The Wall Goes Up

When my IT career first got really going, way back in 1995-1996, I had applied the "modern" tools of job searching.  These were advanced things like online job ads, fax modems, and so forth.  Yes, there was a time when people not only used faxes a lot, doing it from your computer was impressive.

So as my career progressed in 1996, I was speculating on my career and noting the role of technology in the job search.  I met people who were keeping up with technology in their job searches, and I sensed something happening, a division among people in how they used technology in their careers.  Technology was an "enhancer" and people using it would get more and better connected, and it would produce a cultural shift.

I christened it "The Wall."  As technology advanced, some people would be more on the "inside", connected by technology and social understanding to career opportunities, some would not keep up on the technical changes to the job search and career building and loose out.

It's some fifteen years later, and as I recall that insight, I think I had a point.

Networking still dominates jobfinding, but now it's via technology that didn't exist fifteen years ago.  Job searching via want ads has changed and continues to change.  Online printing lets you make fancy business cards, websites let you get your name online, Youtube can let you put out attention-getting videos.

The tools are there.  Things have changed.

Despite the lousy economy of the Great Recession, I see people getting jobs and building careers.  Almost to a one their success stories are a mix of good technique (networking, proper resumes) and leveraging technologies – job postings, networking tools, etc.  These are people "inside the Wall", who are connected and know how to use the tools that evolved over the years.

I also see people who, frankly, can't get jobs despite many opportunities, and in most cases it's the mirror image.  They haven't kept up with what the job market has become, they don't use the technology, and they loose out.  They don't create imaginative resumes with Desktop tools, they don't maintain networks, they don't check career news in RSS feeds.  No matter how good they are at the job search, they're at a severe disadvantage – and if they're bad at the job search they're just hosed.

Sometimes I talk to people about LinkedIn, social media, networking, and the changing ods of job posting sites.  Sometimes I get blank stares.

You can guess which people, in general, are doing better career-wise.

The Wall went up over the years.  The Great Recession may just make the divisions more obvious and painful.

– Steven Savage