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In Memoriam: The Communications Tools We Said Goodbye To In 2015

12/11/2015 09:32 EST | Updated 12/11/2016 05:12 EST
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Business man holding phone receiver by cord, sitting in office

I was speaking about careers at a high school this week. One of the students asked me what they could highlight in their resume when they had no work experience yet. I said that, for example, if they wanted to work in a record store, they could highlight their passion for music, knowledge of musical genres and trends, and ability to speak passionately about bands and recommend similar artists.

The class stared at me blankly. Right, I remembered, they don't know what a record store is. I have to update my references.

Speaking of updating things, here are a few other formerly popular communications tools for which the time has come to say goodbye to.

Nine communications tools to reminisce on fondly (and then move on)

    Landlines, obviously are likely to be the first to go.

    I still have a landline telephone on my desk here at work, but frankly it's kind of a waste of space and money. I have my mobile phone with me everywhere I go, so I am always reachable. There's no need to have two different work phone numbers.

    We're ditching landlines at home too. A recent study by the Convergence Consulting Group predicted that 31% of Canadian households will not have a landline by the end of this year.

    Voicemail is the next to go. Seriously, do you ever check your voicemail? Do you actually leave messages when you call someone and they don't answer their phone?

    People are becoming far more likely to text someone a short message, ("hey call me!") than to leave a recorded voicemail. Most of us now simply rely on our call display history to see who phoned, and we return the call without ever checking for messages.

    Caveat: If you're applying for jobs -- check your voicemail! People have missed out on opportunities for not returning messages or because their voicemail was full.

    Fax. There are actually three phone numbers on my business card: my cell, the landline and, a fax number. In my fifteen years of professional working life, no one has ever faxed me.

    business card

    Speaking of business cards, they're done too. Social media profiles are the new business cards. When I want to get in touch with someone, I Google their name, industry and role. I'll find them on Twitter or LinkedIn and reach out. I would do this even if I knew I had a card from them somewhere. It's faster, and gives me more information right away.

    The new business card is not a piece of cardboard; it is saying, "let's connect online."

    Snail mail. This one is kind of obvious, but I would be remiss not to include it on this list. Emails have replaced letters, electronic banking and billing have replaced the need for mailing paper account statements. Late last year Canada Post announced an end to door-to-door mail delivery service, because frankly, who really needs it?

    This includes cover letters -- which haven't been 'letters' in a long time, but are really cover emails or cover attachments. But even those are out. With Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) often taking the first pass at screening resumes, the cover letter is rarely read anymore.

    Newspapers. Printed newspapers are almost by definition providing readers with yesterday's news. The real headlines are on Twitter in real time, and the latest news, advice and insights are readily available and constantly updated online.

    Cable TV. I haven't subscribed to a cable TV package in years, and I'm not alone. Canadian Business mag recently reported that cable TV subscribers are in historic decline in this country. The internet gives us freedom of choice. It allows us to watch what we want, when we want. Having to pay for a pre-packaged group of channels that you may or may not be interested in is a terribly outdated concept for more and more people.

    Books. This one makes me sad, because I love books, but the writing is on the wall (and not on the page) for the book publishing industry. With the advent of the internet and movies on demand and content streaming anytime, anywhere, fewer and fewer people actually read books. And those who do are increasingly reading them in digital rather than printed format.

    sarcastic

    Telephones. (For voice communication.) People love their phones. They carry them everywhere and use them for checking email, listening to music, taking pictures and videos, playing games, watching movies, GPSing their location, texting, tweeting and a lot more.

    Notice what I didn't say? Talking. Text messaging has already replaced phoning for most people to exchange quick updates. Skype is free and quickly gaining in popularity for keeping in touch with distant friends and relatives. I know people who never answer their phones -- because they keep in touch with people they care about via those other methods, so when the phone rings, it's invariably someone selling them something.

    We still use phones for work, and some people (my wife and her friends for example) still appear to enjoy seemingly endless conversations on the telephone. But VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and internet video services like Skype and FaceTime will soon make regular telephone communication a thing of the past.

OK kids from the high school in King City, you already know all of that stuff - - or have no idea what I am talking about. I'm going to write something about resumes without experience now, just for you all. Best of luck in 2016 everyone!