In today’s society, convenience is your friend and emailing and social networks are prime examples of convenient communication. However, when it comes to the professional world, convenience may become the enemy.
According to CareerChangeChallenge.com, a career advice website, searching for a job online should only consist of about 10 percent of your time. Though 85 percent of employers post job openings to search engines, such as Monster.com, applying online is No. 2 in success rate with 26 percent. Networking is No. 1 at a 34 percent success rate and includes face-to-face meetings and telephone calls to the potential employer.
Deborah Chavez is a program coordinator in the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Engineering Department. She is also a skill adviser to the students helping to improve graduation rates and acquiring the skills to find a job once they graduate. She said the biggest problem she faces in helping with employment pursuits is that students do not take time to listen to the interview question, form an answer and fully answer the question in a complete manner.
“Having professional social skills teaches the student how to interact on a different level by teaching them how to think and speak differently and therefore have the ability to articulate their thought process clearly, and not be as nervous about the unknown of the professional questions,” she said.
With social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook, becoming a popular medium for communication and networking, it can also backfire against the student. A study by Microsoft showed that 79 percent of employers actually conduct an online search of applicants and 70 percent say they turn down applicants based on what they found, according to CareerChangeChallenge.com.
“No matter how close you are with a person, I think you should always be somewhat formal because you never know who is going to see it,” Nika Lawrie, UNM senior, said. “You want to represent yourself the best way you can.”
But online content is not the only factor in the modern-day job search. Lindsey Miller is the research director at the Democratic Party of New Mexico and is present during many interviews with potential interns. It’s important to know a person can actually interact with real people, she said, and not hide behind a computer screen.
“If there is not a lot of difference between the applicants’ resumes, the person who presents themselves with the most confidence and has a personality fit for the position will probably be the one we hire,” Miller said.
A firm handshake, direct eye contact and even good posture are virtually impossible to show-off to a potential employer through email, yet may be skills that could give you an edge over the other applicants.
“The resume gets the interview, the interview gets the job,” Chavez said. “A student has to possess the skills, experience and knowledge for the interview in order to 'land' the job.”