When the job market is difficult, it's really important to effectively manage your job search - and your career. It's not just a question of creating your resume, writing a quick cover letter, and applying for jobs.
It's not that simple. There are fewer positions available and more candidates for every job opening. You not only have to be competitive - you have to be super-competitive and able to make a strong positive impression on every hiring manager, recruiter, and networking contact.
Managing Your Job Search
In addition, to taking the time to carefully craft a customized resume and letter for every job you apply for, you need to take it a step further. It's critically important to manage your job search and to be able to respond immediately to job openings you're qualified for, to inquiries from employers, and to be able to follow up on jobs you've applied to and contacts you have outreached to.
That's not always that easy. There are so many facets of job searching today - applying for jobs, resume posting, connecting on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, professional branding - that it can be hard to keep track.
Jason Alba, CEO of JibberJobber, the online career management tool, explains "In my job search I didn't think I'd need a job search organizational tool, but as my job search went on, and I continued to network and apply for jobs, the need for a tool like JibberJobber grew exponentially - because the amount of data I was collecting grew exponentially! It's easy to get buried under the data and miss follow-up opportunities (or, like in my case, appointments)!"
One way to effectively manage your job search is to take advantage of the free tools, like JibberJobber, that are available to help organize your job search and your career. In addition, you'll save a lot of time, because you'll be managing your job search in one place, rather than flipping back and forth between email and a bunch of different web sites.
It's also important to continue to use these tools when you find a job, because you don't know how soon you'll be looking for a new job. When you get a system in place it will serve you well, both now and in the future.
Here's a selection of the top job search management solutions available. Take advantage of these free resources that will help expedite your job search.
Job Search Management Tools
JibberJobber provides an easy way to keep track of all of the information that you collect during a job search. You can track where you have sent your resumes, the jobs you apply for, and log the status of each job as you proceed through the hiring process. In addition, you can track your personal networking contacts and keep a log of how they have helped you, as well as connect with them on LinkedIn.
Becomed.com is a free job search management tool. You can record your applications, resumes and cover letter templates, and track the job applications you have sent, how far have they have advanced in the hiring process, and what the next steps in your job search will be.
More Job Search Management Resources
Job search and career management sites you can use to organize your job search.
If you take your job search online, you'll be able to access your correspondence, calendar, and contacts from any computer. Gmail users can access all their email accounts via Gmail and when you're in Gmail you will see links to your calendar and your documents.
Google Documents is an easy application to use. You can upload documents directly from your computer (browse to select the file, then click to upload) or create a new document right on the web site. You can edit your documents (which is perfect for cover letter writing) and export them as Word, OpenOffice, PDF, RTF, or HTML files.
So, with a Google account, you can access your resumes and letters from your Gmail account and apply for positions directly from the web via Gmail.
Indeed.com users can set up a my.indeed account to help manage their job search. This feature lets job seekers save searches, add notes to saved job listings and manage job alerts to be notified about new job listings.
You can use your Outlook Address Book to keep track of your contacts and the Calendar to keep track of your activities. There are daily, weekly, and monthly views, and there is an option to set reminders so you don't miss important events. You can also use the Tasks section to create a "to do" list. Both your calendar and your tasks will show in the right sidebar of your email, so you will see what you need to do when you're in the program.
Online Job Search Tools
Here are more tools, widgets, and gadgets, that will help expedite your job search, including LinkedIn buttons you can add to to your web site, blog, or networking profile, plus desktop applications you can download to your computer.