There’s an App for That, Sorta

mikeI’m going to go all geeky and tech guy on you in this installment, so you will have to forgive me.

To track internet usage over the last decade, the Pew Institute publishes an annual report on how and what people are doing on the internet.

The 2012 report has added an interesting dynamic to digital consumer society — mobile devices.  This year has seen a huge uptick in mobile internet usage as more users are accessing the internet via a smartphone, laptop or tablet as opposed to a desktop computer. Such devices have created a wider market for internet consumption in ways not even seen in the 1990’s.

Therefore, companies have been racing to develop new applications, or apps, to meet the needs of their customers. No longer do consumers solely use the internet via mobile devices to search and email. Now, they are consuming– buying goods, seeking education, and devouring entertainment. These changes among digital consumers made me wonder just what affect such changes are having on the employment industry.

As a whole, job boards and search websites, recruiting firms and headhunters utilize the internet to post and match occupations with job seekers. Some companies purchase job listings for websites, or post them on their own sites only to have them farmed by external recruiters.

Job seekers utilize popular sites like Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com to find the right jobs, build resumes and connect with other job seekers for tips and support. More recently, social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook’s BranchOut have been luring employers and potential employees away from the larger job boards by creating space for professional networking. They connect in a more personal setting, or maybe I should say, “personnel” setting—ouch, sorry about that one.

One would think the market is rife with job search tools for the smartphone or tablet, and one would be right. Monster, Career Builder, Manpower, Indeed and Simply Hired all have mobile apps. Career Builder also has Career Rookie for internships, hourly jobs, and entry-level jobs. All of these apps make job searching readily available in the palm of your hand, and in many cases, they will notify you by phone or text if a new job matching your interest arises. A bevy of lesser known apps also can be found that spider job listings from company websites, like LinkUp. Some apps provide industry specific leads, such as Dice, an IT job board.

But alas, beyond a basic job searching function, the available apps for smartphones or tablets have yet to live up to their full potential. Maybe I’m just too old, but typing my resume on my phone is not going to happen. My thumbs are almost too big to write my name on the touch screen, let alone format a resume. However, there are some useful tools out there:

Pocketresume.net, for instance, is helpful for filling out applications on an employer website. Some places, like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, no longer accept paper applications. The app will also help users keep track of the information needed to complete applications.

• The not-so-creatively titled app, Resume APP, also serves as a resume builder. Unfortunately, I can only gloss the info page about it because it costs $2.99 to download, or $4.99 for the Resume APP HD—seriously?

Monster.com has an interview app with advice and practice scenarios. This one is kind of cool in that it takes the place of a human job coach and gives you a lot of support in preparation for a job interview. Think, Max Headroom giving you a job interview, sorta. (If you are over 35, you love that reference!)

• Another app to check out, although it still needs some work, is Tweetmyjobs. This one integrates your social network into your job search. Not sure why you would want to do this, unless it’s good that your friends (who took photos at the party last weekend) know what jobs you are applying for . . . maybe, nah.

• This next iTunes one is pretty cool and great for iPhone users, although I can’t find its location on Android. Job Compass is a location-based search app that produces a map showing where you are located at the moment along with available jobs in that area.

• Finally, for anyone trying to pick a career, check IPQ Career Planner. This one allows you to take the Occupational Personality Questionnaire and identifies jobs that match your personality traits. Unfortunately, it’s rudimentary at best.

So, the bottom line is your phone will soon become a great job search tool . . . but not just yet. There, that’s as techie as I can get.

Michael Webster serves as an Industry Liaison to the Education Sector for the Gulf Coast Workforce Board. With over a decade of experience in teaching and staff development, Michael is passionate about ensuring all students achieve an enriching and successful life beyond high school. In his current capacity, he services school districts in developing a strong workforce and in delivering career resources to students and their families.



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