Dear Bev: I'm constantly reading about new Web sites and applications to help with networking and job search. Are there any that you'd recommend?
There seems to be a steady stream of online tools, widgets and apps that are launched regularly. The challenge is sorting through the information and picking a few that will be genuinely beneficial, not only for your job search and personal branding but with social networking related to that search. Below are a few suggestions and tools worth checking out.
Online Resumes: Today's Gimmick or Tomorrow's Must Have?
Multiple Web sites are now offering tools to create a virtual resume. While you still have to do the work of writing a compelling CV, design features and expanded content capabilities are what these sites are all about. Virtual resumes potentially allow you to stand out in a sea of job seekers.
Some of the sites charge a fee, but I liked the free one, VisualCV.com, which is growing at a monthly rate of 20%. Begin by importing your LinkedIn profile or upload the word or PDF resume you currently use. That's just the beginning. What sets virtual resumes apart is the ability to feature videos, photos, a portfolio of your work, employment history, charts, graphs and more. Instead of sending an attached file, you send a URL to your online resume. For potential employers, that eliminates printing and computer memory usage -- and it's green.
Will virtual resumes be the new standard? That's tough to say, but it's worth some time and experimentation in its early stage.
Social Networking Made Simple
Social networking is now an acceptable job search tool. I've done a column on my favorites, which include LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, but the latest trend is simplification. Here's a quick reference chart on some of the sites I've found useful in bringing multiple sites together with one app and saving time by not having to constantly log-in.
Details & Features
7 instant messagers, and chats, E-mail, and 4 Social Networks
Windows (Mac and Linux coming soon)
IM client that allows you to see notifications of new emails, new messages, new status updates and to chat all in one small desktop portal with one easy log-in, allows you to respond to emails right in the IM window
Doesn't give full access or search capabilities on social networks, can give you tons of un-welcomed notifications per day if not customized properly
15 different instant messagers and chats
IM Client allows you to chat and view contacts in one small portal with one easy log-in
Doesn't have access to social media or e-mail
Twitter and Facebook
Mac, Windows, Linux
Desktop Browser with full access to Twitter, customizable appearance and lay-out, allows grouping of contacts by type (i.e. work or social), view tweets in real time, update your facebook status and follow friends, receive notifications of updates
Only allows access to two networks, doesn't allow full profile access on Facebook. Is really most useful for those whose main focus is Twitter
Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Blogger
Mac and PC
Desktop application with a very streamlined style, allows for larger images and easy photo sharing, no advertisements
Is applicable to a few networks that are less business-oriented than others, may be better suited for the photo and video-oriented user.
Over 40 social networks
Via the internet and mobile
Allows an update on all of your networks (including with photos) with one click, largest selection of social networks, used via internet saving memory space on your desktop, many applications available via networks and mobile devices
Does not allow access to other aspects of networks such as search or browsing
Online PR Free for 30 Days
If you're looking to promote your business or brand during these tough times, take a look at PitchEngine.com. Create a press release online that gets pitched out to a collection of hungry writers and eager readers who subscribe to the site. It offers a more conversational approach to PR, and you can engage readers with multimedia content, instead of plain old text, that will be shared on GoogleNews. Your release is free for the first 30 days. After that, you have to pay a fee.
These are just a few of the applications out there and for now, may be useful in increasing your job search efficiency and digital presence.