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Get a job, get digital

AS DIRECTOR of The Monster Board, an online recruitment agency, Karen Skewies understands the growing importance of speed in the recruitment process. "I posted up a job on Friday," she says. "Responses Saturday. We emailed the guy back on Sunday and I interviewed him on Wednesday." In the accelerating world of recruitment and selection, you need to be wired to get hired.

Careers education has an important role to as recruitment and selection migrate from paper-based to digital media. Candidates are being questioned in digital interviewing suites, their responses recorded on CDs. Employers can then access their responses in any order, for example comparing the answers given by several candidates to certain questions.

An ability to use technology is essential to pursuing a successful career. Students must be capable of communicating face to face too. The difference from 10 years ago is that human relationships have to overcome the limitations of communication technologies.

Pauline Dunne, director of marketing for Europe with Constellar, a software company, is convinced that "the skills we use in relation to ICT are merging with the ability to relate to other people."

One effective way to develop such accomplishments is to relate students' learning about technology to the process of seeking and applying for work. You can extend learners' knowledge of technology to real life, real time contexts. The challenge is to enable them to acquire these skills before they apply for jobs.

The careers education curriculum needs to promote expertise in ICT, including:

* knowledge of email protocols

* use of the Internet to track down company information

* angling CVs to suit recruitment search engines

* the ability to handle online psychometric testing

* the ability to project oneself during a remote interview.

Technology is intensifying competition for the jobs that offer the best opportunities and rewards. Young people need to prepare for the technology-based skills which have now become part and parcel of securing fulfilling jobs.

Helen Vandevelde consults the learning implications of the future of work. Her latest book, 'Harnessing technology for career success: from online CV to digital interview' will be published by Trotman in September.

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