There are so many ways that our smartphones support us on a daily basis. But did you know they can also help us with a critical goal, like job hunting?
With the new year upon us, there will be droves of job candidates (and recruiters) hot on the search. What you have at your disposal, however, is anytime/anywhere access to some important tools, thanks to that trusty device. So here are some savvy mobile tips to help you land a terrific new gig!
The best thing about it is that you can do many of these whenever you want — when you're home, standing in line to exchange a Christmas gift or waiting at the dentist's office. Since you're not tied down to your computer, you can just handle many of the following tasks anywhere:
1. Launch your Facebook app and remove damaging images of yourself. If you don't think this is necessary, guess what — it is. Recruiters are getting savvier, and Google and Facebook searches are becoming the norm, so get embarrassing pics out of your photo album. Oh, and don't forget to parse images that your friends have tagged of you. (Your pics might be pristine, but you know some doofus uploaded that image of you and your ex doing body shots last month.) If your app doesn't support that, try it in your mobile browser, or leave yourself an audio note, email or other reminder to do it when you're at your desktop, so you don't forget. (By the way, social sites like Facebook and Linked In are extremely powerful tools for the job seeker. Do not underestimate them. Not only can you learn about opportunities, research companies and start up communications there. Which brings me to task #2...)
2. Access Linked In via an app or browser and accept EVERYONE (well, maybe not that high school chum with the criminal record and school listing of "Graduate of F.U.!" Yeah, him you can leave off). This will widen your networking pool, which is exactly what you want when job searching. And don't forget to message previous supervisors and ask if they'll write you online recommendations. If you're really into the Linked In thing, then joining industry groups for your desired field is also another way of connecting with new contacts and potential employers.
3. Keep a copy of your resume and a cover letter on hand — like in an app like DropBox, for example. I'm a big fan of DropBox, since there are Android, iPhone and BlackBerry apps for this, in addition to desktop and online access to free accounts. All that stays in sync, so there's no worry over sending the wrong version, no matter which you use. Of course, it's better to tailor each cover letter for the specific opening — not to mention that typos are notorious on handsets — but if you happen to come upon an opportunity that needs immediate response (and you're nowhere near your computer), at least you'll be prepared.
4. Keep your own professional contact info in your own addressbook (complete with URL to your online resume). I've actually had amazing conversations with people at parties, social outings and random venues that lead to incredible opportunities. With your own info on hand, you can email it to the contact on the spot, or better yet — if they're carting around the Bump iPhone or Android application, you can knock devices to share your 411, all while looking like a savvy, hip, techno-forward professional they'd just love to have. (And yes, this app works cross platform, so go ahead and klunk that MyTouch 4G with that new friend's iPhone 4 — and try not to hold their choice of device against them.)
5. Use job search apps. In truth, some are good, some aren't. You'll have to do a little research to see which offer the best opportunities in your area. Generally speaking, for the iPhone, there's Monster.com's app. For Android users, there's Job Search. Both are must-haves on any job seeker's device, but feel free to bookmark the online classifieds in your mobile browser of choice as well.
BONUS TASK: You want to stand out, don't you? Why not create your own QR barcode for your contact info, online resume or Linked In profile? It's SO easy to do it these days. There are extensions and plugins for Safari, Chrome and Firefox that make fast and easy work of this. Given the fact that smartphones are so popular, and that QR codes are the "in" thing this year, there's a chance you could run into a valuable contact, recruiter or potential employer who finds it extremely cool that you have a QR code. And better yet, they might find it fun to whip out their phones and scan your code right then and there, so be sure to put it on your resume, business card, and emails, as well as just keeping the image in your phone. This opportunity may not come up very often, but once is all it takes. And if differentiation is the name of the game, this would be one cool way to stand out from the crowd.
The thing about job hunting is that you never know when an opportunity will strike. For me, the biggest gigs of my career came my way through meeting people at parties, or even the luck of the draw — like an airline seat assignment that put an editor beside my best friend (who thankfully talked me up!).
Oh, that leads me to the last tip. And this one has nothing to do with phones. Tell all your friends and family members that you're exploring opportunities right now. Nothing's better than having an army of people keeping extra eyes out for you. Plus, they're like walking recommendations, so work those connections. Happy hunting and good luck!