Lunch Break: Tech Tools That Can Help And Harm Your Job Search

lunch break new tech tools job hunters

What's the defining characteristic of working in the digital age? Computers have changed many things, but the Internet and social media provide workers with greater ability to both promote and express themselves. Especially when you feel that you've lost your job unfairly. Given that "anyone with a Facebook page, Twitter account or Tumblr feed can issue a very public kiss-off to a former boss or company," as an essay in The New York Times from this week by Amy Lee Ball notes, people are "abandoning the conventional career advice about not bad-mouthing an employer when leaving a job." See below for the top reads from this week on how technology is shaking up the workplace.

A Search Engine That Matches Jobs To Workers
A report this week by the New Jersey Business Journal took a look at the Garden State's Jobs4Jersey campaign which is allowing the state to match workers to job openings for which they have the desired skills. The idea is aimed at helping job seekers avoid blindly applying to any and all openings. The approach is supposed to make the job search more efficient for both workers and managers, and pulls from a pool of job seekers in the state. (The use of such digital tools and targeted searches to remake the jobs market has been explored by AOL Jobs.) The main idea: get potential employees to interviews for jobs that they have the best hope of actually landing.


In Defense Of Procrastination
One of the pitfalls of working in the digital age is the limitless opportunity it offers to procrastinate. Your computer screen, which should probably be showing Excel spreadsheets at all times, has also undoubtedly seen its fair share of Facebook and Twitter updates, if not worse. But as an essay in The Wall Street Journal assures us, "being a procrastinator isn't as bad as being, say, a serial killer." Indeed, writer John Perry of Stanford uses his essay to sing the praises of procrastination, noting how the practice is often accompanied by qualities that are celebrated in the workplace." Procrastinators, he notes, are "are likely to be creative and on the whole amiable. After all, if you tend to keep people waiting, it makes them crabby; it doesn't pay to make things worse by being crabby yourself."

Protecting You From Bad Background Checks
HireRight, which collects information on prospective employees for thousands of companies, has agreed to pay out $2.6 million for failing to verify the accuracy of criminal background checks. The alleged offenses: not assuring the accuracy of its screening reports, not giving consumers copies of their reports, and not investigating disputes raised by consumers about information in their reports. While HireRight has denied any wrongdoing, reports The Washington Post, the Federal Trade Commission said that the company had a tendency to report the wrong information and has sometimes even confused employees.

More: 5 High-Paying Jobs In Demand In 2012


How Bosses Can Find Out What You Are Feeling
Microsoft has launched a social network for the workplace called Yammer, but all workers who join should be aware of the one of its features: the built-in ability for managers to track how you're feeling. How is that possible? One of Yammer's features is called Crane, and it tracks "trending emotions" from comments within a company's network. As was reported by MIT's Technology Review, managers who opt into the Crane feature will receive "a line graph to show the level of excitement, confusion and other feelings over time."

Or Move To Maryland?
But even if the digital workplace has created one giant global office, people still need their own homes and communities. And some are simply doing better than others: As the Baltimore Business Journal notes this week, Maryland is experiencing the strongest growth this year for computer design systems and related jobs, at a 5.9 percent tally. Second is Massachusetts, whose sector is growing at a clip of 5.4 percent. Maryland's growth is tied to new jobs postings by hospitals, health care and biotechnology firms.


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