I write a lot about how effective job hunters hunt all the time, and how it’s important to integrate this project into our life with their other personal and professional projects. And I write a lot about how networking is the new job hunt.
So I got excited that there’s a new category of job hunting software that emphasizes relationships and project management. I decided to write a review of this software and suggest which one you should use.
But then I realized that reviewing software is a difficult and very detail-oriented job, and I am pretty bad with details. So I asked my friend, technology journalist Dylan Tweney, to review the three products that looked best to me: Isabont, JibberJobber, and Worksolver.
In case you think you’re about to read a software review, you’re not.
Here’s my summary of his summary: Ignore all this job hunt software. Instead stick with tools you already use for your life, or tools that could actually integrate your job hunt with the rest of your life, which is how things should be.
Dylan has a lot of ideas about this: “For instance, you could learn how to use Microsoft Project or Access to track your job-hunting process. Or you could become an Outlook whiz and learn how to customize this program through software add-ins, like the Getting Things Done add-in, that will make you more productive and organized. Or you could use new, Web 2.0 project management applications like Basecamp or Backpack to organize your job search project.”
I liked this advice because Dylan has a more holistic view of managing the projects of our life, and job hunting is just one of them. I immediately checked out the stuff he mentions.
But here’s the rub: Many of the same people who are not getting jobs have no idea how to use Dylan’s favorite software to manage any project, let alone job hunt.
This is what I have referred to as the second tier of job hunters, and what people on the second tier are missing is new-millennium job hunting philosophies that job hunt software can teach.
JibberJobber, for example, does a good job of helping you to understand how to make your network the backbone of a job hunt, and walking you through the steps. (Me summarizing Dylan again. And believe me, he was way more technical and elegant.) And Worksolver does a good job of helping you to find new ways to think through the inherently messy interconnectedness of job hunting in order to sustain strong relationships. Dylan says JibberJobber is for anal retentives and Worksolver is for creative types.
In what has, at this point, become a really haphazard reporting of Dylan’s review, I will now summarize Isabont: Better looking than JibberJobber but not as thorough. So if you look at JibberJobber and the interface looks too complicated, try Isabont.
But here’s the bottom line. (From me, not Dylan.) You need to make a serious, software-based decision about how to keep track of your jobs and your hunts and your contacts over a long period of time. Or you will drown in post-it-notes and orphaned documents on your desktop.
You can use your current email folder system, to-do list system, and contact management system to achieve this task. If you do not have systems for this stuff, or the idea of it scares you, get your feet wet with job hunting software.
If you are comfortable with using standard productivity and networking software, then make sure you are establishing an expandable system for managing your job hunts and contacts.
Merlin Mann, who blogs at 43 Folders, once told me that what sets people apart at work today is their ability to manage information. So even if you do nothing after reading this post, just learning a bit more about software options for organizing your information is a big step toward making yourself stand out in the work you do.