The Digital Job Search: 6 Online Tools You Should Check Out!
In the digital age, information is king and everything happens online – including your job search. Most college career centers offer a host of subscription-based resources to their students, but I also find myself drawing upon a lot of great FREE web resources during my daily interactions with students.
There is a ton of career information on the web, especially in the aftermath of the recent economic downturn, and it is sometimes difficult to sort out the good advice from the bad. But if you know where to turn, you can easily find some great tips and ideas for every stage of your career, whether you are researching potential career paths, networking/branding yourself, getting ready for an interview, or evaluating an offer.
Here are some of my favorite FREE online career resources, with some tips on why (and how) they can be useful to you:
In the world of online career resources, LinkedIn is the clear frontrunner. Not only can you post your resume online, but you can also search and review jobs and network with professionals in your field of interest. There are so many ways that this site can be used, and with over 225 million users worldwide, the amount of data at your fingertips is virtually endless. Check out my article here about common LinkedIn FAQs.
Also try: Facebook. Although LinkedIn is still the major player in the career arena, you may be able to do some creative networking using Facebook’s new graph search feature. There are also a few career-related Facebook apps you can try out, but the jury is still out for me on just how effective that approach can be for jobseekers.
One thing you should consider is not only conducting research for your job search, but also reading relevant content online to stay up-to-date on recent events. I like Forbes’ website as a general resource for staying current on the economic landscape, and they also have some quality articles on career development from time to time. If you are pursuing a specific field, you might see if there is a relevant professional site that can give you industry news on a regular basis. Staying current will allow you to be a good networker and talk intelligently with a variety of professionals. Bottom line – find at least one reliable news source that you can check daily to keep yourself up-to-date.
Reach Personal Branding
Personal branding is a topic that is near and dear to my heart (see my CareerThoughts Personal Branding Checklist for an overview), and there are some great resources online that can help you in this area. One of my favorites is William Arruda’s Reach Personal Branding website. If you check out his newsletter, there are usually some great quick tips on branding yourself. There is also a fun page called Commercial Break that demonstrates how companies represent themselves on television as an example of various branding approaches.
Also try: Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog at http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/.
Ever wish that you could pick the brain of top hiring managers? Well, now you can by visiting jobipedia.org. According to their website, jobipedia is a “…public service provided by the HR Policy Association to help new entrants into the workforce find jobs. Every answer you read on jobipedia℠ was written by someone from a large employer who actually hires employees for a living.” Users can pose questions on anything ranging from how to write a good cover letter to how to market their military experience, and responses will be provided by HR representatives from companies such as HP, Accenture, American Express, and IBM.
Also try: I haven’t honestly seen anything that rivals the jobipedia concept, but for similar information you might do some research on LinkedIn (try to connect with a professional from your company/industry of interest) or check out some of the “Do What You Love!” interviews on CareerThoughts.com.
Once you get to a point where you need to prepare for an interview, you should probably hop online and check out Glassdoor.com, especially if you are interviewing with a large (national or international) organization. Glassdoor allows users to register on their site and share information about interviews that they have been through – what steps there were in the hiring process, what questions they were asked, and feedback on their overall experience. Even within the same company there may be some variation, so you can’t assume all the information on Glassdoor absolutely applies to your experience. However, it can be a good way to research the potential format of your interview process and get a feel for any pitfalls that may be ahead.
Also try: Again, you may be able to discover some of the same information by using LinkedIn and trying to network with a current or former employee. You should also closely review the company’s website to see if it provides any clues about the interview process.
Finally, once you get to the point of receiving an offer, you want to make sure that you are negotiating for an appropriate amount. At Salary.com, the concept is pretty simple – you go to the site and enter in the job title and location, and it will provide feedback on what the typical salary range is based on your criteria. While there are a variety of factors you must consider when evaluating/negotiating a salary offer, in my experience the information on Salary.com is pretty accurate and provides a good starting point for understanding your potential worth in the job market.
Also try: Payscale.com offers the same service, but forces you to answer many more questions (including inputting your current salary) before giving you feedback, which makes it a little cumbersome.
In short, there is a great deal of information online for every stage of your career path. Talk to professionals in your field to learn about any relevant sites that may be helpful for your situation, and make sure you do solid research to find reliable information that meets your specific career needs. Happy searching!