Your job search is a full-time job. And to perform that job well, you want to use the right tools to perform your best and most efficiently. Technology provides the tools to make life easier, however, they are not the quick fix to getting a job. These tools will improve upon the job-search strategies you're already using.
1. Email. You're using this tool already, but do you know what your email says about you professionally? Many people use a web-based email provider, which allows the on-the-go access needed for an active job seeker. If you haven't signed up for one yet, go! A commonly overlooked feature of email is the email signature; the customizable stuff that is appended at the end of each email sent. When you consider the hundreds of emails you send out, most sent to people who do not know you, what impression do you want to leave? What information is vital for the recipients to know about you? What opportunity are you missing by not communicating your name, job title, contact information, and even a link to your LinkedIn profile? For a slick looking format, check out WiseStamp.com. And don't forget to set up a similar signature on your mobile device.
2. Calendars. You most likely lived by your calendar in your previous job. It served as a guide to keep you on track. Are you using it as diligently in your job search? There is nothing worse than missing a scheduled appointment, networking meeting, or interview. Use your calendaring system to keep track of your follow-up activities too. Again, for the mobile job seeker, having this calendar accessible on your smartphone is absolutely critical. Be sure to include phone numbers and email addresses to your calendar in case of an emergency and to have easy access.
3. Social networks. The most recent Jobvite social networking study reports that 93 percent of companies used LinkedIn to recruit candidates in 2010 and 2011. At a minimum, you will want a robust LinkedIn profile. It should be as complete as possible, which means you should take the time to write a summary that conveys the most important information of your professional experience. Use the skills and expertise section to call out the specific job skills companies are seeking. Do more than just list your work experience. Under each job, talk about what the scope of your job was and include notable achievements. Don't forget to include a professional head shot. Differentiate your profile by including applications such as SlideShare, Box, or Reading List by Amazon. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ are also worth learning more about and using for your job search.
4. Contact management systems. As you meet new people, how are you keeping track of their contact information? Do you have a stack of business cards with notes scribbled on the back? You should be adding them to your contacts. Additionally, are you keeping track of what you talked about and who referred you? Sales professionals understand how important this information can be to lead generation and nurturing relationships. One tool that can kill a couple of birds with one stone in your job search is FreshTransition.com. Not only can you add contact information, notes about your conversation, and who referred you; you can also use the tool to schedule follow-up actions and set it to send you daily calendar reminders.
5. Reputation management tools. What do you see when you search for your name through a search engine like Google? Are the results on the first page the best links referencing you? If not, you'll want to manage this. There are tools like BrandYourself.com and Vizibility.com that make it easy for you to fix and manage where you rank in search results.
Remember to Stay Current
Today's job search requires many skills, some you may not have a lot of experience with currently. However, you will use these skills again, whether it be in your next job or in your next job search. The ability to develop new skills and stay current with technology helps set you apart as a life-long learner and desirable candidate.
Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.
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