Isn’t technology supposed to help us with our jobs rather than make them more difficult. I wonder sometimes when new processes and systems are introduced whether they do actually save us time.

Take recruitment for instance. In the ‘baby boomer days’ you found a job in the paper – sent off your c.v. and the recruiting manager at the other end sifted through the applicants and then you got a rejection letter or confirmation letter moving you onto the next stage, possibly a shortlist or an interview.

Nowadays, all that is done electronically.  But what does that mean in practice?

Well you spend a lot of time on the computer, sign up to lots of websites and search the internet for suitable jobs. You fill in all your applications online, making sure you add in the right words. You wait and if you are lucky you might get an automatic acknowledgement. Unfortunately, too many times your application gets lost in the mists of time, the ether or some technical black hole.  In fact, your application may not get reviewed by an actual person at all. Rather more likely, it will be screened out before it reaches any short list by the computer algorithms and key words in the software.

So, when you’re after a job in the 21st Century what can you do to improve your chances? Well it in the first instance, you need to be really good at knowing how to present yourself on line. You need to know how to search for jobs and the difference between agencies, job boards and companies’ own sites.  You need to be very disciplined about keeping records of what you have applied for on what sites and where you have got to on your responses. Often jobs will be placed on multiple sites. You need to learn to navigate the systems. Recently, I was looking with a coachee at what she thought was a job she could apply for that turned out to be a completely different role with a different company – not the company advertising but one of their clients!

Forget the scattergun approach of applying for anything and everything – you need to be really selective and focus down your search for the right industry, company, role, location and specific type of job you are after.

Research shows that 80% of jobs are not even advertised and still the best way to find a job is through someone you know, by referral.  So, networking, in person preferably, is the key. But don’t neglect online.  You need to have your presence through LinkedIn or whatever social media is relevant. Give the recruiter a clue. You need to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and what you’re passionate about. Perhaps the job you want doesn’t yet exist and you have a unique skill set. You might even be “head hunted”.

It would be good if recruiters and recruitment technology would work a bit more in the favour of the candidates, as well as the company because it’s really dispiriting for applicants when they don’t even get an acknowledgement after spending half a day applying. But two questions for employers who rely on modern recruitment technology are; what messages does it put out about your companies’ values, if applicants go into black holes. And are you sure that you’re not missing out on talent by relying on a computer to screen your applicants rather than your ability to pick a winner in the old ‘baby boomer’ generation way.