A lot has changed since I began doing career counseling. With management and professional level people, it was once a standard procedure to create a one-size-fits-all resume (or maybe two) and do a mass mailing as an important part of their job search. Often, 100 or more resumes would be sent out at a time to potential employers. We would discuss with a client the texture of the paper to be used with the resume and the color (they had a choice of three). Mass mailings such as this never worked very well and would not be done now. First, when you contact an employer directly, you need to target them. How well do they fit the criteria the you have set as important to your career goals? Next, you would explore the possibility of personalizing any contact by networking into them using a third party’s name (hopefully one the recipient knows well). Your resume would be tailored to a specific job and include “key words” that that employer would be looking for. Because of the shift in technologies, most resumes are sent by email or as an attachment to a message.
“Back in the day” you would research a company in the library. While libraries are still useful, and may contain directories that you would otherwise have to pay for, most research is done on the internet, often on the organization’s home page. You can check out Glassdoor to see what previous employees thought of a company or what the pay is for different positions.
Want ads use to be found primarily in newspapers or other printed materials such as journals. Now, ads are found on broad based internet sites or on the organization’s home page. You want to use recruiters or agencies? The best way is to network into them, but this information can also be found on your computer. No longer do you have to find phone books in every area code where you may want to search.
You want (or have) to fill out an application for a job? Many organization have their applications online. You are forced to fill out every category that the employer thinks vital. Unlike a paper application, you can’t skip the box that asks how much do you want in salary, or put “negotiable”. Many organizations have “kiosks” in their offices, so if you go in person to fill out an application you are still doing it on computer.Under job history and education the application can make it mandatory to put dates. Where an older worker might have left this spot blank on a handwritten form they can’t proceed without indicating how old they are (which would be illegal if asked in person).
When clients use to do networking, it was generally by phone or mail, leading to a face-to-face meeting. Now, the first step is often online, using a site like Lindedin or Facebook. It is much easier to learn about who has which position and to build an online professional network. You can see when a contact has moved to a new position and maybe left a void that you can fill. You can congratulate colleagues and people you may not even really know (yet).