By Arnie Fertig
Nearly 2 in 3 Americans own smartphones, "and for many, these devices are a key entry point to the online world," according to a 2015 series of surveys conducted by Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The degree to which Americans are dependent on their smartphones for Internet access differs, with significant implications for both employers and job seekers. Interestingly, 15 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, 13 percent of Americans with incomes less than $30,000 per year, 12 percent of African-Americans and 13 percent of Latinos are dependent on smartphones for online access.
By contrast, just 1 percent of Americans with household incomes of more than $75,000 and 4 percent of whites are totally dependent on smartphones to get online. As Aaron Smith, senior researcher at Pew Research Center, writes: "Lower income and 'smartphone-dependent' users are especially likely to use their phone for job and employment resources."
It then comes as no surprise to see a surge in smartphone apps for job seekers, both for the Apple and Android platforms. Early entrants are being continually updated, and newer apps are emerging all the time. There are two prime target audiences: the upwardly emerging youngest generation of workers and the least skilled low-wage earners.
Job boards, such as Indeed, Monster and CareerBuilder, provide the ability to create accounts, find, filter and manage jobs of interest and apply for positions via your phone. You can create alerts to be notified when jobs that meet criteria you specify become available. LinkedIn's app continues to evolve, although it still has some kinks to work out.
Other sites, like Glassdoor, enable access to much of their content through their own apps. The Glassdoor app, for example, states on its Google Play description: "Job seekers get access to the latest job listings as well as company reviews and salary reports, shared by those who know the company best – the employees."
Aiming for the less affluent, lower skilled workers are apps like Snagajob, which claims to be "the No. 1 site for hourly paying jobs with full-time, part-time, student, teen and seasonal jobs available" in its description. This app allows you to search for and apply to over 350,000 jobs across a variety of industries, including restaurant, retail and customer service.
While the apps are ever more shiny and powerful, they have not yet been able to provide full desktop capacities without problems. When you look over the reviews on Google Play or Apple's App Store, you'll see complaints about applications not being up to date, having limited features, freezing without saving changes and more.
To be sure, there is much to be said for working on your job hunt when away from your desk or out of your home. Here are a few tips:
By Arnie Fertig