– By Cara Kauhane
The first day of grade nine social studies class, my teacher explained that he would only accept our essays if they were typed and printed. He asked everyone with a home computer and printer to stand up. He probably meant to be kind—imagine if he’d said “everyone without a computer stand up”—but, as a result, he couldn’t see that I was still seated, surrounded by standing classmates. Instead, he said, “See!”, thinking his point was proven.
The kids around me sent me quizzical glances, and I shrugged my shoulder at them. I said I would just go to the library. I could be a very stoic fourteen-year-old when I wanted to be. But what would have happened if COVID-19 had hit in 2003 instead of 2020? I couldn’t have gone to the library, or typed up a report on my own. This got me thinking about the job seekers out there today. Could limited or no access to traditional office services negatively affect their job hunt?
Luckily, it is 2020 and many of us have personal computers, but it doesn’t mean you have a printer or a scanner (I don’t). And also luckily for job seekers, most employers are more reasonable than my erstwhile teacher. There are a number of paper- or contact-less solutions job seekers can utilize to streamline their part in the hiring process. The three key things you need to have simplified and accessible are your resume, important documents, and calendar. Here’s how you can take care of all of them just with a computer and smartphone.
We have a ton of resources for writing resumes, so I won’t go into details here. But I would like to send out a formal request that you always have a word doc or text-editable version of your resume on hand. Employers can’t edit or search for keywords in a picture of a resume, and they are notoriously hard to read, as well.
While you should never send your resume in a photo format, sometimes a quick picture of your trade ticket, work permit, signed offer letter, or driver’s license will do in a pinch. Still, it’s better to scan and email when you can. You can scan documents using the Notes app on iPhones/iPads, or using the Google Drive app for Android phones.
Most employers should be using electronic signature software by now when sending out job offers and policy forms. But if they don’t, you can always create a free Dropbox Sign account for yourself. Just upload the offer and put yourself as the signatory.
Now, this last one is more of a suggestion than a rule, but hear me out. Maybe you work the same shift every day and you don’t need a calendar to tell you when you’re free. But, if you are going on interviews (by phone or in person), or just have times when you know you won’t be available, using an electronic calendar makes a lot of sense. I like to use the Google calendar because it integrates with my email, and I can enter tasks or to-do items as reminders.
If your resume, documents, and calendar are in order, then the hiring process is that much easier for everyone involved. Odds are you’ll be using some kind of organizational software in your work; playing around with it in your personal time will undoubtedly affect your professional performance for the better. And that way, you’ll know you can rely on your own skills and resources, even if you’re the only one in the class still in your seat.