Let’s face it. The job market is scary, incredibly scary. One manager swap or client upset, and you will see coworker’s bodies fly out the door like the battle with Sauron in the opening scene to Lord of the Rings. These are frightening times, but we are not helpless in our job search. Thankfully, there are a number of tools at our disposal to assist in our job search, to prevent that dreaded employment gap. Here is a list of a few that have been helpful for me:
Gist: Gist may not appear to be helpful, but do not write it off yet. At first glance, you may find it impressive that compiles your “most important” contact’s activities, but that is not its best ability. Gist is a bird dog for information about your contacts. For example, let us say that a recruiter just contacted you and you add them to your Outlook contact list. Gist will scour the Internet for information about that recruiter, including social media sites, blogs, and other important data. This means that Gist may find a twitter feed that this recruiter uses to tweet about immediate job postings before they reach sites like Monster and Careerbuilder. That little bit of info could give you the edge you have been looking for in the job search.
VisualCV: For those of us who think that perfect resume is nothing but non-distracting text may not like this site at all. Visual CV is not ADD-friendly at all. The site provides a way to build a website around selling you to future employers, including profile photos, portfolio links, and ways to show off your latest degree or award. You can configure the design of the site however you wish, but this does not mean that you have to be an expert web designer. VisualCV provides enough profile templates to help novices build a great site. VisualCV is perfect if you are in a visually based industry, such as the arts or have the ability to provide graphs and charts showing your performance. Those who do not wish to have such a visually active profile may opt for the next site listed.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is quickly becoming a Facebook for those in the IT field. With LinkedIn, you can list everything that you would normally list on your resume and make it public. This way, employers can find you easily and know the basics before contacting you. In addition, LinkedIn provides a way for you to blog about your current activities. In other words, your employers will not only see your resume, but also see your latest award gained at work, what your career plans are, or how you are increasing your knowledge in your field. All of these are great things, but the power behind LinkedIn is how your contacts tie you into the HR managers in the companies you wish to apply. Using LinkedIn, you can gather your army of coworkers and friends as advocates, giving them an opportunity to recommend you to your future employer.
In addition to using social media outlets such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook to build your personal brand, the sites listed here will assist in your job search. You can also get followers on instagram and look for professionals or pages related to job search. This will give you more chances of getting to the network that you prefer. Each provides a way either to keep contact with your friends in higher places or to sell your abilities to the masses. With these tools, you will never have to follow Anna Chapman’s footsteps and use racy photos to get the job you want (Biddle, 2010).