Understanding Job Search Technology Print E-mail

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC

Do you remember thermal fax machines? If you do, pause for a moment and consider how far we’ve come in terms of technology and flow of information. Resumes are rarely snail-mailed these days and usually are not faxed either. Resumes are sent via email or uploaded to websites. Companies require applicants to complete online applications, submit resumes via company websites, and HR departments set up autoresponders to reply back to candidates. Many people, on both sides of the desk, are dismayed that technology has taken the “people part” out of hiring but realize processes only roll forward, not backward.

With the economy in turmoil, many of our clients are finding themselves having to actively search for a job for the first time in many years. The job search methods of a few years ago are obsolete and new job search technology now dictates fresh approaches. Let’s go over some of these modern job search technology terms and make sure you have a clear grasp of what they are and why they are important to your job search.

Keywords

Recruiters search resumes and resume databases for keywords that are pulled from the job descriptions for which they are sourcing candidates. For example, if a recruiter is searching for a Director of IT, he might be using the search terms “Director of IT,” “project management,” or “enterprise infrastructure”. If your resume has those terms in it, you will receive “hits” on your resume in the same way a search engine like Google returns “hits” when it is searched. Resumes that contain more of the specific terms will be ranked higher in the results, just like in a commercial search engine. If the recruiter actually clicks on or opens the resume, then the “hit” converts to a “view”. If you are receiving hits but not views, the keyword content of your resume should be evaluated. You may not have enough keywords, the right ones, or the right combinations to make sure your resume is high in the rankings.

E-Resume

The e-resume (short for “electronic resume”) has roots in the old text (or ASCII) format resume. An e-resume is not simply a Word document that has been converted over to a text file. Yes, the file format of an e-resume is text but the content and layout of the e-resume has been optimized for keywords and designed so it is readable by a human eye.

The e-resume is a version of your resume that is formatted for specific use within technology. Not only is it keyword rich, but it is also suitable for copy/paste use. Many online applications require you to copy/paste parts of your resume into fields in the online application. An e-resume will copy/paste beautifully without creating any strange character strings once pasted into the form.

Virtual Networking

Many people are just discovering the benefits of online, virtual networking. Just like traditional networking, online networking leverages the value of whom you know. You connect with the people you know and then, through them, connect to people they know. While MySpace and Facebook are the most well known for their teenage population, LinkedIn is more well known for its professional population. Twitter and others are rising in popularity among the younger crowd as well, but most professionals and executive-level people gravitate toward the more conservative sites such as LinkedIn and Execunet.

Recruiters use networking sites extensively to source candidates. If a resume of a potential candidates comes across a recruiters’ radar, he will probably Google that person’s name to see what is on the web and visit any social networking sites which pop up for that person. Sites such as Melissa Data can provide specifics and many companies offer background checks to recruiters and hiring managers.

Email Distributions

If you can remember mass mailings done via the USPS years ago, you have some idea of what an email distribution is like. While there are some similarities, there are huge differences. First is the obvious – the method of mailing. No longer are resumes printed on nice, heavy paper and mailed in an envelope. Resumes are emailed. An email distribution is more likely to go to several recruiting firms rather than a few specific recruiters within those firms. It is a way to get your resume into the databases of multiple recruiting firms. It is a great time saver and can be helpful in targeting large numbers of recruiters in one action.

Personal Websites

Many job seekers have personal websites which they use for job search purposes. If the job seeker is a person whose work is very visual in nature such as a graphic artist or a game designer, a personal website can be valuable in serving as an online portfolio. A personal website that is a family site (pictures of children, etc.) should not be used for job search. If you reference your website on your resume, make sure the content is professional in nature. Many people sink their candidacy because they have not considered that a prospective employer may not want to see their Christmas morning pictures or vacation pictures from the beach.

Among recruiters, career coaches and outplacement professionals, the increasing influence of technology and the divide it causes in the hiring process is readily acknowledged and often bemoaned by some who feel the entire process has become too impersonal. Even if technology was not an influence, the sheer number of people looking for a job — regardless of the economy — would make job search and hiring a very impersonal process. We are in a global marketplace, hence the candidate pool for a job opening is no longer local – it is global. Technology simply makes the entire hiring process somewhat manageable. With today’s numbers of job candidates, a paper-based hiring process would grind to an immediate halt.

Another change in today’s job market is the rarity of spending a lifetime working for a single company. People change jobs much more often now than ever before. Just the flux in the market causes more people to be job hunting at any one point in time even when unemployment is low. With the frequency of job changes, the number of people in the market increases.

Technology and the influence it has on job search methods and actions cannot be avoided. Savvy job seekers learn about it, learn how to leverage it, and make it work to their advantage. Is it good or bad? It’s neither. It is simply the reality of the march of time and progress. Those who adapt, survive.

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, a firm that aids senior and C-level executives through their job search. She's been cited by JIST Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North America," quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and is published in 20+ career books. She has long been an inspirational mentor and trainer to other resume writers and career professionals. Alesia's services come with a guarantee -- interviews in 30 days or they'll rewrite for free!

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