or card) and send to the Interviewer via the postal service. Unfortunately, this method usually caused a delay of at least a week between the interview and the receipt of the note. In today’s modern business a delay of that nature is like a lifetime. If you know you have the time to send via the USPS then it is a nice gesture, but, in most circumstances the speed of a thank you e-mail is required. You can attempt to merge the best of both worlds by sending an electronic thank you card with a personal message.
The modern Job Seeker has many more options available to them than individuals of a decade or two ago. The key for the savvy Job Seeker is to recognize when to use current technology to enhance your search, while still leveraging the tried and true methods of the past. The best job search is usually one that balances the past, present, and future.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
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