“Old School” is a common phrase from job seekers, particularly those in pre-retirement mode. No matter your age or industry, if you haven’t kept up with technology it won’t matter that you describe yourself as “old school.” You simply won’t be qualified for the job.
The days are gone when you could just walk into a place of business and drop off your resume to the Human Resources department. You won’t get your opportunity to meet a recruiter face-to-face until well into the application process. Let’s consider all the technical obstacles one might face when applying for a position.
#1: The Search
- You cannot find a job posting without utilizing an online database somewhere. You’ll need to join and upload documents to several online job boards in order to find a position worth sending in an application. For entry-level to upper-management, sites like Monster, Career Builder and Jobing are good places to start. For executive level positions try The Ladders or LinkedIn.
#2: The Application
- Mid- to large-size companies will utilize an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for job applications. ATS is a common and secure way to track applicants’ information and helps recruiters weed out the applicants that are underqualified for the position without taking one look at their resume.
- If your resume is not formatted to be ATS “friendly” the program will not pull keywords that recruiters are searching for.
- Additionally, the software will ask you to enter information into the system manually. You will be asked to duplicate information already on your resume. This is a tedious process, but necessary.
#3: The Interview
- The majority of companies will contact an applicant for an initial interview by email. Even if you are the most qualified applicant on paper, if you’re not accustomed to communicating in this way it can cost you. Emails should be answered promptly (24-hours or less), appropriately written (in business format) and the address itself should identify you (i.e. YourName@email.com).
- You should not reply to emails with a phone call unless asked to do so, it will create a longer process of “phone tag” that can be easily avoided.
#4: The Programs
- If you have a specialized job you’ll need to make sure you not only keep up with the programs and systems that are pertinent to performing your job duties but several of the following programs are expected to be known as well depending on the role.
- Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
- Email Systems (MS Outlook is the most common in business)
- Adobe / Adobe Reader
- Customer Relationship Management Systems (particularly for customer service and sales positions)
- Electronic / Online Time Keeping Systems
Not keeping up with technology over time will lead to future issues when it comes to applying for jobs or even landing a promotion. If your wondering why your resume didn’t make it past the initial application process it may be because it wasn’t optimized for ATS. If you waited two weeks to respond to an email because it was in your “junkbox” that’s probably the reason why the recruiter hasn’t gotten back to you. If you told the hiring manager that you’ve never used MS Word when applying for an executive assistant position, that’s why you didn’t get a call back. This may seem redundant to some and you may not be willing to admit it, but if you’re not familiar with today’s technology in the workplace it’s time for a refresher course.