Technology and Job Search

Image by Franck V. on Unsplash

Image by Franck V. on Unsplash

Technology and Job Search

By Stephanie Elaine Cavanaugh

In our modern world, one thing is for certain: Technology is changing the very fabric of how we live, work, and play. But how many of us are really paying attention to the impact technology and innovation will have on our career path? How many of us are taking steps to stay ahead of the curve? Waiting around until it’s on our doorstep is setting ourselves up to fail and putting us in a very vulnerable position. We shouldn’t allow ourselves or our careers to become victims of technology–rather, we can take steps to embrace it in productive ways that enhance us as humans and take our skills and productivity to new heights. 

But what kinds of changes are coming (or are already here) that we need to have on our radar? For those in job search (as well as those looking to change jobs or just stay ahead in the game), there are several things to be aware of. Here are a few.



1.    Social savviness and personal branding are a must in job search.

Having an online presence through a personal website or social media is a must for modern-day job search. In fact, most hiring managers look for an online presence to screen a potential candidate and many will not even consider a candidate if they cannot find them online. Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer at CareerBuilder stated that “Researching candidates via social media and other online sources has transformed from an emerging trend to a staple of online recruitment” (CareerBuilder 2015). Hiring managers use the online strategy to screen out candidates with little to no presence, as well as those with inappropriate or unprofessional content. Why? Because a bad hire is expensive and hiring managers want to minimize risk as much as possible. They also look for candidates with online content that strengthens their brand and who looks like they would be a good personality fit within the culture of the organization. 

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This means that you want to ensure you have a strong online presence and impressive personal brand across the social platforms (primarily LinkedIn and Facebook, but potentially Instagram and Twitter as well) and you might also consider having your own online portfolio or website. It also means that if you’re not knowledgeable or comfortable within the online and social media space, you’ll want to take some classes and get comfortable… because it’s not going anywhere and will continue to further permeate job search and everyday life moving forward. Learning how to market yourself, your brand, and your skills online is a MUST in the 21st century! Don’t allow yourself to fall behind. 

  • Coursera and EdX offer some excellent classes on branding and social media marketing.

  • If you’re looking for website creation options, WordPress and SquareSpace are great platforms to consider.

  • You can upgrade your online presence by including relevant visual content–Unsplash and Adobe Spark are excellent tools to achieve this!

You very well may also want to consider upgrading your online personal brand by creating not only a website or portfolio, but also through blogging, video, podcasts, and other means that show off your skills and highlight you as an expert in your field.

2.    In our digital world, the human element is gaining momentum­–this means job boards aren’t your friend, networking is!

The importance of focusing on networking and NOT on any publicly posted job cannot be stressed enough. Yes, it’s a mind shift… but a very necessary one if you want to make it in job search! Let me say this again: DO NOT spend the majority of your time on job boards, job aggregators, or company website career pages! If you’re applying, you’re late to the party! This means you’ll need to get out of your comfort zone a bit. Modern-day job search is all about who you know and who they know. In fact, around 75% of all the available jobs out there are in what’s called the hidden market. That means jobs that aren’t publicly posted anywhere. Networking is the only way to tap into that market. 

Job boards, recruiters and staffing agencies account for the remaining 25% of available jobs. Opening an available position to the masses of unvetted strangers of the net is akin to hiring a babysitter from Craig’s List. It’s scary, risky, and it’s the last thing a hiring manager wants to do. They would much rather hire someone they know, someone they kind of know, or someone known or recommended by someone they trust. Additionally, about 30% of publicly posted jobs are fake! Companies post fake jobs for several reasons.

  • They already know who they want to hire but have to post the job for formality or policy reasons.

  • Competition–they want their competitors to think they are growing and hiring.

  • Testing the water­–sometimes they just want to collect resumes and see what kind of talent is out there.

So, what does networking really consist of? Talking to other humans (and having a strong online brand that showcases you as an industry expert helps!). Another thing–employers want to hire people who are passionate about what they do. Networking for a job puts you in a position of power over your own job search, allowing you to target companies you feel excited about rather than being at the mercy of what might show up in an online posting. Your career is too valuable to leave it to chance and a boatload of competition. Take control! What might this look like? Here is an example.

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  • Create a list of target companies. These should be passion-based not posting-based! Think about what companies you’d be really excited to work with. Think about industry, location, company culture, etc. Reference USA is a fantastic resource that you can access for free through your local library.

  • Put on your research hat. Utilize LinkedIn, Google, and company websites to find decision makers within those companies. A decision maker is someone who would (potentially) be your boss or their boss.

  • Connect with them on LinkedIn! Email them! If you can’t find their email, use Hunter. Call them! Just introduce yourself and show off your passion for the organization and the skillset and expertise you bring to the table.

This puts you, your brand, and your expertise on their radar. Modern-day job search is about building relationships and having that human connection. Job boards are a last resort, leave your career to chance, and puts you in a position where a computer (the Applicant Tracking System, or ATS) determines if your resume ever even gets seen by a human, and it throws you into the mix with hundreds and sometimes thousands of other candidates all competing for one opening. Oh, and by the way, jobs are no longer restricted to the local talent pool–when you apply online, you’re competing against the global market in the digital age! 


3.    AI is coming–and it’s going to change the job market in dramatic ways.

Kai-Fu Lee, computer scientist and investor in next generation Chinese high-tech companies gave a powerful TedTalk in 2018 called How AI Can Save Our Humanity. In it, Lee stated that “with the US leading the era of discovery and China leading the era of implementation, we are now in an amazing age where the dual engine of the two superpowers are working together to drive the fastest revolution in technology that we have ever seen as humans” (Lee 2018). He goes on to say that while this shift will bring 16 trillion dollars by 2030 to the worldwide GDP, it will also reshape the job market as we know it.

This should serve as a huge eye-opener to every person in every industry. Please do not take this lightly or brush it aside. It is critical that you look at your industry and your position in it. How will technology and AI change or eliminate it? What steps can you take now to pivot and stay ahead of the curve? How can you upgrade your skills and knowledge to accommodate the massive changes that are coming in the next 5-10 years, so you aren’t left in the dust without a job or career path? Think about this now and strategize accordingly. Don’t wait until it’s already knocking on the door. 


Need some online branding examples?

  1. Personal Branding Website, with blog and podcasts: https://stephaniecavanaugh.com

  2. LinkedIn Profile to showcase expertise: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-cavanaugh/


References:

Career Builder. 2015. 35 Percent of Employers Less Likely to Interview Applicants They Can’t Find Online, According to Annual CareerBuilder Social Media Recruitment Survey. Accessed July 12, 2019. https://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?ed=12/31/2015&id=pr893&sc_cmp1=cb_pr893_&sd=5/14/2015&siteid=cbpr.

Lee, Kai-Fu. 2018. How AI Can Save Our Humanity. Accessed July 12, 2019. https://www.ted.com/talks/kai_fu_lee_how_ai_can_save_our_humanity.