Bruce’s Top Ten List got me thinking along similar lines, so here are the 10 things I think are the best tools in job search.
1. Friends; Kind of weird to put our friends in the category of tools, but they are the single most important piece of your job search. Study after study and anecdote after anecdote tell us the same thing, The precise numbers vary, but they all say, “More than 80% of all jobs come with some level of personal introduction.” In other words, a friend introducing you to someone who introduces you to ….. So your friends are your most important tool in job search.
2. Pay-it-forward networking. This is a direct corollary to 1. We make friends by helping people we genuinely like and the people we like are those very friends reviewed in 1. Look at the book “I’m at a Networking Event, Now What” by Sandy Jones-Kaminsky, it provides simple clear tools for effective networking. Its all based on the idea of helping first. Useful networking starts with relationships that go beyond a simple business card and elevator pitch. That comes from trust and common values etc. There simply isn’t a better, faster way of doing this then helping.
3. Linkedin. Speaking of our friends or “network”, Linkedin is the best tool for documenting and mining that network. It’s work related social networking and allows us to understand how to help our friends and allow our friends to help us.
4. Internet “aggregators” . Tools that allow us to set up one search that covers a bunch of web pages on a regular basis. For example, Indeed.com covers several hundred job boards, so we can set up a single search that routinely sends the results to your email, or on an RSS feed. Another one is Linkup.com, it searches company pages with opportunities. Google Alerts does the same thing with information, so if you are focused on a particular company or job title, virtually anything, it will give you a daily list of updates
5. Work-Life DB™. This is a tool we created (and trademarked) and I haven’t found anything as effective or as complete in helping a person document their success and their history. We all know and pay at least lip service to the idea that job search is a sales position. The first step in effective, ethical sales is product knowledge, in this case that translates to the history of our success.
6. Strengths Finder. A corollary to 6. This is an outstanding test/process that helps us refocus our heads on our strengths, those things we naturally do very well… which is the same list of the things we do in a non-voluntary way. Check out my earlier post on this, it’s very cools stuff.
7. Public Libraries. Given that research is one of the crucial steps in job search, there simply isn’t a better place to do research. Locally, King County Library has this amazing list of research tools for job search and researching companies.
8. GIST. If research is one of the keys to success in the job search, then this add-in to either Gmail or Outlook is an amazing shortcut in that process. It automatically collects basic info, actually more than basic, about our contact list. Once someone is set up as a contact, Gist will provide you with an ongoing way of staying current. Is someone on Twitter? It will give you their last 5 tweets each week, Blogger? Their last posting. Linkedin? Any changes.
9. Bing/Google. Our old friends the basic search engines. What can I say that hasn’t been said? I include both because Bing has become a very useful tool and isn’t a clone of Google, so running searches in both tools provides additional information and both are very helpful.
10. Job Clubs. Groups like Notes From the Job Search (check out our schedule in the right column) provide support as we go through job search. So much of job search is incredibly difficult simply because of the isolation inherent in spending time looking for opportunities. Even the most qualified candidates can spend weeks and months sending off 10’s, 20’s even 100s of resumes without any response, so how the dickens can we remember that much of the craziness isn’t personal. Heck, it’s not even related to the quality of your applications. Finding a peer group going through this makes it much much easier.