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Technology is reshaping our lives.

We hear that again and again.  Well, our lives certainly are changing but I believe that it is digital connectivity, not technology, which is driving this change and fueling social upheaval.

From the way we interact with our family, friends and customers, to the way we get our news or how we pursue an education from a school located across the country without leaving the house, to how we look for a new job, the changes are sweeping and game changing.

Not all of this change is good.  Too much of a digital thing can derail you.
[Tweet “Too much of a digital thing can derail you.”]

Take my week, for example.  On Tuesday I celebrated another birthday.  I was more than a little startled to see how many birthday messages I received — 75 or 80 electronic birthday wishes from friends, colleagues and those who network with me via LinkedIn and Facebook.  I was profoundly pleased and touched to receive so many that I spent considerable time thanking people for their thoughtfulness.

But let’s be honest with one another.  If those thoughtful people had to resort to a greeting card using snail mail, I might have gotten only four or five, but digital networking and the Firm’s aggressive relationship development changed all of that.  It is now easier to connect with people – a click here, a keystroke there – and before you know it, you have sent a brief digital birthday greeting via LinkedIn or Facebook.  Several years ago, some enterprising people created Paperless Post to facilitate sending actual cards via email.  That became the standard for a brief period and so I found it more than a little ironic that since I had sent so many online cards myself, I received only one this time around.

All of these new ways of communicating must be pushing the arbiters of etiquette to work overtime to develop a framework for the rules covering all of these digital relationships.

Sociologists and other observers of the human experience are worried that, instead of deeper more meaningful connections, we are “friends” with more people that we know less about.  Gary Turk’s video Look Up on the potentially dehumanizing effect of smartphones on human interactions, obviously struck a nerve.  As of Wednesday morning, 27 million had watched it.  That unto itself is interesting since, in this age of 140 character Tweets and instant messaging (read: gratification), people actually stopped their texting and talking to spend five minutes to watch this little film.

These digital changes are just as profound in the job search arena.  Here though, there are perils and consequences for not understanding how to make the digital process work.  Connectivity enables us to have abundant access to hundreds, even thousands, of job postings, depending on the industry.  The down side is that the temptation is too great for many candidates and they start clicking, and applying, and attaching resumes to dozens upon dozens of job postings.  They do little research on the company, the job requirements or the skill sets that will be necessary.  They use the same bad resume over and over and are then frustrated, even angry, when no one responds.

[Tweet “The powerful connectivity of this digital age has some definite shortcomings”]
In other words, the dazzling technology, and the intoxicating and powerful connectivity of this digital age have some very definite shortcomings.  It makes connecting and building networks easier but it also fosters bad habits and, dare I say, laziness.  Like so many other things in life, there are some wonderful electronic and digital tools with great advantages but used too much or improperly that advantage can be lost.

Today you can become a volume applier for jobs without all the fuss and muss of actually doing research to better understand the employer’s needs.  That is not a smart move.

Here are four thoughts to consider when looking for a job via the Internet:

  1. Most jobs are filled by internal recruiters who rely on social media sites for potential candidates.  Know your network and look for the “who knows who” opportunities within the hiring company
  2. There is no substitute for the hard work of researching employers, their needs, and values.  Repetitive click and submit applications via the web site are a waste of time and not smart brand management
  3. Tailor your resume, even if it means only rewriting the career summary to reflect the needs of the potential employer
  4. Develop a robust and engaging digital presence.  If you are going to go to all of the trouble to build a LinkedIn or some other business networking profile page, keep it up to date and emphasize your accomplishments for each job you have held