Four Must-Have Tools for an Organized Job Search—Plus a Bonus Tool for Social Media Junkies
Do you ever wish there were two of you? I mean, it takes so long to live your life AND look for a job. Here are a few tools that will make your job search more effective and free up some time for important things like networking, suit shopping, and mani/pedis (they should be tax deductible as part of your job search, no?).
Can you live without these tools? Sure. They do take time to set up, time that could be used networking or writing your resume. But it often takes months to land a job, and your labyrinth of contacts, tasks, and emails will only get bigger and less wieldy as your search goes on. Besides, all of these tools will help you maintain the momentum of active career management long after the ink is dry on your ideal job offer. After all, you’ll want to be better prepared for your next transition, won’t you?
Dedicated email: I love Gmail because of its many forwarding and filtering options. When you delve into the land of job search, you may end up on a bunch of mailing lists. A dedicated email address means it’s easy to ignore all that stuff later once you’re employed. Also, I believe using a service perceived as leading-edge helps your image. Browse Google Labs for fun and time saving Gmail add-ons. One of my favorites is “canned responses.” Technically, Google has disabled its labs, but you can still find it in your email settings under the “labs” tab.
The only one that might trump Gmail for hipness is a Mac address. Personally, I’m still waiting to get one of those. In any case, you’ll need a Google account for some of my other suggestions.
Dedicated phone number: Again, you have many choices here. Skype has been the bane of my telecom existence for some time. It doesn’t always do what I ask it to in terms of voicemail and call forwarding, and call quality is dicey. I’ve had good luck with my Vonage connection, but call forwarding is awkward. I LOVE my Google Voice account because it will ring any phone I ask it to and even send me a text message transcript of voicemails. I do suggest NOT using the call screening option. If you aren’t available, it rather highlights the possibility that you just didn’t want to speak to the caller.
CRM: If you’re serious about job search and ongoing career management, it’s time to ditch the spread sheet! JibberJobber is my favorite option for job seekers or people who just want to keep their network alive and growing. There is a free option that works very well, and the upgrades are quite affordable.
Scheduling Tool: It should be as easy as possible for qualified companies to schedule an interview with you. TimeTrade eliminates the back-and-forth emails and phone calls and allows interviewers to put themselves on your calendar. It takes a bit of work to set up at the front-end, but the ensuing ease of scheduling and the professional impression it gives are worth it.
Social Media Scheduling Tool: Not everyone needs to be active on social media to run an effective job search. But if you do, or if social is just your cup of tea, a scheduler helps you batch your social activity. My personal favorite after trying several is BufferApp. It takes the pain out of scheduling by automatically posting at optimum times to achieve maximize visibility. The plugin for Chrome allows you to easily snag relevant articles from the web, and they’ve even added the ability to schedule at specific times (though why anyone would want to think that hard is beyond me).
Do you have a favorite job search tool? Please share in the comments!