Monday, January 13, 2014

Over Reliance on Social Media and Resumes

If you look around, most advice blogs, columns and articles related to employment issues all pretty much look the same, don’t they? They imply that if you have a resume written or formatted in a certain way; if you increase and perfect your social media presence / activity then you too can attain the job you seek. I think those who perpetuate these methods themselves don’t know how to really go out and look for a job. Their suggestions are in large part hollow, suggesting you try one thing and if it didn’t work you must not have done it correctly, or, if you did just a bit more of the same activity, you’d see results…Bulls--t! Sorry for the language but someone has to call it out for what it is.
The things to which they are referring are tools, useful tools but only tools. And even a tool as basic as a hammer in the hands of an operator who does not know what they are doing will make a lot of noise and appear busy but isn’t accomplishing much. I also contend that social media, in general terms, is already growing passé and mundane. Asking someone to be your friend online on a networking site will not get you a job, it requires a hell of a lot more. People place far too much reliance on these fads; no different than looking for that new diet pill, special herb or revolutionary but obscure fruit from some corner of the world, and other assorted miracles that will help you lose weight and be healthier. It’s the snake oil of our time, these claims that success can be yours too; and it’s only a mouse click away!
So what happens when you don’t realize success from these activities and what of those who perpetuate this kind of advice? What would they say, “you didn’t do it right, you should invest your time making adjustments and just keep doing more of the same”? Or one might think, “Hmm, maybe if I use a different photo for my online profile and resume I’ll have better luck…I need a new selfie, I wasn’t smiling in the other one”. Or “Maybe I should email more resumes and join more social networking pages, I guess I didn’t do it right…” When you read it like this it sounds a little silly and simplistic, doesn’t it. Yet this is what most people are doing and then act surprised when they get nowhere. Sure, some people succeed with these methods when you consider the sheer number of people out there doing the same thing. Most everyone wins in Vegas once and as I like to say, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
A well-constructed resume is necessary and social media exposure is helpful, both have a place in your efforts, but it is the matter of proportionality that I question and, yes, ridicule. If the majority of their efforts are handled in just such a manner it is no wonder many are so frustrated. Furthermore, people have become so reliant on these easier options they no longer know any other way, and not only can they not find themselves a job, but when they sit before a hiring manager, they no longer know what to do or say.
So what about you? As I write this blog entry there is an old song playing in my head that illustrates my thoughts about relying too much on methods that don’t actually require you to do anything, let’s see:
…In the year 5555,
Your arms hangin’ limp at your sides,
Your legs got nothin’ to do,
Some machine’s doin’ that for you…
Somehow I don’t think we’ll need to wait until 5555 as many have already lost the ability to do things for themselves.
All those faux efforts you may be making mean little if you fail to learn and first develop your rudimentary job search skills and, more important, your interview abilities. If you need further proof of the need to do more, i.e., getting back to the basics, on CNN’s “State of the Union” program of Sunday, January 5th of this new year, a top government advisor told the host there are now three people for each job opening; a 3-to-1 ratio; did you get that, for every job there are potentially three people competing for it. And as many readers of this blog are not in the U.S., unemployment rates are likewise high in most nations at the moment. So, do you still want to rely upon the same online activity everyone else is utilizing or do you recognize the need to do something more? Continue to utilize social media, but it is a costly mistake to rely on it as your primary means of searching for a job in the current economic environment. Yes, craft an effective resume but develop the skills to not only defend your resume claims but to impress the interviewer in person, beyond what a flimsy piece of paper says about you.
No doubt, what I suggest requires effort, which is why most people don’t do it. But if you’re interested in helping yourself the archives of this blog and my book provide lots of strategies and tips. If you want to pursue success you have a choice, do something more (effective) than you are presently doing and more than others are doing, or continue the same hollow gestures, waiting for someone or something to do it for you. If I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath relying on the latter.
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