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September 26, 2006

What the recruiter left behind

If you've taken the step to create a personal web site or blog to increase your visibility, you should be getting visitors who find you through some sort of search. The next question is, how are they finding you? The boring answer is that they're searching for you by name. Don't get me wrong—it's good if a search on your name leads to your own web site, but it's more interesting (and useful) when people find you by searching for some other subject, such as your professional specialty.

Once you have a web site or blog, you'll want to set it up to gather statistics on your visitors. I use StatCounter, which has a free version that keeps a limited amount of information. With my free account, I can learn things like:

  • Search terms lead people to my site
  • Search engines people use to find me
  • My most popular pages and blog posts
  • Internet domains people are coming from
  • Number of visitors (listed last, but everyone's first question)

Now, first, if you're getting concerned that I'm somehow gathering personal information on everyone who visits my sites, these systems do not identify individuals. There's no personal information involved, so don't worry.

How does this stuff help in a job search? At its most basic level, it tells me if anyone is reading what I put online. I get a rough idea of what's interesting to people by what they search for and which pages get the most visitors. And I sometimes get an indication of which companies are looking at my sites (and what they looked at). Especially during the hiring process, it's interesting to know when the company you're talking to reads your blog (but it still doesn't tell you who is reading by name). When they look at your web site before the first screening call, the stats can alert you to the call you're about to receive.

Web stats are great for keeping track of visitors to your web site, which can give you useful information. Remember that your online presence is more than your web page, and make sure you're using the right keywords everywhere you want to be found.

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September 27, 2006

New salary tool from Indeed

It's not fun to be on the wrong side of an asymmetrical information situation (witness the popularity of online car pricing tools). Before you start discussing salary with a potential employer, a little homework will prepare you for a more pleasant experience. Since the original post, some new sources have popped up.

Indeed launched a new salary tool yesterday (via Search Engine Watch). Like the Indeed job search, the salary tool is simple to use and gives useful answers to the question everyone wants answered.

As a bonus for marketers, the 2006 Aquent/AMA Compensation Survey of Marketing Professionals gives another data point. It's always nice if multiple sources give similar answers, isn't it?

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October 27, 2006

Today's headlines... somewhere else

Denver PostWhen I call someone in a distant city, I like to have some clue of what's going on there. If I were calling someone in Denver today, for example, I'd be prepared to ask how they were affected by the early snow. Weather's easy to find (and I have a weather map on my dashboard), and talking about it is cliché. How would you like to know what was on the front page of their newspaper this morning?

Sure, you can look at the paper's web site—if you know what it is. You could search for newspaper and the city name if you don't. Or, you could visit the Newseum's interactive map of newspapers' front pages, find a dot in central Colorado, and click on it to see today's paper. Oh, look, it snowed.

Now, I don't need a map to find the Denver Post, but what's the local paper in Chattanooga or Boise? How about Mumbai? Or Budapest? The Newseum's directory includes more than 550 newspapers from 52 countries, which you can find with the map or from a list. In addition to the front page images, you also get a link to the newspaper's web site, so you can read the stories, too.

If you're really serious about moving to a city, you might even look for RSS feeds from the paper (in the US, you could also subscribe to Business Journal feeds to keep up with local business news).

Whether you're interviewing for a job or making a connection for a business deal, it's easy to know a little of what's going on in other cities. It's one more way to make an impression by being clued in.

November 21, 2006

Anecdotal salary comparisons - SalaryScout

It's helpful to have solid information on your market value before your interview. I've pointed out some useful sources of salary information in the past; now SalaryScout offers a different way to compare numbers (via Techcrunch).

salaryscout.pngInstead of a survey, SalaryScout picks up on social computing trends to collect anecdotal salary information from their users and let everyone comment on each other's profiles.

When you sign up for an account on SalaryScout, it asks for lots of information about your current job, compensation, and employer (but no identifiable details). You'll want to follow the advice to use a meaningless user name and generalize some details (like your job title) to avoid giving too many clues to your—and your employer's—identity.

Searching for salary information is a breeze; just type in a search term and see if it gives you what you're looking for. Titles, keywords, locations—just try it. Every search generates an RSS feed, so you can track new results as they're entered. (You are using RSS, aren't you? It's so much better to let the computer do the repetitive searching.)

The trendy part of SalaryScout—beyond the overall design of the site—is its social aspect. Members can rate and comment on profiles, which has interesting potential as the database gets populated. You may also get comments on your own profile, giving you an idea of what some anonymous person thinks of your job.

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January 5, 2007

Postscript to a layoff

Layoffs aren't easy for anyone. I've heard the stories of managers who preferred to resign rather than pick someone on their team. The trauma on the receiving end is obvious. Company support in the new job search varies tremendously, but I think this probably marks the upper limit of what the employer can do:

As noted, the Jobster employees laid off this past week were done so for strategic business reasons, not for performance reasons. This was a business focus move. Period.

In fact, we are quite proud of the fact that this company was built by some of the best and brightest people in the business.

I will personally go to bat for any of these individuals and am prepared to recommend each and every one of them. Part of my personal pledge to them is that I will do anything and everything in my power to smooth their transitions and help them land up in great places.

Jason Goldberg, Founder & CEO, Jobster

Jason's post continues with instructions on how to use Jobster to identify past and present Jobster employees, and then he invites recruiters to contact any of them—including the current employees.

How many CEOs would publish the company directory, invite recruiters to look around, and offer a personal recommendation of everyone he just laid off (and an implied recommendation of everyone who's still there)? Very nice.

If you haven't tried Jobster in your your search yet, give 'em a look.

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May 2, 2007

Unpredictable benefits of LinkedIn

"Chance favors the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur

Scott Allen is running a group blogging project on smart ways to use LinkedIn. I'm sure a lot of folks are going to write up the intelligent, organized ways that they've used LinkedIn for their careers and businesses. I'm a fan of all that, but I'm going to tell you about how sheer randomness can play a beneficial role, too. Let's talk about serendipity.

serendipity: discovering something by accident while investigating something quite different (Wiktionary)
One of the more interesting people I've met was looking for someone else at the time. This corporate PR exec—let's call him Bob, since that's not his name—was looking for Steven Gilliatt, a New York advertising heavyweight, and he tried LinkedIn. It turns out that Mr. Gilliatt isn't in LinkedIn, but I am. A few key phrases in my profile related to Bob's current interests, so he followed the link to my blog and read a bit.

Then he sent me a LinkedIn connection request.

Now, I'm not an open networker. I like to have at least a little contact with someone before accepting a link. But considering the VP title and big-name employer, I decided to accept this one, and once we were connected, the obvious next step was to talk.

What I found was a well-informed, well-connected contact with significant areas of professional interest in common. He told me stories about companies and Wikipedia, and he's given me client-side feedback on my big research project. We've had several good conversations since then, too. Obviously, I'm glad I added Bob to my network.

Let's recap the pieces that led to this happy connection:

  1. I'm in LinkedIn. If you want to be discovered, put yourself where people are looking.

  2. My profile describes my interests and activities, so someone who happens across it will have some idea of whether they're interested in what I do. A good profile will help you appear in keyword searches, too.

  3. My LinkedIn profile links to my business blog for more insight into what I'm about professionally.

  4. My use of social media is consistent with the image I want to project. My blogs, comments, profiles and tags don't paint a confusing picture for someone who finds me by unusual methods.

  5. Although I don't generally connect to people I don't know, I considered the potential and accepted Bob's connection.
Plans are great, but chance can be your friend if you're properly prepared.

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February 12, 2009

Keeping Current During Your Search

At my last corporate job, we had someone who kept up with multiple sources of industry news and shared it with everyone in business management and marketing. You won't have that luxury in a job search, but it is good to keep current in your field. For you, these free, email-based news services will help you keep up without going crazy with trade journals.

  • SmartBrief
    Huge variety of daily news summaries for industries and functional roles.

  • FierceMarkets
    Regular news briefings for segments within telecom, life sciences, enterprise IT, healthcare and finance

  • VentureWire
    Daily newsletters about startups and investment activity. Leads on companies and people.
I'm a big fan of using RSS to manage a bigger range of sources, but these newsletters are edited. If you choose wisely, they're unlikely to monopolize your day.

About Tools

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The Net-Savvy Jobseeker in the Tools category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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