As I sit here at my Macbook Air, I can’t help but wonder about the impact of technology, specifically the internet, on the job application process. The process has certainly become much easier and faster, thanks to online job portals and applicant tracking systems. However, is it really worth the time and effort put into it?
Back in the day, job applications involved sending in hard copies of resumes, cover letters, and letters of recommendation to employers via postal mail. Each application had to be weighed, stamped, and mailed separately. It was a time-consuming process, but it was all that people knew. Today, online job applications have made the process much simpler, and employers can evaluate applications from the comfort of their offices.
In theory, this approach is more efficient. However, the downside is that an applicant’s credentials are judged based on certain keywords and algorithms that may be embedded within the application portal. This process can inadvertently exclude qualified candidates, which means that the candidate’s hard work in preparing a CV, cover letter, and other application material goes unnoticed.
As a potential job candidate, navigating the online job environment can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. Job applicants are required to customize their materials to fit within the employer’s applicant tracking system, often making it difficult to differentiate themselves from other candidates.
Moreover, what happens to the ‘human touch’ of job applications? It seems that everything is becoming automated and processed via technology. Are we losing the personal touch in this process?
For job seekers to stand out in an online environment, they must do more preparation work than in the past. They must ensure that their LinkedIn profile is up to date and that they reach out to hiring managers directly to express their interest in a position. They must also research the company thoroughly so that they can tailor their application materials to the employer’s values and goals.
Additionally, job seekers must be aware of applicant tracking systems (ATS). These systems are used by employers to filter and screen job applications automatically. While the goal is to streamline the process, it can sometimes lead to qualified candidates being excluded from the process. This means that job seekers must craft their resumes and cover letters with the ATS in mind, otherwise their applications may be eliminated before they even have a chance to be seen by a human being.
To get past the “ATS Troll”, The Muse offers some tips to job seekers, including keeping formatting simple and using the correct keywords. Once the applicant’s materials have made it past the ATS, they will then be evaluated by human eyes.
In conclusion, the internet has certainly revolutionized the job application process, making it faster and more efficient. However, the downside is that the process has become more impersonal and automated. Job seekers must remember to inject a personal touch into their applications and to optimize their materials for the ATS, while still making sure that they stand out from the crowd. The internet should be seen as a tool that applicants can use to their advantage, but it should not be over-relied upon. After all, that personal touch may just be what sets an applicant apart from the rest.