Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

Featured Partner: Apploi

Apploi_logo_green

Organization Name: Apploi

Mission: Apploi aims to provide a resource and connect jobseekers with employers, giving them access and opportunities they otherwise would not have. Our mobile app and website are easy and free for jobseekers to use. By using a video application system, we hope to let jobseekers express themselves and their personality far more than a resume ever could, which is vital for the primary industries we serve: retail, services, and hospitality.

How did your organization get started?

Our current CEO Adam Lewis had been working in HR tech for a few years when a big retailer contacted him to see if his company, Innovate CV, could help with hourly hiring. To gain fuller understanding, Adam went undercover. He applied for ten retail jobs in New York. You can find out more about his experience in an article he wrote for Forbes, but essentially, he didn’t get a single job.

This experience made him recognize that the retail hiring space was broken—from both the employer and employee perspective. Adam found that the Internet hadn’t yet done for service jobs what it had done for corporate ones. It became clear that the traditional résumé application was too outdated for the service and support job industry, which are all about personality.

What prompted your organization to become involved with the problem of digital access?

Many of us take digital access for granted, but the digital divide has left a large segment of the population without equal access to jobs, contacts, or opportunity. It has become clear that something needs to be changed. Apploi is trying to bridge that gap through content and partnerships, to get people back on the job market.

The digital divide also negatively impacts the economy. From a commercial perspective, companies are missing out on huge segments of talent. We’re opening up that pool of talent.

Why do you think digital access is important?

For those of us who are constantly connected, it’s hard to believe how very real and scary the digital divide is. According to the Washington Post, 60 million Americans—20 percent of adults—don’t use the Internet.

Just imagine—without the Internet, you’re cut off from concepts and experiences that many of us take for granted. Without the Internet, you don’t have Google and its ability to answer any and all questions. You don’t have email and the world of social, retail, and financial possibilities it opens up. And, in particular, you don’t have easy access to countless jobs, right at your fingertips. The world of employment and recruitment is increasingly technological, and digital access and literacy play a huge role in applying for and securing the perfect job.

What role does your organization play in creating equity?

We’re proud of the fact that the White House has supported Apploi. This is partially due to the fact that we create digital equity in several ways.

Building a profile and applying for jobs on Apploi is free for every jobseeker, so we provide opportunity across the board. We also have iPad kiosks in several community centers, colleges, charities, and libraries across America. Anyone can apply to hundreds of jobs directly from these public kiosks, if they don’t own a smartphone or computer. This is part of our 1-for-1 Pledge—whenever a corporation buys a kiosk, we give one back to the community.

At these kiosks, jobseekers also have access to the content we produce on our website, including career advice, interview tips, and motivational pieces about building a career. We also feature videos with real people who have been hired through Apploi. Through our kiosks, we’re really trying to bridge the digital divide by literally making access and support public.

Another way we create digital equity is by traveling across America meeting job seekers, as part of our Job Connect campaign. We’ve been to Baltimore, Austin, Nebraska, and California. We hold “app days,” where we talk people through the Apploi process and help them sign up. We are truly passionate about getting people hired and ensuring that they thrive in the job of their choice. We will go the extra mile to ensure that jobseekers understand the digital aspect of the job process and how to best utilize it.

How can new Internet users utilize access to improve their careers?

Using the Internet is such a valuable tool in showing you what jobs are out there, so you don’t waste time traipsing around stores with resumes. But more than that, using the Internet as part of your job search gives you other great empowering tools. Apploi posts content and advice specifically for jobseekers, like how to dress for an interview and certain things employers are looking for you to say or not say.

The Internet also means you can speak with real people during the job search and career process, to get the benefit of their experiences. At Apploi, we are always so happy to hear from jobseekers and speak on the phone or by email about anything, from technical difficulties to how to build your career. Jobseekers are always encouraged to reach out to us by email.

Another wonderful thing about using the Internet in improving a career is the opportunity to network. You have the ability to speak with present and past employees of the company you want to apply to. The more viewpoints you hear, the better, and the Internet is the fastest and most abundant access point. You are selling yourself short by not making use of it.

Also, once you’re using the Internet in the job search, you have an online presence. If employers want to do a background check on you, you have created a positive, empowering space that describes yourself, so they can find out about you, and vice versa.

So, where to start? If you’ve recently become connected to the Internet—congratulations. Don’t feel daunted. Start small—go to a different site every day and it will get easier and easier. Start with apploi.com and explore the world of possibilities in the job search. Your job search is about to take a very positive turn.


<p><em>Charlotte Phillips works in community engagement, hoping to provide a forum for the jobseeker. She enjoys writing content and advice, found on Apploi”s <a href=”http://bit.ly/1vjoODx” target=”_blank”>website</a></em><em>. Charlotte is passionate about empowering people and helping them succeed in their chosen career path, and loves having the opportunity to meet the jobseekers who use Apploi. Follow Charlotte on Twitter <a href=”http://twitter.com/charphillips9″>@charphillips9</a>.</em></p>