As many of you who follow me know, I’ve been fairly active in looking for work these last several months. As I’ve been doing so, I’ve noticed a few things.
I actually haven’t been in the job market for some time as a result of school; I was making a comfortable profit off of my grants and scholarships and the this allowed me to focus exclusively on my education. As a result, the market and methodology for gainful employment has changed quite a bit since my last search.
For starters, I’ve noticed that many places no longer accept traditional paper applications or resumes, instead insisting that all new applicants submit their information online.
Let me begin by saying that I get why they do this. The internet and digital communication in general are faster and allow mass communication. A digital application or resume can be forwarded to multiple higher-ups in a company for review and allows the applicant to apply from the comfort of home.
However, speaking as a both a communications major and a psychology minor, I find that a significant part of the job hunting process is making an impression with your prospective employer. By meeting them in person and physically handing them your credentials, to have a chance to let them know exactly who you are and make them remember you.
Also, the act of meeting them eye-to-eye increases the likelihood of them responding. When a person can associate a face to you and knows you are fully capable and willing to be proactive in making the first move, they will be more likely to respond in a more timely manner.
For example, most stores I applied to online took a month or more to respond back despite my contacting them multiple times on the subject. Meanwhile, other similar stores that still accept resumes and applications in person responded in less than a week.
Actually, this ‘online vs. in-person’ dilemma expands to most aspects of life. Communication with friends and family on Twitter, watching live streaming video, and playing games online just don’t feel as socially satisfying as chatting in the den, watching a movie in the theater, or throwing friendly smack talk to the guy next to you while playing Super Mario Kart.
I guess the point I’m trying to make here is this: for the speed and convenience of online communication, it can’t and shouldn’t replace good old-fashioned chit-chat. As for the job market, I’d really like to see more places still accept hard copy applications as well as digital ones. It would give them one more opportunity to learn the character of the people that they hire.