Our Impact

The Coevolution of Technology and Job Applications

Posted by Caleb Parker on March 27, 2020

Caleb Parker, 22, writes articles, commercial scripts, ad reads, press releases, and newsletters for JobGet Inc. He graduated from Gettysburg College in December of 2019 with a BA in English Literature. Caleb lives on Beacon Hill and enjoys running, reading, and playing soccer.

In 1481, Leonardo da Vinci sent a hand-written letter to the Duke of Milan offering the nobleman his services as a craftsman and engineer in exchange for a lucrative salary. In his now-famous “application letter,” da Vinci explained how he believed himself to be the most qualified candidate for the job and how exclusive rights to his skills and trade secrets would be a priceless asset to the duchy. It was, essentially, the first resume.

200 years later, da Vinci could have mailed this resume using a public postal service. 

400 years later, he could have typed it on a typewriter. 

500 years later he could send that typed version of his resume via facsimile to any employer who had a fax machine.  

510 years later, he could have utilized the modern miracle of the internet to email hundreds of copies of his resume to every duke and duchess in Italy.

And today, 539 years later, da Vinci would probably just direct-message the Duke of Milan on LinkedIn or Twitter, or maybe send him an email if he was feeling fancy.  

As with most aspects of human existence, the way that we apply for jobs has always been a reflection of the tools that we’ve had at our disposal. This coevolutionary relationship between job applications and technology has led to some groundbreaking innovations in recent years, and some spectacular failures, as recruiters and applicants all try to capitalize on the ever-increasing power of social media. 

Today, well over 90% of employers use social media for hiring, using various channels to advertise open positions in hopes of attracting more candidates. 70% of employers go even deeper and use social media as a screening mechanism, a sort of unofficial background check to ensure that they’re applicants aren’t posting anything problematic online. 

In 2020, virtually everyone has some form of a social media account, so using these platforms as a recruiting tool is only practical. It speeds up the hiring process by ensuring that more potential applicants see your job posting, and it also helps companies get a better idea of who the applicant is by assessing what they’re up to in their personal lives. Our CEO here at JobGet, Tony Liu, is fond of saying, “We are a social platform for jobs.” It’s like a sort of mantra. And while it may seem like straightforward enough statement, what he’s really saying is, “This is hiring the way it should be in 2020.” The same way that the post office changed the way people sent application letters in the 1600s, online social platforms are changing the way that people send applications today.  

There might come a time in the not-so-distant future where traditional resumes cease to exist entirely. It’s an antiquated way of communicating your potential value to a company. There’s only so much that an employer can glean from a two-dimensional piece of paper, so being able to create three-dimensional multimedia profiles will help job seekers express a more well-rounded version of themselves. It will also help businesses gain a deeper understanding of their applicants. 

The prevalence of online social networking in the professional world has already influenced many job-search platforms. Most recruiting apps and job boards have adopted the universal sign language of social media in order to connect with a modern user base. The function may be different, but the user experience is largely the same with scrolling, liking, swiping, tapping, commenting, and matching. 

Just like the birth of the typewriter reshaped the way that our predecessors wrote resumes (with all of those indents, headers, and bullet points) our social media apps are reshaping the way that we advocate for ourselves on recruiting sites.  

And it makes sense given the fact that 96% of Americans own cellphones, 81% own smartphones, and 74% own computers. Our devices, with their many applications, have influenced virtually every aspect of our lives in one way or another.

This melding of digital social networking and online hiring might be relatively new, but it’s a process that’s been 500 years in the making. Back in the 1500s, job seekers in England began posting multiple copies of their applications around town to advertise that their services were available for hire. This “casting a wide net” approach is obviously still in use today. The only difference is we do it on our phones and desktops instead of nailing our resumes to walls or posts.

As new technologies arise, the way that we apply for jobs will evolve alongside them. Job seekers and employers have more tools at their disposal today than ever before, and the hiring landscape has become a fast-paced high-energy place. Understanding why this is and how it all began is important in understanding where we might be going. What will be the next step in the evolution of job applications? Will things begin to slow down, consolidate, and simply? Or, will the non-stop explosion of new technologies that continue to make things even more chaotic? We certainly hope that it’s the former, but there’s no way to be sure. The only thing we know is that businesses and job seekers have always found ways to use new tools to their advantage, and there’s no reason to believe that that they will change any time soon.