In this Issue:
How Technology has Changed the Job Search Process
Effective job search strategies began changing in the mid-1990’s due to the benefits of the internet. In more recent years, the widespread use of search engines and the growth of social media have changed recruiting in ways that are not obvious to most job seekers. Not understanding these technological changes makes job hunting that much more difficult.
How employers use technology
Employers have turned to technology to help them manage the increasingly large numbers of applications and resumes they receive, often exceeding several hundred responses for each job posting.
1. Social media allows proofing and validation. Employers compare the resumes and applications submitted by job seekers with what social media shows them. Do the dates, employers, job titles, education, etc., agree with the application or not? Applicants who lack online validation of the “facts” on their resumes have a handicap.
2. Search engines provide fast and cheap “background checks.” A 2010 Microsoft study revealed that more than 80% of employers use search engines to discover information about job applicants. Searching through social media can help a job seeker by impressing the employer with positive information about activities and accomplishments not included on their resumes. Or it can hurt the job seeker by uncovering inconsistencies, potential problems and bad behavior.
3. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used to manage resumes. Resumes submitted to many employers, particularly large employers, are often stored in a database known as an applicant tracking system. Use of an ATS makes keywords used in resumes even more important than in the past. A resume which doesn’t contain the “correct” keywords will not be identified. Consequently, without the appropriate keywords in your resume, your resume will not be seen, no matter how perfectly qualified you are for the job.
How job seekers can address these technology challenges
Employers expect job seekers to intelligently use current technology as a demonstration of technical savvy and reflecting appropriate technical skills for today’s workplace. Not utilizing these technologies can make a job seeker look out-of-date, lazy, or both.
1. Use LinkedIn to be findable. Make sure potential employers find good information about you when they do their research. Create a robust LinkedIn profile to ensure that a Google search on your job title or key skills will identify and find you.
2. Manage your online reputation. Be careful of public online activity, particularly Facebook and Twitter postings. Job seekers regularly lose out on opportunities because of damaging posts in the public domain.
3. Research employers online. Research will make you a more effective candidate. You need to be informed. What are their products or services? What is their latest news? Do you know any employees or do you know anyone who knows a current employee? Impress employers with how interested you are in them and their jobs by doing this research and including the results in your applications, resumes, cover letters and interviews.
4. Customize your resume to match the opportunity. Customize your resume to the specific requirements of the job posting you are applying for. Use the employer’s industry and job title in your resume in your “Objective”. Analyze the keywords used on the job description, and be sure to include the keywords appropriate for you in the resume you submit. This will increase the likelihood that your resume will appear in the search results for that job.
In summary, things have changed. The vast majority of employers will search LinkedIn to identify potential candidates before they do anything else. They will use search engines and social media to check you out. You need to ensure your public profile is professional and consistent. Both employer and job seeker need to know how to use technology to gain an advantage in their job search efforts.