Digital tools to help job hunters

Farmingdale State College student Lisa Millstein, 19, a Farmingdale State College student Lisa Millstein, 19, a communications and business major at Farmingdale State University, shows off her "Prezume," created using the builder site, Prezi. (Sept. 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

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People looking for employment can often get lulled into the sense that they are seriously job hunting based on the numbers of resumes they send out and jobs they apply for online.

Career experts say that a real job hunt is so much more. It's researching and meeting new contacts; organizing the search as you would a work project; delving into the social media/digital world and tending to your online persona, known as your "personal brand." All that and keeping your spirits up.

So, while the unemployed may have mastered the application process on job boards and through LinkedIn, here are some digital tools to help support those other elements.

CONNECTIONS

Facebook graph search

In career moves, it still matters who you know -- and who your friends know.

You may not have many Facebook friends who work for, say Google. But friends of your friends could be a different story. In an instant, Facebook's new "graph search," located at the top of the page, shows you your friends' friends who work for employers of interest, even sliced and diced in dizzying detail, such as "friends of my friends who work at Google and studied at Stony Brook University."

You can even forget the friend connection and search, say, for people who live in Nassau County and work for Google or who work as recruiters for Google.

CardMunch

This app "converts business cards into actionable and accessible intelligence," a useful process for job hunters and networkers alike, says Brendan Stanton, chief communications officer at Mineola-based law firm Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP.

In the smartphone app, which is owned by professional-networking site LinkedIn, you snap a photo of a person's business card, upload it and you receive "a full-text searchable contact," he said. That allows job hunters to connect digitally as soon as they meet new contacts, be it at an interview or networking event, as well as pull up their information on the fly. Moreover, he says, "If your new contact is on LinkedIn you can read all about them via their LinkedIn profile."

RESUMES

"Prezume"

While the basic resume isn't going away, there is more interest these days in visual presentations of curriculum vitae data. That's one reason Lisa Millstein, 19, a communications student at Farmingdale State College, created a "Prezume," after using the presentation builder site Prezi, for a school project.

The idea, she said, was to stand out from the crowd with a zoom-in, zoom-out slide presentation of her resume data that is informative and "visually entertaining."

Viewers can zoom in and out on her education information, skills and qualifications, coursework and work experience, all displayed in colorful and varying typefaces. Employers in fields such as marketing and visual graphics may well appreciate such a creative approach, but job hunters, even in those fields, are advised to use it as a supplement to a regular resume, said Millstein, who also works in the school's career development center.

Other sites where job hunters can create visual and graphic resume presentations include Vizualize.me and Re.vu.

LinkedIn's resume builder

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Seasoned professionals who are new to the job market and have no updated resume are wise to focus first on updating their LinkedIn profiles. That's because the site has a feature that in a matter of seconds turns profiles into traditional resumes, which can be edited, printed, exported as PDFs or shared digitally through custom links.

Job hunters can choose from various looks that include executive, classic, clean, business and two-column. The feature can be found at http://resume.linkedinlabs.com/

ORGANIZING

Bitly

The website bitly.com, known for URL shortening and analytics, also allows you to create and share "bundles," which are collections of links to related online items of interest -- recipes, books, your own social media profiles.

People can click on the bundle's URL and be taken to a list displaying links to, say, samples of job hunters' work or a collection of special honors or mentions.

Especially useful to people who don't have their own websites, the URLs can be included on business cards, resumes and job applications. Also, the job hunter can see bundle data, such as how many people viewed the page and when.

Learn more from the July 17, 2013 Bitly blog post -- "Highlight your online work."

http://blog.bitly.com/post/55702083010/highlight-your-online-work-with-bitly

Evernote

This is a site where users can easily collect, store and pull up all sorts of data. For job hunters it could serve as another tool for organizing their search -- collecting job postings, LinkedIn profiles, company information and directions to a job interview. It can also include PDFs, Word documents, email conversations, photos, even notes taken in interviews with a special Livescribe pen, which can transmit your notes wirelessly or via USB cable to Evernote.

Just about all the data is searchable, and, by using tags and "notebooks," job hunters can also create categories for, say, specific employers, recruiters, different versions of their resumes, new contacts, to-dos and job leads.

The information, which can be clipped from the web and/or emailed to the site, can be accessed on the fly from mobile devices.

PERSONAL BRANDING

RebelMouse

This site serves as a homepage, pulling in items you post on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr. Job hunters who don't want to start a blog from scratch can turn a RebelMouse page into one, choosing their own social media content to feature, as well as creating fresh posts, all centered on a topic for which they want to be known professionally.

Creating such a "hub" and content mix around a certain issue or community can help people "showcase their passions in a clever, savvy and relevant way to potential employers," said Paul Berry, founder and chief executive of RebelMouse, based in Manhattan. While there are no real job opportunity functions on the site, he said, "people are getting more leads in life" by using the site "to show off who they are."

About.me, Flavors.me

These tools are alternatives to a formal website. They function as home pages where job hunters can collect and display bio information and links to their social media profiles, as well as get a personalized URL to include on resumes or email signatures.

Along with RebelMouse, they are "personal brand reinforcement tools," helping you "shape your digital persona" and better control the "search results a potential employer will see," says Meltzer, Lippe's Stanton.

"In this age it's important to leave a good impression in the room and online," he said.

MOOD

Coffitivity

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For those used to the hustle and bustle of an office, managing a job hunt from home may be unbearably silent. Enter Coffitivity -- a $1.99 app for Mac devices, but also optimized for other smartphones -- which recreates background coffee shop sounds. (Mercifully, that's minus the high-pitched phone conversations of annoying co-workers.)

Pinterest

First, this twofer tool is a place where, with an eye to personal branding, you can set up boards -- featuring images "pinned" from your own collection of images or those of others -- that reflect your interests, sources of inspirations, as well as career accomplishments.

When you follow other people's boards, offering motivational quotes or beautiful images, you can get a quick hit of inspiration or mood enhancement just by perusing your phone app. This boost can help when you're in need of that hang-in-there moment.

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