There are seven great tools to hack your career here, and none of them is LinkedIn! Unlike many of the lists you’ll find out there, ours has the social tools you might not have heard of already.
Some of these are methods for making yourself more visible to employers, some will improve your application themselves, and some just help you manage everything. All of them will improve your prospects of finally hitting your goals – whether they involve getting a raise, taking on new responsibilities, or changing careers altogether.
In fact, number one on its own could save you a whole load of heartache …
In today’s world of smartphones, social media, and high-speed wireless internet access, it’s all too easy to post something that you’ll later regret. A post made during a Saturday night out in 2008 could quite easily be seen by a potential employer. This is probably not the way you want to market yourself when looking for a new job.
Enter Clear and its founder Ethan Czahor. Czahor had landed his dream job as Chief Technical Officer for Jeb Bush’s political operations, when the media got hold of his old Twitter posts. As a former standup comedian, Czahor’s feed contained some … interesting … material. It was enough to lose him his position. Czahor vowed to create an app so that no one should have to experience the same situation again. Clear is that app.
What Clear does is flag any material you might have posted to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that could be considered offensive. It does this partly by using IBM’s Watson supercomputer. It then provides an easy solution to deleting any offending social media content from your feed. Think of it as an automated personal reputation management solution.
Ok, so you might already use Reddit. But did you know that as well as cat pictures and news on Kim Jong Un’s latest haircut, Reddit can actually be a valuable career resource? Naturally, it all comes down to the subreddit (subforum) you’re browsing.
Reddit gives you the chance to connect with like-minded people all over the world – and there’s a wealth of experience out there. For general job-seeking advice, /r/jobs or /r/ukjobs are invaluable resources, but you’re missing out if you don’t look at industry-specific forums too.
Examples of the broad range that job-specific subreddits cover, include:
- /r/digitalnomad (working remotely).
- /r/electricians (electricians).
- /r/humanresources (HR workers).
- /r/kitchenconfidential (culinary).
- /r/netsec (cyber security).
- /r/oilandgasworkers (oil and gas).
- /r/policeuk (UK police officers).
- /r/radiology (professions involved in radiology).
- /r/retail (retail workers).
- /r/sales (salespeople).
- /r/teachinguk (UK teachers).
If you want to see what recruiters go through every day, you could even check out /r/recruitinghell for more information. Most industries will have a subreddit, so it’s just a matter of finding a good one.
Once you’ve lurked for a bit and got the measure of a subreddit, you should be able to ask your question without receiving too much flack. This is the internet though, so be prepared to have a thick skin, and remember to take any advice with a pinch of salt.
It’s not always easy to spot a bad employer – and anyone who’s been there will tell you that it can take a real toll on your mental health. Glassdoor is a great tool for finding out what it’s really like to work for a company, because it crowdsources insider information / reviews from employees and former employees.
Glassdoor gives candidates the power to see not only what the culture is like inside a company, but also stops them from getting duped into accepting a low salary. By finding out what other people with your job title within a company are earning, you can have some real bargaining power when you enter the interview room. No one wants to be earning 10% less than the person sat next to them, after all.
While Glassdoor works well for larger companies, it does start to struggle when you get down to the level of small business. Unfortunately, this can’t really be helped – many people would be reluctant to leave an anonymous review for a small business because of the ease with which they could be identified by bosses.
Do you work in a field where job adverts generally ask for a portfolio, or where you think you could benefit from demonstrating a passion for your field? Why not start a blog? This is an obvious one if you’re looking for a job in web design or content production, but there are many fields and industries where a bit of passion could set you apart from the crowd.
WordPress is a popular blogging platform and comes in two main flavours. These are WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Unless you’re thinking of building a professional (and self-hosted) business site, we’d recommend heading to WordPress.com, which is the simpler option, where WordPress will handle the hosting for you.
If you’re a mechanic, you could blog about a car restoration you’re doing in your spare time. A chef could start a recipe site with photos of their food. Engineers could show the world the personal projects they’ve designed and built over the years. The possibilities really are endless.
This article is about social tools – and a blog gives you the ideal opportunity to network with your peers. Make sure you build in a comments section, and take the opportunity to discuss the work of others over on their own blogs. You could even use a medium like Instagram to further increase your traffic. But the bottom line is that a blog will give you something great to link to in your CV or resume. The best employers love to see a bit of passion for your work – and that’s what this will demonstrate.
Specialist sites within your industry
In addition to creating a blog portfolio, which is a great idea (see point four above), you might also want to consider using a specialist site for a similar purpose. Now these aren’t available for every industry, but there are more than a few great sites out there. Not all of these are obvious portfolio sites either – but try to think how a recruiter or employer might use them to find top candidates.
Just like many websites specialise in modeling portfolios, a site like Dribbble is great news for designers – because it allows them to showcase their work to a truly global audience. Github is a well-known site for sharing and reviewing code, and can make a great platform for programmers looking to further their career in the IT industry. For writers, sites like Journoportfolio can be a good shout.
The great thing about specialist sites as opposed to just producing your own website is that employers and recruiters will often browse them on a speculative basis. This makes having a profile on one of these sites a great weapon to have in your job seeking arsenal. Of course not every job role is conducive to using a portfolio, but for those that are, this approach can work well.
The job market today can be a difficult place to thrive. Many candidates will have to apply for a large amount of jobs before they finally get anywhere – and if you’re looking for your dream job, it could take you quite a while.
To help candidates get around this, Jason Alba came up with the idea of Jibberjobber. Jibberjobber makes managing your job search easier, by helping you to keep track of where you’re up to. It gives you a single place to keep track of all your applications – and it can do the same thing with your networking contacts.
While you could achieve a lot of this using a spreadsheet, Jibberjobber keeps things simple and saves you having to design anything. It’s custom made to help you in your search. The basic version is also free. Really it’s just one less thing to do – which will free up more time for you to find and apply for vacancies. That can’t be a bad thing.
You might already have heard of Slack; it’s the trendier way to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. But did you know that it also has a useful purpose in your job search? Slack public groups are a great way to network with like-minded people in just about any industry. The app is especially relevant in the tech space.
‘Great’, you might think – networking is never a bad thing – but how does that help me to find a job? Well, by being active in Slack public groups based around your professional interests – especially groups that are focussed on your geographical area – you make yourself much more visible to recruiters. And because LinkedIn is chocked up with so much noise nowadays, savvy recruiters are always looking for the next big thing in candidate communication.
For a lot of recruiters, Slack is that next big thing – as a recent article by Fast Company points out. By being active on Slack and discussing the things that matter to you professionally, you can ensure you’re a part of this whole process. And a better recruiter will often mean that you end up getting a better job. That’s one reason we run a site dedicated to helping you find the best recruiter for you.
In today’s competitive job market, it pays to tip the scales in your favour. Even if you’re in an industry where skilled candidates can be scarce – like IT or education for instance – there’s always a better job out there.
The tools on this page can help to give you the advantage you need to take things to the next level. Job vacancies with the best responsibilities, benefits, or salaries tend to be a higher level of difficulty to get into, so the benefits of trying something new in your job search can be huge.
Of course, there’s no replacement for experience in this regard. While all of the tools we mention here will help you in your hunt for a new job to some degree, our biggest piece of advice to jobseekers is to enlist the help of a recruitment agency. Whether you’re looking for someone with specialist experience of placing candidates within a certain industry, or a team who know your local area like the back of their hand, Agency Central can put you in touch.