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Applying for and getting a new job in the 2020’s is very different from the job applications fifty years ago…

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Applying for and getting a new job in the 2020’s is very different from the job applications fifty years ago. We take a look at what’s changed and ask is it easier or tougher to find a new job in today’s market?

In the 1970’s the job market was very different. Forget mobile phones, social media and the internet. You bought the local paper on a Thursday, when all the jobs were advertised. You typed, on a typewriter, speculative letters and your CV that you sent to prospective employers. The 1970’s were not as inclusive as today, so the employer expected to see your gender, weight, age and a range of other personal details on your CV. Job advertisements asked you to reply by phone or write in. However, if you were invited to an interview, there was often only one and you probably had one or two competitors for the job. In the 1970’s you were allowed to smoke in the interview if the interviewer lit up first.

The 1980s began with a recession and ended with growing technological advancements. The microcomputer and printers in the 1980 meant you used a word processor to produce your CV. Power suits and mastery of the interview technique were the things to ensure you landed the job. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the newspapers and trade press were still the main way to find jobs.

Today, technology and the internet has transformed the way in which we look for jobs. You can register with apps to have relevant vacancies delivered to your mobile phone. The Be More web portal is a great place to start. You can also upload your CV to a range of internet sites from Total Jobs to Indeed and Monster. In fact, went online in 1994. In 1996 they became the first public job search site on the internet and the first public CV database in the world. On the social media front, LinkedIn is used predominantly to promote new opportunities, view skill sets and search for suitable candidates.

A culture of being inclusive, supported by laws relating to discrimination, levels the playing field in today’s job market. However the internet brings wider competition for a job you might fancy. Before the internet jobs were advertised locally. Now the vacancy can be seen worldwide, literally. The competition has increased exponentially. This is particularly true with the increase in remote working. If the job can be done from a computer, think programming, digital marketing and more, then you are competing on skill sets and experience. Location becomes much less relevant to the business. Use of Teams and Zoom during COVID has reduced the need to travel and increased the ability for businesses to manage a global workforce. 

Many companies are using artificial intelligence to make the first sift decisions based upon applicants CVs. Virtual interviewing has also become a trend. In previous articles we have talked about how to set up your personal space to interview effectively over TEAMS and ZOOM.

So, while technology has broadened the opportunities for you to find a job it has also increased the number of applicants you’re competing with. This changes how you need to present yourself and your skills. The internet gives you the opportunity to tailor your CV for each position you apply for. You should always research the company and role, because a generic CV will not pass the first sift. The other thing to consider is your LinkedIn profile and other presence on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok etc. Once you’re passed the first sift, don’t think that the interview panel are not going to check out your social media profiles, photos and all. Have a look at your social media privacy settings, your handle and email address. You only want friends seeing your pictures of you partying. Your social media handles and email addresses need to look professional too. 

Some things from the 1970’ to the present day have stood the test of time when thinking about job seeking. Keep you r CV updated as you never know when you might need it. Make sure it is concise and full of powerful action words. Remember interpersonal skill play a major part in getting a job, so brush up on these. Also networking plays a key role too, so use LinkedIn to find out who you know at the company you are interested in. All these things will make you stand out in today’s competitive job market. Good luck with your next job search.