While more Americans are turning to the Internet (and their smartphones and social media) to job hunt, a significant minority feel doubtful of their digital job-seeking savvy, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center.
Based on job-seeking data from the 34 percent of Americans who have looked for jobs in the past two years, the survey found that a majority of adults (54 percent) went online to look for job information, making them just as likely to use the Internet to find a job as their professional networks or personal contacts. Forty-five percent also said they had applied for a job online.
But despite this digital job-seeking trend, some Americans worry about their ability to create a professional resume, search online job listings, or email with potential employers. In fact, 17 percent of Americans (not including those who are disabled or retired) said it would not be easy to create a professional resume if they needed to do so. Another 21 percent said it would be difficult to highlight their employment skills on a personal website or social media profile. Meanwhile, 12 percent said it would be hard to fill out an application online, and another 11 percent said it would be challenging to use email to follow up with an employer.
The survey also showed that an increasing number of Americans are using their smartphones to job search, at 28 percent, and roughly half of those people are using their smartphones to fill out job applications. Some of those smartphone users are using their phone to complete even more complex tasks, with 23 percent of smartphone job seekers using their phone to create a resume or write a cover letter.
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Unfortunately, mobile technology seems to have some catching up to do. Nearly half of smartphone job seekers reported display issues related to jobs content and had trouble reading job listings.
It’s worth noting that those who used their smartphone to complete more complex tasks like cover letter writing and resume creation were more likely to have lower education levels than their college-educated counterparts, however. Those with a college degree typically only used their smartphone for basic logistical activities like calling an employer or responding to an email.
Social media is yet another tool Americans are using more for job searching, with 35 percent of social media users using social media to research jobs, 34 percent using social media to tell friends about available jobs, and 21 percent applying for a job through social media.
What does all this mean?
As young, job-seeking Americans turn to their computers and mobile devices with increasing frequency, employers will have to adapt by making their listings and applications friendly to multiple platforms, including social media. Likewise, job seekers will most likely need to find ways to make their digital applications and cover letters stand out from the pack in an age where a fancily designed resume might never be seen.