5 Ways to Job Hunt On the Go

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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:1. Figure out what can be done best on which screen. Even with all the app functionality that's out there, some things are just better done on a computer monitor, like résumé writing and formatting. Line and paragraph spaces will be clear, and it will be easier to proofread. When complete, store a copy of your résumé on your smartphone. Then, if you do wind up applying for a job from an app, you can attach the full document.

2. Use mobile sites and apps to do research. If you've got some time between to-do's, you can use mobile sites and apps to search for new positions, learn more about potential employers and catch up with news relevant to your job search.

3. Take advantage of utility apps. There are a host of utility apps that can be used to increase your productivity when job hunting. For example, make use of Evernote to track just about anything and to make notes to yourself about people you've just met at a networking meeting.

4. Beware of your app's limitations. It's always better to personalize your invites to link with someone on LinkedIn, but the mobile app doesn't let you do so and instead sends a boilerplate message on your behalf. Keep track of people with whom you want to establish a connection on your phone, but wait to make the approach until you are at a computer and can personalize it.

5. Beware of your phone's limitations. Sometimes smartphones are so helpful that they can be a real pain, like when they incorrectly autocorrect your typing. Make sure that note you write, whether in applying for a job or thanking someone for interviewing you, doesn't appear to be sloppy or have incorrect spelling or word usage.

There is no doubt that apps are becoming ever better and central to how we lead our lives and advance our careers. Like anything else, however, remember that they are the tools, and you are the master. Make sure they do what you want and represent you in the best possible light.

Happy hunting!

Arnie Fertig, MPA, is passionate about helping his Jobhuntercoach clients advance their careers by transforming frantic "I'll apply to anything" searches into focused hunts for "great fit" opportunities. He brings to each client the extensive knowledge he gained when working in HR staffing and managing his boutique recruiting firm.
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