Unless your career interests are so narrow as to only include one position in the world (for instance, personal assistant to Heidi Klum), there is a good chance you will be applying to quite a few positions during your job search. For example, if you are looking for an entry-level financial analyst position in New York City, there are hundreds of positions you could potentially apply to. Besides being time-consuming, this process is seriously tedious. But if you think smart before you begin, you can cut out a lot of the work.
1) Turn on the auto-fill feature on your web browser. For crying out loud, why would you want to type out your phone number on 350 applications? If you have that much time on your hands you’d do better to spend it counting the blades of grass on your lawn. There are built-in tools for this in the Google or Yahoo toolbars but also some very cool new tools for your browser to help manage all your private data, e.g. Sxipper.
2) Have your browser save your passwords for future access to sites. Every job site and almost every company has their own registration and password procedure to complete before you can fill out an application for employment. Having your browser remember the passwords for each site makes your life a lot easier, and it gives you faster access to the site should you need to look over your application again. Some products can accomplish both auto-fill and password management (e.g. LastPass) and more (e.g. Billeo), so going that route may be better than getting multiple tools.
3) Make a .txt version of your resume. Many companies require you to copy and paste a version of your resume into a text box as part of the application process. Rather than copying and pasting from a nicely formatted Word document, wouldn’t it be smarter to save a version of your resume as a .txt file? This way you only have to delete extraneous spaces and bullets once, and you can then spend your time customizing the resume to the specific job to which you’re applying. You can use Google Docs and/or Yahoo Notes to capture text files that you need to cut and paste again and again in online forms.
4) Keep a record of jobs to which you’ve applied. We have mentioned this tip before, because it is seriously important to stay on top of where you have applications and where you are in the application process. If you maintain a good record of what you’ve done and what still needs to be done, it’ll be a cinch to prepare for a job interview. If you get a call asking you to interview for a position and you have no idea what the recruiter is talking about, you stand little chance of adequately preparing and being an impressive candidate. Tools like Jing or Clipmarks can also help here – it allows you to take a snapshot of any piece of an online page. This is particularly relevant if you need to reference the job description and it’s not posted anymore.
5) Simplify and streamline your search by using company indexes like Hoovers. If you’re interested in working for a specific company or industry, a search on a site like Hoovers can give you a list of all the top national players, with links to jobs, financial statements, news, and expert analysis and forecasts. This eliminates a lot of guesswork on your part and can give you an edge over job seekers who are less savvy. It is also essential in preparing yourself for the interview so that you can speak intelligently about the industry and ask relevant questions.
I’m sure you have other tools or ways of making the whole process easier for yourself, would love to hear about them.
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Jobspeaker is a service to help job seekers manage their job search – sign up at www.jobspeaker.com.