When I first graduated and entered the job market the internet and email, while in existence, were nowhere near the force they have become today. I remember travelling across Australia and having to communicate with my friends through letters sent to Poste Restante, as at that time there were no internet cafes and I didn’t even have a Hotmail account!
But what’s the relevance of all this, apart from me showing my age?
Well, back in those days when applying for jobs I had to be selective as any application not only involved a copy of my CV but a covering letter, addressed envelope and a trip to the Post Office, not to mention the price of a stamp.
Contrast this with today when applying for a job online, especially through job boards, is as simple as pressing a button. This means making multiple applications is fast and easy.
I regularly meet jobseekers who tell me that they’ve applied for 30, 40 or even 50+ jobs online, but have heard nothing back. This is not surprising to me. As they’re not being selective in their submission how can they expect an employer to take them seriously and give their application due care and attention?
More is definitely not better and being able to make multiple applications in a matter of minutes is no friend to the jobseeker – in this respect the internet is most definitely foe!
Contrast this with social media – in particular LinkedIn – which is basically an online version of your CV. It’s a way to position your experience online for all to see. The database is interrogated by Google and through SEO (search engine optimisation) your profile and experience can be found by anyone. When I started my business, ahead of spending money on a website this is how people found me.
LinkedIn is increasingly searched directly by employers and also professional recruitment companies looking for particular skills and experience. If you have these don’t be surprised to receive a direct approach – though only if you’ve made your contact details clearly visible on your profile page.
Making connections, joining groups and posting status updates relevant to your sector all serve to raise your profile and build credibility. In this respect the internet is very much a jobseeker’s friend.
In summary, for those looking for work the internet can be a double-edged sword. When making applications don’t adopt a blanket approach where you try to apply for everything and anything. Instead, make fewer, more thought-through approaches and follow them up with a phone call (it’s amazing how many doors this can open).
On the flip side, a well-presented and professional LinkedIn profile can promote your experience to the wider world and you literally don’t know who might find it and make a direct approach.
To finish on a cautionary note, be careful what else about you exists online. A potential employer is probably less likely to be impressed with your photos from the weekend, but these may crop up in the same search engine results as your LinkedIn profile.
Twitter – @supersecretjobs