How the right tools make a difference!

Photo by cote

In April, I bought my first Smart Phone, the Motorola Backflip. From the beginning there were issues and I was frustrated. I had installed a screen protector and I don’t know whether that affected its ability to be responsive or not but people complained that they couldn’t hear me.

I couldn’t get the screen to respond when I tapped it. Worst of all, it failed in the middle of calls or even before I could answer, with a message that said, “Force Droid close!”

Even when paired with my headset, it was at best unreliable. Though I use Skype for most of my virtual clients, I need the phone to work reliably to be able to respond to client inquiries. Yesterday, I went in to get a back up phone. I told the sales associate at AT&T Cellular Central that I was just bothered by the lack of reliability.

As we were talking, a call came in and he watched as the phone went to the dreaded “Force Droid close” in front of him. He did explain that there is an update that has removed most of the problems but I wasn’t convinced it would solve everything.

The Samsung Focus

He showed me the Samsung Focus which is a Windows 7 phone and let me play with one owned by another associate so I could see it in action. I thought about whether I need a Smart Phone or not, after all, I am on my laptop all the time anyway.

But then I thought of you, the job seeker, career changer, or business professional, and my clients. Many people now use Smart phones to access information. I could get by with just a phone but then I couldn’t understand the issues people face when using phones to reach information. And then there is the side of me that really loves technology and playing with new gadgets.

I bought the phone. As the sales associate finalized the sale, he handed me the phone after he activated it. I played through the beginning screens. He looked up and he said, “I was just going to ask if I could help you but you are already screens ahead of where I would start you.”

I took it home and struggled to get through the process of connecting my e-mail but I finally figured it out. I am not sure I can get the full function of Outlook to work. My server appears not to have all the options it should have to allow me to pull my e-mail through the Outlook features of the phone but I will continue to research that.

Like it or not, technology is a critical part of job search.

You need to be available for calls when an employer needs a response and being able to grab your e-mail on a phone when you are away from your own computer could make a difference in whether you are called for an interview.

Phone interviews are the standard first interview now and you need to be able to rely on your phone to help you make a great first impression.

I’m still in the honeymoon stage of this phone and I need to use it for awhile both to learn it better and to be able to assess if it lives up to the beginning but so far, I am impressed.


  1. Lynn Helwig on January 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I have a DroidX which is through Verizon and I love it! It’s an awesome phone.

    I’ve had several conversations with other Droid X users and also the VZW sales and support folks and they gave me a huge tip. Before downloading anything from the App market read the reviews and don’t download anything that is not rated with a 4.5 or 5 star. I have been following this rule and have not had a single issues since!

    • Julie Walraven on January 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      We’re on a family contract with AT&T and I borrowed the upgrade from one of my sons. I don’t plan to switch contracts soon. At one point, Verizon had horrible coverage here. I think that may be improving but I knew people who can you hear me now’s answer was NO, I can’t… But I am glad it works for you Lynn!

  2. Karen Bice on January 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Julie, great post! One of my current issues that I am trying to be adult about is smart phones. When I say Adult, I mean that the issues with different smart phones and service provider sometimes have me banging my head against the wall. It would take too much time to get into this saga, but what I have learned, for me, is this: 1) If you want to stay on a level playing field in the biz world and the job market, you need to keep up with technology and use it. 2) I prefer BlackBerry (Storm) over my current Droid. My new Droid is slower, the email syncing (BB has the only enterprise system that I know of) is poor, and the re-tweeting functionality on the Droid is like the dark ages compared to the BlackBerry (UberTwitter is the best twitter app bar none, only available on the BB although I understand there’s a plan to have a Droid version.) Anyway, I enjoyed your post!

    • Julie Walraven on January 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks, Karen for the comment and the RT! You are totally right. It wasn’t so many years ago that land lines were the norm and cells of any type were odd. I bought my husband his first “bag” phone in 1995 so he could call from the car when he was on a job site as a remodeling contractor. I think I saw my first bag phone when I was traveling to downtown Chicago to meet an attorney with my supervisor. I told her we should jump out and tell the car ahead to call for us to tell them we would be late. Now here we are with Smartphone issues trying to figure out how to choose the best one and make it work for us. How far we have come!

  3. Henway on January 27, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I totally agree that tools can make all the difference in a job search. I once took a 5 day vacation and came back to an inbox filled with interview requests.. when I responded, not one responded back.

    • Julie Walraven on February 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      It goes to show you that you need to act quickly. Too much delay in response especially in a job search makes them think you are not interested.

  4. gee backhouse on January 28, 2011 at 4:05 am

    I love it that you’re still in the honeymoon stage of your new phone! I’m just the same with new tools in my workshop!

    • Julie Walraven on February 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Lots happened since I wrote this post, Gee and I even got far behind in comments. The phone is THE best phone I have ever had and I should be past that honeymoon stage by now. It has helped us out so many times and in so many ways.

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