Keeping up with all the advice, new job postings, and other information in your job search can be daunting. One great FREE online tool to manage a lot of it is Google Reader!
[UPDATE: As of 3/14/13 – Google announced that they will discontinue Google Reader. Your Google Reader feeds can be transferred to Feedly with one click, or other RSS Readers can be set up similarly]
One advantage that Google Reader gives you over many other newsfeed sites or applications available is that it allows you to include other Google tools, like Google Alerts and Calendar. It enables you get up to the minute information from the web or from your Calendar so that you don’t miss anything important.
So, what can you load into your Google Reader account for your job search?
Job Search Advice. There is a wealth of excellent help available online in the form of advice columns, blog posts, and news items. Use Google Reader to subscribe to blogs like this one, to regular job search related columns or news stories from sites like WSJ.com, Forbes.com, and others. Think about sites you go back to regularly because they are great resources for you in your search, and subscribe to them in your Google Reader account. It saves you a tremendous amount of time to have everything automatically fed to one place that you can read anytime, rather than go out to each site individually. Consolidate your reading and become more efficient.
Target company news and job postings. You can set up Google Alerts for specific jobs that get posted to specific company websites that you may be targeting. I wrote about this before in using X-Ray searches with Google…
Google Alerts are an excellent way to be made aware of new information that gets posted, as it occurs. Perhaps you are a Programmer that specializes in Java development and one of your target companies is United Health Group (UHG) in the Minneapolis area. You can set up Alerts to let you know as soon as a relevant new position is posted on their site.
For news, you can simply set up an Alert searching “United Health”, and anything posted anywhere with that string will trigger a notification to you.
For jobs, you can set up an Alert using an X-Ray search of their site’s career pages. As an example, if you are looking for Java related position that they post on their own site for Minnesota locations you can set up an Alert string like:
site:careers.unitedhealthgroup.com minnesota java
Most companies post positions on their own site before they are posted on any external job boards, and many times they don’t post a position on external job boards at all. The notification you will get of the new posting will make you aware of it before most everyone else!
You can set up as many Alerts as you’d like, for as many companies as you’d like, and with as many variations of search words as you’d like… be creative!
New Calendar events. Do you need additional prompts for new items you put on your calendar? You can have your Google Calendar items fed directly into your Google Reader account. You can learn specifically how to do that on Google’s Calendar Help Page.
What new items do employers see about you? Survey after survey shows that a majority of employers will Google a potential new hire at some point during the decision making process. Are you aware of what they are likely to find? Set up an Alert with your name so that any time a new item about you appears online, you will see it pop up in your Reader. Don’t get caught off guard by items that can be harmful to your search.
These, and other ideas can be very useful for your job search process and make you far more efficient in managing all the information you have to juggle in an effective job search. Be creative in finding additional worthwhile things you can include in your reader. And take advantage to the tools available to you!