Searching for your next career opportunity can be a frustrating and tiresome process. Thankfully, there are an unprecedented number of free tools and resources to alleviate some of the stress and ease the time commitment of trying to secure a new job.
The key is identifying the tools that suit your needs and maximizing their usefulness to assist you with your search. Problem is that choosing from an enormous list of applications, plugins, extensions, and websites with unfamiliar names can seem like a daunting task.
To make things easier, here are six tools that you might find helpful while on the job hunt.
1. Rapportive – Display the social media profiles of your contacts within Gmail.
Rapportive is a browser plugin that enables you to view the various social media profiles of a contact and see whether you are connected without leaving Gmail.
We’ve all experienced the tedious process of navigating back and forth between tabs to search a number of social networks for a single contact. This can be especially time-consuming when you’re actively networking and trying to connect with colleagues, friends, and prospective employers across a variety of platforms.
Rapportive does much of the work for you by searching for any profiles associated with a given email address and displaying them all in one place. You can even see profile pictures, submit a LinkedIn request, or read the person’s tweets all without leaving your email window. Rapportive even announced enhanced features earlier this month, as demonstrated in its video below.
Use Rapportive to help you confirm the email address of a contact you’re trying to reach. See the video below to learn how.
2. PostPost – Find historical content from the people you follow.
PostPost is a Web application that allows you to conduct Twitter searches limited only to the people you follow (or further narrowed if you so choose). No matter how closely a person follows his or her Twitter stream, important tweets inevitably get lost in the overwhelming tidal wave of content crashing their way.
PostPost enables you to find relevant content on demand by delivering results on a given search topic from accounts you’ve selected, rather than requiring you to sift through unwanted tweets as Twitter does.
If you’re looking to brush up on what the people you follow have to say on a certain subject prior to an interview, PostPost can simplify the process for you.
Tip: If you’re trying to demonstrate how often you’ve tweeted about a particular topic, conduct a PostPost search and limit the results to your own tweets. Save the search and send a link to whomever you choose. This saves people the trouble of weeding through all of your tweets and even gives those who aren’t Twitter savvy an easy format in which to see what you’ve had to say.
3. WiseStamp – Promote your social media profiles and Web activity in your email signature
WiseStamp is a browser extension (currently available for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) that enables you to turn your email signature into a promotional tool with enhanced functionality.
It’s a safe assumption that prospective employers are going to examine your social media activity. You can simplify the process for them by making your profiles readily available in the signature of your email.
This also gives you the opportunity to highlight the accounts that you think are most effective at showing off your social media self. WiseStamp signatures can also be used to feature your most recent blog post and tweet. The recipient can follow you, reply to you, or retweet you, all within the body of the email.
If you activate the “latest tweet” feature in your signature, try to ensure (whenever possible) that it’s relevant to the person or company you’re contacting regarding potential employment. Conversely, double check to make sure the tweet isn’t something you want to delete. In general, it’s probably best to remove @ replies unless it’s something you specifically want the recipient of the email to see.
4. NutshellMail – Organize your social media activity and notifications into a single email digest.
NutshellMail is an email service that provides a snapshot of your activity across multiple social media channels.
Diligently monitoring LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites by repeatedly visiting their sites throughout the day can be a laborious process and doesn’t ensure that you’re capturing all of the relevant information you seek.
NutshellMail can help you avoid letting important nuggets fall through the cracks. There are other applications, such as Boxcar, that aggregate notifications from multiple social media accounts, but this service is more robust and definitely a better choice if you’re someone who prefers to receive emails rather than push notifications.
In addition, NutshellMail gives you the ability to schedule how often and at what time you’ll receive the digests.
Targeting specific companies in your search? Configure your NutshellMail so it delivers any tweets from or about people who work there. You never know what you’ll find that might prove useful in landing a job.
5. Job Change Notifier – Receive email notifications when your LinkedIn connections change jobs.
Job Change Notifier is a service that—when connected to your LinkedIn account—delivers email alerts whenever one of your LinkedIn connections changes jobs. This information can be incredibly useful in situations where the vacated position might be of interest to you, or if your connection’s new job might afford them the opportunity to hire new people (meaning you).
Send a note of congratulations to connections that have been promoted or recently accepted new positions. People appreciate being acknowledged and it will also help keep you top of mind should the person hear of any relevant openings.
6. WhoWorks.At – View your LinkedIn connections who work at the site you’re visiting with one click.
WhoWorks.At is a Chrome extension that allows you to view anyone in your network (via LinkedIn) who works at the company whose website you’re visiting—and you can do it with a single click of the mouse.
Even if you don’t know anyone who works there, you’ll be able to see second- and third-level connections in addition to recent hires, promotions, and title changes, all of which can be valuable information to a job seeker. This is drastically easier, simpler and quicker than trying to search for possible connections within LinkedIn each time you are looking up information about a prospective employer.
Go back and revisit sites where you recently submitted applications and use WhoWorks.At. You may discover a connection you weren’t aware of that can help move your resume to the top of the pile.
Dave Cutler is a marketing and social media pro in Boston, who is currently using social media to help secure a new opportunity. To find out more, you can visit his “Hire Dave Cutler” page.A version of this story first appeared on oneforty blog.