Tools Helping Me with My Job Search
I started to do a series of computer tools that I am using to help me with my job search, but there are so many tools out there, that this blog would become a technology tool review blog, if I reviewed over each one tool individually or even major areas.
It was taking a lot of time to properly research each post (errr tool) and review them appropriately, so I have decided to simply do a summary blog post with a quick snippet of the tools that I am actually using now to help me during my job search.
That way I will have more time to do my primary job now – job search.
Most Used Tool
The tool that I use the most is my Dell Inspiron Laptop. It is not a state of the art, top of the line laptop, but is a cost-effective machine that does everything that I am asking of it. From connecting easily to Internet where I happen to be, being reliable, to being able to play video games.
This is the first place that we see on a computer and I try to keep my desktop pretty Spartan. I use Fences to keep files and folders separated into certain areas, so I can quickly find something when I want it.
I have the Taskbar and visible all the time. It makes starting or switching between the programs quick and painless – it is pretty close to the Mac’s dock and is something that I liked about the Mac and carried back over to the Windows world.
Also Internet Explorer’s ability to “pin” webpages to the Taskbar for my Google Mail & Calendar, Pandora or the local newspaper’s website is a nice little trick. All I do click on those icons and that webpage opens up directly in a new Internet Explorer window.
I pretty much live in the browser now and it came down to Chrome or Firefox as my primary browser. After trying both out, I concluded that Chrome does everything that I want from a browser and is much more stable in Win7 than it was on my Mac - but it still has an annoying habit of showing the “Ah Snap” page too often.
The ability to pin websites to the taskbar was the deciding point to make IE9 my secondary browser. I was pleasantly surprised at how much IE9 has improved over the past couple of years, but the lack of add-ons and its annoying hesitation/pausing while typing (it happens too often for my liking) stopped it from being my primary browser.
One thing that I use as my homepage on all of my browsers is the Symbaloo start page. It is an icon driven start page and I have used it for a couple of years and haven’t found anything better for me.
Yes I have Firefox and Opera on the computer, but I do not use them very often – I keep them there so I can go in and see what improvements have been made or if someone has said something about them and I want to quickly check it out.
(email, calendar, to-do list, contact list) – I surprised myself here, I initially was using Windows Live Mail, connected to Hotmail and even tried Outlook too, but once I figured out how to Pin a webpage to the taskbar, it became redundant and I went strictly to using gMail and gCal as my Mail Client and Calendar Programs. I forwarded all my email from my other email accounts to my primary gMail account, so that I have one place that gets everything. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and this is working for me.
I know what about connectivity – if there is now Internet? gMail and gCal both have offline capabilities now, so I can still access a limited number of emails and my calendar.
I am using Evernote as my task manager/todo list and am happy with it, even though it is probably more labor intensive than some other methods, it is working well for me.
(word processing, spreadsheet, slide show, notebook) – Another surprise. I am doing a combination routine and I really love the results so far. My primary is Microsoft Office 2007 (I had a copy lying around from before my Mac adventure) and I use Google’s Cloud Connect to Google Docs – which I really like and everything syncs up automatically. See my post on Word Processors.
I am also starting to use Microsoft’s cloud version of Office in SkyDrive and keep all of my documents in my SkyDrive folder, so they are automatically backed-up. An important strategy to not lose important documents, if your hard drive crashes or your computer gets stolen. Yes I also have Google Drive installed as well, but I am using Skydrive as my primary backup drive for now.
Eventually I want to upgrade to Office 2010, but unless I find a great deal, it won’t happen very soon, even the Student/Home edition costs over $150, which is a lot of money now and I don’t want to get used to it during the 60 day free trial period and then have to revert back to Office 2007.
My primary job search social media site is LinkedIn, but I use Twitter to network online professionally and for my other passion – running. Facebook is more for personal use and “Liking” companies to see what they are doing online. Google + has been kind of the forgotten site for me, because I only have so much time and adding it into the mix just takes extra time, same with Pinterest, Instagram and so many of the others.
Twitter – I am using a desktop application called Janetter, which is similar to the old version of TweetDeck pre-Twitter HTML5. For the most part it has worked great, but I sometimes when have too many #hashtags and it doesn’t like me until I get rid of a few of the less important ones.
I thought that when I got back to Windows that I would go to using Windows Live Writer as my blogging software. Now that I am maintaining more than one blog, I found it easier for me to simply use the blogwriter in WordPress.com – that way I don’t accidentally cross-post to the wrong blog. I can do everything I want with it except create tables (then I create them in Google Docs and copy/paste to WordPress.com), so there is a quick work-around for that issue.
See my post on Evernote, it explains it all. Evernote has become my “other” brain – the one that doesn’t forget and my task manager.
This was the biggest thing that I had to figure out during my change back to Windows, there is not really a native PDF capability (but they say it is coming to Windows 8), so I had to find software that performed those functions. I like Adobe Acrobat and was using the 30 day trial offer, but at over $400 for a license, it was definitely out of my price range.
I am and will be in cheap as possible mode during my job search so buying a new license was out – for now and at that price probably forever.
After doing a lot of research, along with more than a little hands-on testing, I ended up using the free Nitro Reader as my primary PDF reader software and someday will buy the Nitro Pro 64 bit license, which is a lot more reasonable and goes on sale quite often.
Since I blog a lot, one of the things that I have found indispensable is a good screen shot tool. I started by using Jing, which I have used for several years now and am comfortable with it. However, I recently found a screenshot software call PicPick, which I have found to be pretty amazing and does everything that I want from a my screenshot software.
However, I will warn you that navigating the PicPick website is tricky – it has too many ads that look like the download link and I finally got frustrated and found it on CNET.com and downloaded it there. When installing it don’t go with automatic install, you have to go with custom install or you end up with an AVG toolbar and a new default search engine – as I found out the hard way.
Once you get past those hurdles, the program is really great.
If you don’t want to go through those hassles just to get a pretty good screenshot program, my recommendation is to use Jing or upgrade to Snagit if you can afford it – they both work great and you don’t have to jump through any hoops to load it on your computer.
If I need to do a quick screen cast, I still just open up Jing.
Windows Live Photo Gallery with its connection to SkyDrive was very tempting, but I have used Picasa for several years, have a pretty good idea of what it does and have most of my photos backed up to the online version, so I just stuck with it as my primary photo application for now. I still haven’t figured out if I like how it connects to Google + or not yet.
I use VLC, it plays almost every kind of video without messing around with it.
I listen mostly to Pandora and have it pinned to the taskbar for music. I use iTunes by protest. As much as I complain about how bloated iTunes is, I still have my old iPhone and I have to use iTunes, if I want to manage that device. Windows Media Player works for everything else, but iTunes will be my primary music tool for a while.
Unless someone wants to send me a new unlocked Windows or Android to test and then review , how it works for me as a job searcher/runner without a data plan.
I am running Windows Defender as my Anti-Virus and Malware protection – when you are job searching you go to a lot of sites, to search for information on a company or to look for ideas to help you with your job search. Some of those sites will install tracking code or other not so pleasant things and I have found Windows Defender has done a great job of protecting me from them so far.
I use Secunia to keep my software up to date and Revo Uninstaller to get rid of most of the crapware that came installed on my Dell or to get rid of programs that I try, and find do not work for me. Revo works great for those programs that slide in a ringer during their automatic setup when you are not paying attention and you end up with some extra software, that you didn’t want at all.
If you have any software suggestions (freeware is better on my budget now), that I should be trying/using and missed – I am open to hearing your recommendations and looking at how I can incorporate them into my routines.
Many of these tools make targeting my search and paperwork (resumes, cover letters, etc.) easier and others like Janetter, make it quicker to Network online. However, as important as many of these tools are, they are simply that tools.
As job searchers we have to actually get out there and network face-to-face and impress at our interviews, when we get them. Don’t become over-reliant on technology as the answer to all of your job search efforts, they are just part of the knowledge and experience base to get you to the interview. Good luck
This entry was posted on May 26, 2012 by Harold L. Shaw. It was filed under Job Search, Technology and was tagged with Harold L. Shaw, Job Hunt, Job Search, Social media, technology, techtools, Twitter.