The Evolution of Job Searching

Some of you may be lucky enough to already know what you’re going to be doing next year. Whether you’ve already landed that oh so coveted full time job offer, or you’ll be returning to BC to finish your undergrad or MBA program, you fortunate ones don’t have to have your parents on your back week in and week out about what you’re going to be doing after graduation. Many of the seniors in this class are in the midst of trying to find that first job. It can be very stressful at times trying to figure out what exactly you want to do with your life. Then when you finally find something you might like, you have to go through several rounds of phone calls and in person interviews just to find out they gave the job to some kid at Harvard. What most of us don’t think about very often is that the way we go about searching for these jobs is so drastically different than how our parents found their first jobs that it seems pretty comical.

jobs

I was talking to my mom recently about looking for jobs and she started to tell me what it was like trying to find her first job out of college. She explained how she moved home after graduating, then started looking in the wanted ads in the local newspaper, made about 50 copies of her resume (that she made on a typewriter), dropped them off at the respective business, and then waited for any phone calls. As she told me this, I started to laugh because it’s so incredibly different than how we approach job searches today that it just made me think of movie scenes where you see people looking for jobs in the newspaper.

typewriter

Our reality and ability to search for jobs, not only in our immediate area, but, frankly, all over the world is so much more advanced than when our parents found their first jobs that it is kind of hard for us to think about having to do that. The advancements of the Internet over the last 25 years have opened up an entirely new realm of job opportunities with just the use of a computer. Even within the last 10 years, with the incredible rise of social media, the way many people search for occupations has greatly changed. Linkedin is absolutely the least entertaining form of social media that I use, but it is easily the most important and useful profile that I have. It has given me the ability to connect with people I’m friends with on a much more professional level, while also giving you the ability to reach out to people you don’t know to learn about jobs, companies and opportunities. There’s even thousands of job postings on Linkedin that allow you to apply to open positions with the click of a button. Even though this social media site is a lot less social and a lot more professional, being a user of Linkedin has the opportunity to provide a lot more benefit to your life in the future than does posting pictures of your salad on Instagram. I think people our age will realize very soon that it is one of the better things to come out of the social media revolution.

linkedinAlthough it may seem like this is tough to do, plenty of people are able to get jobs through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This is usually reserved for jobs that have a much more creative element to them than your typical desk job, but it still happens quite often. I did a google search to find out ways people got jobs through social media and there were dozens of stories of people making creative hashtags and clever tweets (usually trolling or making fun of something big happening in the news) that end up getting seen by the right people. Maybe they continue to look at other content on your profile and see that you could be a great addition to their company. Just as an example, one of my classmates from high school made an instagram account in which he photo shopped trendy articles of clothing onto really famous paintings and got thousands of followers. Later on he had an article written about him in a fashion magazine and now he has an unreal job with Vogue. This just goes to show, that for better or for worse, there’s always people seeing what you put out there on social media, and for some people their creativity and wit can land them that dream job that they may never had a chance to get if they didn’t promote themselves, whether it be on twitter, instagram, or their Linkedin profile.

Just to play devil’s advocate real quick, there are always the negatives that social media brings to the job search that our parents did not have to deal with when they were finding jobs out of newspaper ads. Everyone’s always been told to be wary of what you post on Facebook and Instagram, because you hear of that friend of a friend who didn’t get the job they wanted because of some illicit photo on Facebook of them from spring break. So, social media has done wonders for job searches, but I’m sure it was nice being a college student at a time when you didn’t have to worry about someone taking a picture of you doing something that you wouldn’t want your grandmother (or potential boss) to see.

8 comments

  1. Good post! It is funny the way we seek jobs versus the way our parents did. My dad was looking for jobs at the same time I was looking for my junior year internship and I ended up having to teach him how exactly to navigate applying to jobs via LinkedIn and other online resources. Especially at BC, the job hunt is unique as we’re constantly emailed with “This Week in CSOM” featuring employers coming to campus to network and other emails with opportunities, in addition to EagleLink. We’re lucky that we have so many companies willing to hire BC students, but it comes with the expectation that we’ve been networking and polishing our resumes all four years while we attend school. Finding a job while balancing a full workload feels like an additional 3 credit course, but the expectation for most students in our generation is that we will have landed the full time position before we walk across the stage at graduation.

  2. Great post, Mike! This title was way too relevant in my life so it absolutely was a must read. Crazy to think about the way your mom had to find a job vs. me now where I literally apply to seven a day through Eagle Link or LinkedIn. Can you believe that? Seven! At the same time, the unlimited access seems like it opens the playing field up for everyone. You really need to have a connection to make your cookie cutter resume stand out from the next candidate. Good luck with the search process!

  3. Nice post. The contrast with “the way things used to be” is particularly jarring in this area.

  4. I liked the post and also thought Ben’s comment about the job search process opening up is an especially important idea. Way back when (before even I was applying for jobs after graduating), people in HR probably didn’t have literally thousands of people applying for a single job. Nowadays, the ease of applying for jobs has created an almost effortless process that encourages you to apply to as many jobs as possible. The problem is that everyone else is doing that, so you’re competing against a much larger field. I think this is why recruiters and people in HR have begun using more advanced ways of filtering out applicants.

  5. Nice post! I have been working for Verizon for 18 years so I’ve never had to deal with what people coming out of college now are going through. I was working partime in a bakery after I graduated and my aunt who was working for then Bell Atlantic told me to apply, all in all, I was pretty lazy about the whole process looking back. You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from and I think you outlined that point well in this blog.

  6. I’ve had a similar conversation with my mom about how different the experience of post-grad job hunting is today vs. when she graduated college. It’s true – our ability to search for jobs has become crazy advanced in a very short period of time. While LinkedIn and websites like Indeed or Monster do make it easy to find job relevant opportunities, in a certain sense they also add a layer of complication given the number and variety of different jobs available. I feel like in the days of our parents, they’d find something they think is relatively interesting and just go with it. Where as today, people seem to be much more picky about what they do — the grass is always greener mentality– that has become associated with people our age entering the professional world.

  7. Great post. It is crazy to think about how people who went to Boston for college found jobs in, for example, California post-grad before the internet was around. One negative for us, though, is the amount of resumes and job apps that can pile up for a recruiter once the job posting is online for anyone to see. I think this makes it particularly hard to stand out, and that’s why connections have become so key today. Someone tweeted an article recently about how AI is now able to scan resumes for what recruiters are looking for, which is good for those who are qualified and stuck in a large stack of resumes. It will be interesting to see how this evolves on from the typewriter resume days.

  8. Interesting post. I’ve been through several job searches and find it can be enjoyable but it’s often more frustrating than anything for many of the reasons other commenters noted. I wonder if technology will lead to a drastic change in how we job search once again to do more than just submit a resume. Networking is definitely critical but the alumni network may be even more important.

%d bloggers like this: