How to Find a New Job in the Digital Age

Looking for a JobThe Pew Research Center recently published a new study to illustrate the increasing amount of people searching for work online.  As a matter of fact, the study stated that many are not just using personal computers to search for work and write resumes, but are using mobile devices as well – even for basic job hunting tasks, such as filling out an application.

Pew found that “Americans who have looked for work in the last two years, 79% utilized online resources in their most recent job search and 34% say these online resources were the most important tool available to them.” Many job seekers admit that the internet is one the most important resources when looking for work.  It may come as little surprise that the younger the demographic, the higher the propensity to use online and mobile sources.

The Pew study said that the largest group to use social media and online sources were 18-29 year olds, followed by 30-49 year olds.

 In the research, Pew found the following sources to be key when searching for work:

  • Online Resources – 79%
  • Families and Close friend connections – 66%
  • Professional Work and Connections – 63%
  • Employment Agencies – 32%
  • Ads in print publications – 32%
  • Job Fairs – 28%

The Pew study also found that in addition to online sources, mobile devices are becoming very important in job searching.  The study noted, “Some 28% of Americans – including 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds – have used a smartphone in one way or another as part of a job search.

Here are some of the key findings for mobile smartphone users:

  • 94% of smartphone job seekers have used their smartphone to browse or research job listings.
  • 87% have called a potential employer on the phone using their smartphone.
  • 74% have used their smartphone to email someone about a job they were applying for.

Despite the pre-dominance of people using PCs and mobile devices to search for jobs, and the overall confidence amongst this group to search and fill out resumes and applications online, the Pew study also stated that a few people found it difficult to search for work online.  Some people even found such tasks as responding to employers’ email a true challenge.

For instance, the study said that 10% of respondents found it “not easy” to find programs and services online.  In addition, many of these adults also found it difficult to create a resume and find local jobs online.  In fact, 21-percent found “not easy” to use social media to highlight their job skills.

There are several takeaways for job applicants and employers.

For employers, it is essential to have a Web site that makes it easy for qualified candidates to learn more about the company and identify available jobs.  It is also increasingly important to have a Web site that is mobile friendly.  Finally, LinkedIn and other social and professional networking Web sites offer employers many opportunities to attract and engage candidates.  According to recent data, 71% of college graduates found work through LinkedIn.  Companies should make sure they have an active presence and complete profile on LinkedIn and other sites popular with job seekers, such as Glassdoor.com.

For candidates, the old adage rings true.  You never have a second chance to make a first impression.  A positive online reputation, a consistent and credible profile on social media and proactive efforts to network with others and engage potential employers are all key to a successful search.  If you are considering online reputation management to help reduce the visibility of negative search results or improve the visibility of positive search results, the time to start is now, before you actually start looking for a new job or career opportunity.

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