- By Michael Hart
We are becoming increasingly addicted to our smartphones: they are becoming a part of our daily routines, and we are using them to carry out a wide variety of tasks. Whilst there are positive and negative aspects to this, we can use them to our advantage in the search for a career. In the increasingly competitive graduate job market, there are 1000’s of apps designed to help with many aspects of the job-hunting process, which could give you the edge in the search for your dream job.
Smartphones have dramatically increased in popularity over the last 5 years, and now dominate the handset market in most developed nations. The latest figures from OFCOM show that smartphones now account for 64% of all handsets sold in the UK; whilst according to market researcher IDC, 1 billion smartphones have been sold worldwide in 2013 – double the number sold two years ago. This is as a result of increased consumer demand, which has driven fierce competition in the market, with Samsung, Apple and Microsoft increasing the roll-out of new products.
In just a few short years, our obsession with smartphones has become an addiction: they have transformed from being a cutting-edge communications gadget, to becoming an essential part of our everyday lives. We are now using our smartphones for a wide range of tasks: from social networking and emails, to getting directions and organising our diary.
As a result, smartphones are quickly becoming an important part of our daily routine and structure: we are checking our emails and notifications as soon as we wake up, whilst getting news and weather updates throughout the morning, staying connected with friends and business contacts during the afternoon, and using them for online shopping and entertainment in the evenings. Our smartphones are always within an arms-length, and many people now get feelings of ‘tech anxiety’ when their phone loses charge or connection!
Many people have highlighted the negative impacts of our addictive relationship to smartphones, suggesting that we have become too reliant on them, as we never switch them off and feel a constant need to be connected. However, there are also many positive aspects: they make it easier for us to communicate with friends, family and business contacts; whilst they also enable us to complete many tasks using the same device.
For graduates, smartphones can have an especially positive impact on helping to find a job, as there are now 1000’s of careers apps designed to help with different aspects of the job-hunting process: including networking, job-searching, interview preparation and CV writing. It can even be argued that smartphones are revolutionising the way we search for careers, and could help you gain the edge in an increasingly competitive UK jobs market.
Networking apps LinkedIn and Contacts Journal can help to keep track of your contacts, whilst apps such as LunchMeet allow you to locate colleagues and potential employers, to arrange face-to-face meetings. Business Card Reader is also very useful, allowing you to instantly record and store the information in your contacts.
Job-search apps are becoming increasingly popular. Job Compass and Hire-A-Droid enable you to search for jobs in your surrounding area, and plot them on a map in relation to your location. These, along with other similar apps (including iJobs, Job Finder and Now Hiring), allow you to narrow your search according to factors such as job type, location and pay. They also support searches across multiple search engines and company websites, giving you the greatest chance of finding a job to match your requirements.
Perhaps the most useful career-related apps are the ones which help you improve your CV and interview skills. Apps such as Pocket Resume allow you to build a CV on your phone, and export it in a variety of formats. You can then edit or re-order your resume for specific positions, and email it directly to your potential employer. Other apps, such as 101 HR Interview Questions, and Audio Job Interview, can help you to build confidence and practice your interview technique.
As you can see, there are a huge variety of apps available to help with your career-search. However, it is important not to completely rely on these apps: many large employers have not yet adapted their application websites for smartphone handsets; so the desktop versions of careers sites are often more user-friendly. Despite this, careers apps can still go a long way in helping your search for a job: they can provide a basis for your search, allow you to connect with important contacts, and refine your CV and interview skills. So make sure you put your smartphone addiction to good use, and embrace careers apps as part of your job search: opting not to use them could put you at a disadvantage; but using them will maximize your chances of getting the job you desire.