5 Job Search Advancements to Be Thankful For

Jim-Hopkinson-Author-B&W-PayscaleBy Jim Hopkinson

When the pilgrims sat down for that first Thanksgiving meal in Plymouth, they had certainly spent many more hours gathering the corn and preparing the turkey than we do these days. We have plenty of conveniences that make cooking the perfect meal easier. Let’s just say there was no canned cranberry sauce, ready-made pie crust, or microwave oven to heat up those leftovers.

In the same way, the task of job searching has been transformed by technology over the years. The following is a list of the top five technological advancements in job searching to be grateful for these days.

1. Resumes

Back in the day (ie, the ‘80s), people actually had to type out an entire resume on a typewriter. Getting to the very bottom of the page and then making a mistake meant starting over from scratch, or reaching for a bottle of “Wite-Out.” You had one “objective” for all your jobs, printed it out on some 10 lb weight, Ecru-colored “resume paper,” and hoped for the best.

Now, with word processors and laser printers you can add or delete information in seconds and print out color copies for pennies. If you are targeting jobs in more than one industry, you can customize your objective or skills to match. Getting your resume ready for employers’ eyes has never been easier.

2. Networking

At one point, “pounding the pavement” literally meant just that… getting out of your home or office and walking to an event to meet new people.

Now, through social networking tools like LinkedIn, where a new person signs up every second, you can easily connect with hundreds of people online instantly. You can stay in touch with past colleagues, reach out to leaders in your field, research companies, and even get dirt on the people who might interview you – all without leaving your home.

3. Salary Research

Before the internet era, most people went into salary negotiations blind, making a best guess at what you could get paid for the job you sought.

These days, online salary resources like PayScale.com and others allow even more than a ballpark estimate of pay for the position. You can actually type in your specific experience level, education, location and more to get highly specific salary range information before the negotiations even begin.

4. Job Searching

How long has it been since you sat down with the newspaper classifieds, circled want ads and mailed off letters of interest? Never? For those that did, often times, by the time you heard back about the job, it was already filled.

Today, if you look at job listing sites like Monster.com, you’ll find thousands of available jobs, drilling down to your area of interest and location in seconds.

5. Online Portfolio

Once the domain of designers and photographers, print and online portfolios are affordable job seeking tools for everyone. You can walk into an interview and hand a prospective employer a top-quality collection of your work all bound together, a zip drive full of files, or the link to your best stuff collected onto a blog or personal website. Or better yet, how about an iPad version?

So, this year, once you’ve set your Roomba free to clean your carpets and loaded your dishes up for a double-rinse, you can lay back on your couch, open your laptop and apply for jobs in your PJs.

Jim Hopkinson speaks, writes and teaches about career and salary topics. His most recent book "Salary Tutor: Learn The Salary Negotiaton Secrets That No One Ever Taught You" guides readers through the ins and out of successful salary negoation.

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