Answer E. All of the Above

When I was in school it seemed like every multiple-choice test included at least a few questions for which the answer was “E. All of the above.” Once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult: if you’re absolutely sure that at least two of the answers above are correct, “All of the above” is the right choice.

Moore's Law Graph

It’s been a while since I graduated high school. The intervening years have seen the rise of the Internet, the availability of smaller, faster, cheaper computers, and a sometimes bewildering choice of mobile communications technology. Along the way I’ve become a huge fan of Moore’s Law, which in 1965 predicted that “The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.”

If you think that the number of transistors on a chip doesn’t matter, think again. You many not know what goes on inside your computer, but because Gordon Moore turned out to be right the laptop you’re probably using right now could run rings around ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the world’s first general purpose computer, which weighed 30 tons. And your laptop is much, much cheaper.

Given such computing power at low cost, programmers and other tech types have figured out all kinds of things to do with it. I’m not going to recount the who, when and what (that could fill a book), but in addition to personal desktop and notebook style computers, we have cell phones, smart phones, tablets, digital media players, the Internet, e-mail, and social media–and much more. The challenge now is to figure out which of these is useful to you, to your friends and colleagues, to your customers, to your next employer….

That’s how I come back to “All of the above.” The answer isn’t “either/or” it’s “and/both.” Not just both, but many. With so many people looking for jobs (or better jobs) these days, the question is often “What’s the best way to use technology to look for a job?” And the answer is (all together now!): All of the above. The even better question is, “Where are the jobs you want, and how do your potential employers use technology?” Because the place to find a job is where employers are posting, searching, reading and recruiting.

You know how it goes in the other aspects of your life. The teenagers are on their cell phones, texting. Mom and Dad have laptops and cell phones, but they probably use their phones for voice calls more than for text (except with the teens). The grandparents, many of them, still have a landline phone that is their preferred method of communication. It’s the same with employers.

There are the leading edge companies that ask for a cover letter by e-mail with the URL of your LinkedIn profile. Attach a resume as a Word document, if you must, but you’ll already have one strike against you if you do. There’s the middle of the pack that’s using online job boards or posting open positions on their websites. Submit your resume through a web portal or by e-mail. I’ve even seen a job posting (it was a position with non-profit historic preservation organization, naturally) that only wants to receive your resume by snail mail. Seriously. Accompanied by a cover letter signed with a quill pen, no doubt.

So which do you do? Whatever the employer wants! Meet them where they are, even if it means exporting your LinkedIn profile to a file, converting it to a Word document, and printing it on paper. Or the reverse, turning an old paper resume into an electronic document or a LinkedIn profile. Follow your dream companies on LinkedIn and Twitter. Like them on Facebook. Sign up for their e-mail blasts or RSS feed for their blogs. Find out where else they are online, then learn about them and (if it fits their corporate culture) engage with them.

Thanks to Donna Svei, who blogs as the Avid Careerist. Her discussion of updating business cards for the 21st century prodded me to finally address “and/both” on my own blog.

One thought on “Answer E. All of the Above

  1. Donna Svei aka AvidCareerist November 11, 2010 / 10:35 am

    Hi Karen,

    Meeting the employer where they are? Spot on! Thank you for the mention and thank you for inspiring my post, “Job Seekers: Should You Put Your Picture on Your Business Card?”


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