Job Hunting in the Digital Age

In 1996, just 20 years ago, I graduated college. I’d like to convince myself it wasn’t that long ago, but in order to keep it real my fellow students and I didn’t have cell phones, laptops were a promise of the future and I applied to jobs by mailing letters.

You read that right, I got a job at CNN/Sports Illustrated, a dream come true moment, because I sent them a cover letter and resume…in the mail.

I bought a book with the addresses of all the major sports broadcasting, sports advertising and sports marketing companies in it, and sent them letters – that was my cutting edge technique. I still remember sitting around with my college roommates printing, signing and stuffing envelopes from within the confines of the craptastic house we were renting with a scent of stale beer that hovered like a low-pressure system.

After receiving my letter, CNN didn’t send me an email telling me I was in the running for a production assistant job. There was no connection to be made in LinkedIn. I didn’t have to pass an Applicant Tracking System. I didn’t have to worry about the hiring manager finding pictures of me on Facebook doing keg stands. There was no video interview via Skype.

Just a phone call: “Brian we’ve received your resume and you appear to be a strong candidate, we’d like to schedule you for an interview tomorrow which will include a sports quiz.”

Sports teams use analytics to dig deeper into the available data and come up with new ways of evaluating players and decision-making. Employers, in today’s era, do the same thing.

It’s not exactly statistical analysis, but it is data mining. They are looking for more and more details on you via LinkedIn, YouTube, Applicant Tracking Systems and more. The hiring managers of today are scrutinizing you on a deeper level than the letter I provided back in 1996 could have ever delivered.

This is a different world we are in, a world that requires much more than mailing letters. Which brings us to this handy infographic, created and designed by our friend Vera Reed:

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

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  1. Thomas Burnell says:

    Very good infographic but I do believe promoting separate personal and professional social media profile is wrong as its generates the idea that dishonesty is the right path to take to advance your career but this can only increase the chances of greater corporate fraud as people will be employed who masking their genuine personalities on advice which will embody this trait into workplace decisions.

    • So having a separate personal and professional social media profile is inherently dishonest? Not sure about that one. i get your implication, that you are being your true self in one spot but not the other. My counter would be, I’d rant about sports on my personal twitter and that wouldn’t be business appropriate….doesn’t mean I’m dishonest, it just means I can separate the relevant conversations in my life. – Brian