Around the Web: Job-Hunting Tools | Ladders

Social-networking reference materials for your job search.

Around the Web: Job-Hunting Tools

Social-networking reference materials for your job search.

If the Web has transformed the way you do your job, you can bet your bottom dollar it has changed the way you find a job. At its most basic, the Web is an encyclopedia of reference material to help you educate yourself about your intended market, region or company. If you’re ready to take a more-active role online, you can employ some of the contact and social-networking tools to manage your contacts and relationships as you hunt for work. And for the creative and brave, the Web offers a route to promote yourself in a way a paper resume can’t.
Here are a few of the resources we found around the Web: Jason Alba started JibberJobber (free login required) as a spreadsheet to track and organize a his first job search in January 2006, but it eventually evolved into what he calls a “career-relationship manager,” a pay service that lets you import or enter contacts and track, map and graph relationships (your network); job search steps; even your expenses. Alba’s near-daily blog posts are also a good read, written by someone who personally knows what it means to search for a job using the tools of the Digital Age.

If you don’t know about SlideShare, it is like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations. Users make slideshows and upload them to SlideShare for all to see. Some uninventive job seekers have posted simple one- and two-page slides of their actual paper resume. But a few slick and creative examples back up bullet points on the resume with figures and graphs.

Then there is YouTube itself. A few adventurous souls are already posting video resumes that are essentially a sales pitch. Most job seekers simply read their resume aloud into camera, but the format might be the right fit for the right candidate or the right industry.

One useful page on About.com is the salary page, which has no fewer than eight calculators to help you determine median pay, benefits and regional pay scales for any position. Use it to assess your salary and compensation offer.

A word of caution on About.com: As a site supported by page views, About.com makes money by encouraging visitors to open multiple pages before they find the information they seek. The site can be a frustrating waste of time when all you want is a simple answer.

The Career Services Department at Villanova University’s Job Search Online Resources Guide is a surprisingly comprehensive guide to specific careers, industries and regions.

Never walk into an interview cold. Do your homework. There’s no better place to start than Google. Is the company performing well? What’s the CFO’s name? Check a publicly traded company’s financials and basic information on Google Finance. Is the board of directors under indictment? Did the new drug win FDA approval? Follow articles and blogs that mention the company on Google News. For deeper research check a service like GlassDoor.com (free) or Harris InfoSource (partial subscription).

See what people are saying about you or a potential employer on Twitter.

To research a company’s less-tangible qualities, like, “Is it a nice place to work?” rely on the good old news media. Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For survey is exhaustive. Your company may not be on here, but the survey explores such topics as best cafeteria and most unusual perks. Sources like Working Mother magazine’s Best Companies survey profiles companies from the perspective of its specific audience.

What sites did you use in your job search? E-mail us with your suggestions, and we will share them with Ladders.com community.