What are the differences in modern job application?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 - Job Application


What are the differences in

modern job application?

(Answer: its about tactics, not strategy!)

If you read many articles about modern job search, then you will find two basic strands of thought, debate and often argument:

  1. It’s all about the tech: jobs boards, LinkedIn, Twitter
  2. It’s not really changed that much, except: the old school still works, technology is just an add-on

The resultant confusion in that question, part of the answer to Why do good job seekers get rejected, led me to developing the 5 Steps To Employment. But let me lead you through this answer, and show you what is happening in the modern jobs market.

What has changed?

The first question, what has chnaged? In part, the answer to that question depends on when you last applied for a job?

Pre the 2008 recession, there was lots of work and too few job applicants. That situation reversed post 2008, a time when companies also choose to extract themselves from difficult future pension fund problems by making redundant a lot of their older and higher waged employees redundant.

When did you graduate?

A lot of these new job seekers had not had to look for a job since school/graduation. Some statistics show that their average time from last to current job search was over 10 years. They hence approached a whole new world of job search, the most startling statistics of which is that in the 10 years from 2001 to 2011, where as 90% of job applications were on paper, now 90% are electronic.

To say that these people were approaching job search with a set of old tactics was a gross under statement!

Modern job search is easy, right?

So, if you have never had to search for a job for 10+ years, where do you get your information about how to do modern job search? It seems that most choose either the internet or listened to the chat and banter going on down at their local pub or sports club.

From that, they must have concluded that modern job search was easy:

  • Step1: take old CV, and update
  • Step2: find a jobs board, and apply
  • Step3: get employed, quickly, on a better wage than before!

The problem is, most have not found it that easy: why?

The myth of jobs boards

I call this modern phenonenon the myth of jobs boards. Simply put, jobs boards don’t work for the job applicant, but for the employer. In the old days, your job applicant competition was defined at maximum by where the local newspaper was distributed, and who read it/when. Now, a graduate in Mumbai can just as easily read about a job in Nottingham on his iPhone, as a local job seeker sat in the local library or jobs centre.

Put simply, jobs boards have only increased the competition for jobs seekers.

What level?

Part of the other question for modern job seekers, is what level they are seeking employment at?

The old addage of skills, qualifications and experiences – now converted into the modern poloitically correct Human Resources version of competencies – still applies, but only in the middle white collar/professional sector:

  • Blue collar and unskilled: there are lots of cheap job applicants in this sector, so its less about SQE and more about turning up ad applying yourself. Job application systems often consist of aptitude/psych tests, followed by a period of on the job learning and testing. If after 12+ weeks you have met the required standards, you might get offered a longer term contract. The Governments Work Programme follows similar lines – irrespective of skills or educational level – if you have been unemployed for longer than 12weeks
  • White collar and professional: these employers still recruit on SQE, but on average wages are down by 10% since 2008 due to excess competition
  • Executive: they are recruiting for results and social fit. If you can answer the headhunters question, then you might make progress

Everythings changed, and yet…

So, in summary:

  • Everythiung has changed, except…
  • Nothing has changed!

The major change is that we live in a more flexible employment market: its easier to hire and fire, although still not as easily as in most parts of the United States. Secondly the same old processes still exist, its just that the internet allows both employer and job seeker to look further. Thirdly, what was done on paper now gets done o the internet a lot faster.

Simply put: its all the same, its just that the tactics have changed a great deal.

Good Luck!

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One Response to “What are the differences in modern job application?”

  1. Jean Francis Says:

    Normally I don’t read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up compelled me to do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very nice article.

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