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How different is the job application process now?

The last 20 years have been witness to massive changes in how people find job vacancies, how interviews are conducted and even the key values employers now look for. For example if you were to print off 50 CVs and head into your local city center looking for work, chances are you would be heading home with maybe 45 left, with 4 out of the 5 submitted pushed in drawers never to be seen again.

Most people know by now that the only way you can effectively find a job is by sitting on your laptop for hours on end, saving your CV to job sites, and trawling through several applications. As much as this is difficult for those without much experience on computers the procedure itself is so much better. You can now apply for a large number of jobs in a small space of time, and most sites place recommended jobs below the one you are applying for. All of this increases your chances of employment in your desired role and is also done quicker than ever before.

Second to the higher efficiency of applying online, employers and recruiters also go through jobs sites and look through your CV and personal statement, and if your profile is of interest to them they will contact you directly via email or a call (should you set these permissions on your job profile). Recruiters in particular can be quite useful as they get commission from finding you work, and because their commission has no effect on the pay you will receive it is literally a win-win situation! My two most recent jobs came from people contacting me and not the other way round. By saving your CV on job sites and creating a profile, you are telling people that you are actively seeking work and you become part of an online directory for employers.

So you’ve saved your online profile and it’s now interview day. But where is it? With an increased variety of interviewing methods we now live in a world where you can have Skype interview – where I’ve known several people to be in formal attire from the waist up and pajama pants where the webcam cannot see! Not only this, being able to be sat in your own home for an interview can for some remove some of the tension and nerves that come from the whole interview procedure. If you’re getting stressed you can look around and remember you’re sat in your bedroom, not their boardroom.

My example of Skype interviews in pajamas is a true event for friends of mine, but it leads on to what is the final major change in applications and interviews – attire. My mother is still appalled at the notion that any male would go to an interview with facial hair, or not in a full suit. She is of the generation that believes you need to be clean shaven, in your interview suit, with smart black shoes.

This still remains true for some jobs, but nowadays personality is becoming as important as skill-set for employers. I’ve been in many interviews where their main purpose was to see if I was ‘the right fit for the team’. Therefore by following the traditional interview attire, you could sometimes shoot yourself in the foot by doing what you think is right. It sounds ridiculous I know but because your intention is to come across interesting and memorable to your interviewer, make use of the fact your attire can help you do this!

None of the above are concrete facts, just observations of somebody who has been through this process several times in the last few years and has seen first hand the transition from paper to digital CVs, and from looking in the back of the paper to getting job alerts sent in real time to your phone. Jobs are out there, and the internet has made it easier than ever before to find the one you want.

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