I began career coaching in 1982. I read books, went to classes and assumed that I was learning to do this work the way I would do it for the rest of my career. Whoa! Not true! Like many other fields, career coaching –job searching in particular– has changed significantly.
In the late 90′s, voice mail arrived and changed our communication, both in job searches and in our jobs and personal lives. In some ways, it facilitated our communication and at other times, it created endless “phone tag”. But could we manage without it now, especially in the middle of a job search?
Email followed not too far behind. There are certainly times when an overflowing inbox can be overwhelming or annoying (or both), but how would we get along without it? So easy to quickly attach an email to a resume and hit “send.”
How specifically have job searches changed?
- When I first started in the field, the client and I would write (yes, write) his/her resume and then I would hand carry it to the printer. Once printed, we would not want to make any changes because that would require another trip to the printer and another payment. Now clients type their own resumes, being careful to custom tailor each resume to the particular position.
- Cover letters used to be individually typed on a typewriter with mistakes corrected with “white out.” Now some resumes submitted online go without a cover letter while others have an email cover letter.
- It used to be challenging to research a company before creating cover letter and resume or going on an interview. Lists of resources, visits to the reference librarian were necessary tools. Now, a few minutes online (where is that website?) and you have enough information to make a good impression.
- Perhaps the biggest difference is the plethora of networking channels. Face-to-face is still a very effective strategy. In addition, we have several types of social media. LinkedIn, the most professionally-oriented vehicle is the one where you most definitely need to build a profile that markets you and add some flattering testimonials. (Be sure to check out 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips.) You can also use Twitter and Facebook if you are sure they present a professional image (employers may check). You also need to be sure that the image you present on all of these vehicles is consistent.
So was job seeking more challenging then or now? It’s hard to say; the challenges are different. If you’re doing a job search, be sure that you’re up to date on the latest guidelines.