Even before the economic crisis, most businesses have a continual stack of fresh applicants. Now, as those numbers stretch into the hundreds, job hunters may need to be a bit more innovative and hip.
Meet with any career counselor here at PSU, one of the first things they’ll tell you is that most jobs that become available aren’t advertised on Monster or Craigslist. That is just a small pool compared to the sea of job opportunities that exist behind closed doors.
Companies and organizations that post job ads are bombarded with hundreds of applicants, which take time and money to sort through. It’s more efficient to hire someone that they either know or interview someone who is recommended by someone that they know.
In this situation, the people doing the hiring already know that you are capable, dependable and likeable. Then, resumes, cover letters and interviews become a mere formality rather than a sales packet of you as a future employee.
This is the reason the networking is so essential if you ever want to leave your dead-end job and/or use your college degree to pursue a favorable career. Internships, apprenticeships and volunteering are all good ways to get your foot into the door. It’s certainly one way to gain experience and meet successful people in your field of concentration who might someday hire you or refer you to a colleague. But, it’s still a limited number of people and organizations to network.
Recently, respected publications, such as The New York Times and Forbes Magazine have promoted Twitter as a great way to network and find employment.
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service where you can post your own thoughts and follow others. You can follow celebrities or comedians. You can follow news or friends. You can also follow organizations to find the inside scoop whether an organization you’re interested in working for is hiring or not.
It’s about putting your best persona on the Web so that when potential employers Google your name, they see professional portfolios rather than Myspace or Facebook profiles showing off your latest drunken escapades.
What you do on your free time shouldn’t be your employer’s concern. If you can adequately meet expectations while at work, your free time should be just that—your free time.
However, during this financial crisis, the employer has the upper hand as they have so many readily available applicants just waiting for you to mess up. In such times, principles cannot be fought for. Applicants must do whatever possible to keep personal time private and portray the online persona of employee perfection, or as close to it as possible.
Web sites are cropping up, such as InterviewStream and LinkedIn that share Web cam videos of you to prospective employers. There are other innovative ways to make your application stand out to organizations looking for new employees.
One problem with this new technology is that job searches must be more consistent. The day of putting different faces forward to different organizations may be finished. A law firm that Googles you and finds a video of you talking about your qualifications as a journalist might come to the conclusion that your heart and soul wouldn’t be into being a legal assistant, even if you’re just trying to keep your options open.
Still, at the same time, this seems to be the way career searches are headed. People who send white pages covered in black ink aren’t going to be as interesting as applicants talking into a Web cam showing projects that they’ve already completed as proof of experience.
Once you are accepted into a position, just remember not to become a twit or you might jeopardize your hard-earned job.
According to various media sources, after procuring a job from Cisco Systems a woman Twittered, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”
She never saw that fatty paycheck.
Moral of the story, embrace technology while job hunting, even though there are negative as well as positive aspects. Also, remember that being online is not the place to “let it all hang out” or show your true colors if you want a career.