The Realities Of Job Hunting In The Electronic Age


In the not-so-distant past, searching for a job was very grounded in the physical world: going to specific organizations, bringing in printed-off resumés and begging human resources for applications that could easily be recycled as soon as they had been filled out.

Now things have shifted to the web, that elusive, beckoning system of interconnectedness and global reach.

The final step of the hunt, as any good hunter knows, is going in for the kill. You’ll have to live up to all your virtual promises with real skills, a kickin’ outfit, and a bit of luck.

Today’s eager job seekers have to be crafty and charming, innovative and disarming – and all to just warrant a passing glance interest of employers who are, more than ever, pressed for time.

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of hunting electronically for a tangible target.

Establishing the hunting grounds

Jobs can now be found globally or locally, which means that the job opportunities available to you are only limited to how far you’re willing to relocate.

Looking up a Japanese CEO who has the same obsession as you on Google is a lot easier than flying to Japan for a costly meet-and-greet only to catastrophically find out that he or she meant to write something totally different in their tweet.  But now, there are also thousands of other equally multi-lingual, PhD-having job candidates sending in resumés, meaning you must be at the top of your game – or have something that others don’t.

While job search engines are becoming increasingly more efficient and helpful, many are still just a dumping ground for irrelevant jobs (unless you look on TalentEgg, of course!). Searches have become virtual versions of the odious newspaper job classifieds: a reason to chuckle but not to seriously job hunt.

This means that company websites/social media outlets are getting more “face-time” as opposed to in-person face time you’d be putting in otherwise.

Hunting equipment

The downside to the online job search is that your resumé is expected to be a work of graphic artistry and reference-able at the click of an email.

If you, like many of us, are thinking about enslaving a graphic designer for your own marketing needs, LinkedIn and other portfolio websites give you a nice (and legal!) way out.  Another bonus: If you’re actually a graphic artist, your entire portfolio can be seen at the click of a button!

Personal scent

Online, marketing is everything.  You need to be a brand of yourself: a charming, sans serif love letter to your preferred employer, which means having the right skills and captivating them with simplicity.

However, being a niche with your name stamped at the top of the webpage means that you need to provide what you marketed. As far as image goes, keep the picture as risqué as the one you’d show a gaggle of your 13-year-old brother’s friends (i.e., not risqué at all!). Hopefully your employer-to-be will be impressed enough by your vivacious emails so as to not Google your name and find the Grade 8 pictures you used on an old account.

Offline, a lack of self-marketing can be overcome with enthusiasm.  Meeting people in the real world has its advantages (like an instant Vulcan mind-meld-like connection), but those benefits can easily be carried over to the web and multiplied to almost life-like proportions, whether you’re a burgeoning wordsmith or not.

Just like your employer can Google you, your own research on the company and hopefully, your future interviewer, can increase the ease of a connection.

Going for the kill

The final step of the hunt, as any good hunter knows, is going in for the kill.  The web makes it possible for you to email anyone: human resources, the CEO, or even the janitor.  In order to use this to your advantage, make sure to use the lag time between emails/messages to prepare the right response.  Set yourself up in the best possible way before ever actually hearing the voice of the person you’re trying to impress.

“OMG I WOULD LOVE TO COME IN FOR AN INTERVIEW!” would be the less thought-out option.

Eventually, you’ll have to live up to all your virtual promises with real skills, a kickin’ outfit, and a bit of luck. In the meantime, make sure that you’ve got simple basics down: the right market, an innovative resumé and a personal brand that you can use to woo your prey right into the jaws of your financial future.

Photo credit: Madmetal’s photostream on Flickr