With the advent of Internet, social media and mobile applications, the world has seen a new revolution; a revolution of how these platforms can converge to provide an unparalleled level, speed and depth of services. The convergence of social media, mobility and knowledgeable worker has resulted in products and services that offer new solutions to old problems – including the ubiquitous “job search”.
So has the game of job search changed in recent times?
Gone are the days where a job seeker would open up the daily newspaper and run through the job listings to find a job of his/her choice. The world is now connected and there exists sophisticated platforms and applications ranging from LinkedIn to Facebook to mobile applications that have enhanced the ability of an individual to connect with others, sell their services, position their strengths and apply for a job. In the coming decade more job positions will be created and filled online than through the print medium.
The Generation Y has been quite adept at adopting this new paradigm; rather many have played significant roles in shaping this new economy. With the recent downfalls of the economy many baby-boomers are still seeking employment and the Generation X have a long way to go before retirement. The challenge is for the latter two generations to adapt to the new connected economy.
So how does one succeed in this age of hyper-connectivity and social media? How does one leverage these platforms in the most effective way and how does one come out victorious?
In this age of convergence the key to success lies in the ability to know what’s out there (tools and services), who to reach out (network) and how to leverage these resources (strategies and counter-strategies).
“App-Zap-Pump-Play” is a strategy that addresses this need.
What is App-Zap-Pump-Play?
“App” is an abbreviation for application. An app is a piece of software. It can run on the Internet, on your computer, or on your phone or other electronic device.
“Zap” means people – and the community or ecosystem of services that can aid an individual or an organization in its pursuit of its objective. In its pure essence, Zap is your social graph.
“Pump” are all strategies and actions that an individual or an organization can take, leveraging App and Zap resources to achieve the objective. Pump defines the actions you take in achieving your goals.
“Play” is the ecosystem that exists around you, impacting every action and creating reactions. It is the all-pervasive flow of information and actions that affect your Zap and Pump.
When used together App-Zap-Pump-Play can create a focused approach to reach any professional or personal goal, even job hunting.
Here is an example on how you could use “App-Zap-Pump-Play” for job search:
A job seeker downloads some of the leading job applications (such as Jobvite, iJobs, JobMagic etc) on a smartphone. S/he then visits a number of online job services such as Monster.com, Hotjobs etc where the person posts a resume. S/he also logs into various social media sites such as LinkedIn that can show people who are directly or indirectly linked to a job posting, Facebook that has job ads, and Twitter that has twitter groups that post jobs. Many discussion groups such as the ones on LinkedIn also have significant listings of jobs. Moreover, there are specialty services such as from social-hire.com that helps one in leveraging the social media to ones advantage. These tools, mobile apps and services are the “Apps”
Then job seeker uses social media such as LinkedIn (professional network) and Facebook (personal network) to connect with people so that s/he can position himself or herself to a prospective employer. There are conferences, seminars and meet-ups (www.meetup.com) that bring employers and prospective employees together. It’s also a great idea to actively participate through contributions in discussion forums, blogs and white papers as a subject matter expert. This allows one to gain visibility amongst industry peers and helps expand one’s network. All these activities that lead to connecting with people, following organizations, attending conferences, participating in discussion forums are the “Zap”.
“Pump” is about how one takes these Apps and Zaps, and puts together an actionable strategy. For example after downloading the apps on your smartphone or on your computer, the job seeker uses an online job portal like TheLadders, Monster.com etc. to screen jobs and set up notifications that will alert him/her on new postings. If the job seeker finds a job posting from a desired company, s/he can follow that company on LinkedIn and Facebook to follow its updates. Same is the case with Twitter. Interestingly many companies have setup their virtual presence on Second Life (www.secondlife.com). Through LinkedIn the job seeker can research more on the hiring manager, send a connection invite, find out who within the network is connected to the hiring manager, find common interests – an information that can be used one’s advantage. If the hiring manager has a blog or a white paper, the job seeker can download and read it and post constructive comments. Moreover, all of this can be done using a smart phone while the job seeker is on the run, vacationing or even commuting. The power of reaching out to so many individuals in such a short time gives unparalleled visibility and reach. The calendar function on the smartphone can be used to send calendar invites or accept interview times on the go. One can achieve a lot more in a day and increase the chances to be called for an interview.
For every action there is an equal and an opposite reaction. So there will be counter-actions for all the efforts one puts towards a job search and closing an opportunity. This is called competition a.k.a “Play”. The question is how does one overcome it? Once again the Apps and Zaps will come to help. One can identify one’s competition by finding peers in the industry; understand what strengths they bring to the table and what have been their career paths. Researching peers on on LinkedIn and Facebook; reading their blogs, following them on Twitter will provide a complete understanding of individuals. It will also give a job seeker a 360-degree understanding of oneself – what are the unique strengths and what are the weaknesses. The idea is to play to one’s strengths and manage one’s weaknesses. For example one can leverage the power of social media to get references for a job application, identify people in the network whose recommendations matter for the hiring manager, create a brand for oneself through contributions in the industry – all this while moving fast through the best use of mobile technology. Overall a counter-strategy that has elements of speed, brand image and network connections one can very confidently overcome the challenges posed by competition – be the competition be from an opponent who is an external job candidate or be it even an internal hire.