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The Internet: Is Common Career Advice Outdated?
Thanks for sticking with me to Part III of my series. The job market is an extremely frustrating place right now since councilors who are paid to dish out advice are themselves disconnected with the process. They have jobs, after all. How much are they really invested in putting themselves in our shoes?
Today I'd like to raise questions about a topic that may not seem out-of-date, the internet.
There's no way the internet is out of date! Is there?
The computer age has been with us for a while and it seems like these contraptions are now a permanent part of our life, much like the telephone. Most employers have a website, and even the smaller ones can post job openings and contact information in cyberspace, available on all stretches of the information superhighway.
Did that last sentence make you stop and think? It should have. When was the last time you heard someone use the terms "cyberspace" and "information superhighway." Even the term "world wide web" has been forgotten in favor of the abbreviation "www" (which, if you say it out loud, is actually longer than the phrase it's abbreviating).
That issue is exactly the point I'm making. The internet itself isn't out-of-date; it's the novelty of the internet that's gone the way of the dinosaurs. Career advisers don't seem to realize that, and that causes a small stew of trouble for job seekers.
My last semester in grad school, I visited the campus's career service center. My meeting lasted fifteen minutes, which consisted of three minutes of being told about the resume-reviewing workshops they run and twelve minutes being told how to use the internet. I received valuable lessons on how to conduct an internet search and how to find job postings using websites.
Sorry lady, but my 80-year-old grandfather knows how to surf the web. You're not telling me anything I don't know.
Everyone knows how to use computers. In fact, many people are at a disadvantage because they're limiting themselves to internet searches. Six months back, every job posting I read said "must be proficient in Microsoft Word." What kind of idiots do these people think we are that we don't know this stuff?
The problem is, no one in the HR business can seem to separate themselves from the idea that the internet is the next greatest thing that will revolutionize the world. The lady at my university isn't alone in limiting her advice. Everyone I go to suggests web services and career sites. I visited a job fair last week where half the employers had no idea what positions they were hiring, and all of them told me, "you should look at our website." Even more recently I walked into the state-run employment service center and the receptionist I spoke with merely told me about a job posting she had recently put on the website.
This is all stuff I could--and did--think to do myself. When struggling to find a job, this isn't advice. This is worthless and frustrating. What I need at this point is to be put in contact with employers who are hiring people like me with the understanding that I would be considered for employment. No one seems to understand the value of this. Even employers will push you off if you talk to them and say, "Go to the website." This invalidates a lot of the career advice I explained in Part II on networking and meeting people in-person.
So for all those people out there collecting a salary by perpetuating the misery of the unemployed, please give us the respect of doing a little legwork. We know how to use websites and computers. Those of us who can't get a job based on that (and all the techniques that the internet makes outdated) need a little more help.