By Shawn McGowan, JobsInVT.com
How do you have time to keep up your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts while maximizing your job search? Here are three great tools that can help.
Tweetdeck is a social aggregator that allows users to manage their presence on several social networking sites all in one easy-to-use dashboard. Keep up to date with friends, post updates and reply to people across all your networks - from Twitter, to Myspace, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more. It offers a highly customizable interface for Twitter users especially.
I love Tweetdeck. Though it continues to incorporate networks, you can manage with it; I use Tweetdeck mainly for the advanced Twitter experience it offers. The ability to create custom columns that monitor my follower lists I've created and search for keywords or phrases (for example, Twitter "hashtags" like #jobs, #+siRegion+, or tags specific to conferences or events like #SMBME) brings the power and value of Twitter to a whole new level. It allows me to easily manage all of my online social networks at a glance. I couldn't imagine tweeting without it.
Keeping track of potential leads, references, or industry heavy hitters via social networking sites and blogs can be daunting when your source for news on these contacts is spread between several inboxes and RSS feeds. Gist allows you to connect your email inbox to the social web, funnel all content from people in your network into one unified database, and prioritize them all by what's most important to you.
For those of you who take networking seriously, Gist is a powerful free tool for managing your professional network. I've been using Gist for a little less than a year and have found it quite handy for keeping track of important contacts across several social networks.
When I am about to meet with someone I may have interacted with to a limited degree via email, but have never met in person (i.e. an interviewer or hiring manager), knowing a little more about them is certainly advantageous. Rather than spending a lot of time searching for this valuable information, Gist is connected to my inbox and uses that person's email address to search sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even blogs to gather their online content so that I can easily get a sense of their areas of expertise, personality, and shared contacts I might not have been aware of.
3. Your Smartphone
Smartphone users, you are in luck. Whether you use iPhone, Android, Blackberry or others, most of the social networking sites mentioned above, are available to you on the go, 24/7. Keeping close watch on your job search via subscribed RSS searches, email alerts, online conversations, or leads on in-person events and opportunities at a moment's notice can insure you don't miss anything.
iPhone users may want to try the Tweetdeck, Gist, Facebook, and LinkedIn apps. Android folks are encouraged to try the official Twitter app (Tweetdeck for Android is currently in development), DroidIn, Gist, Facebook, and Google's own: Buzz. Facebook, LinkedIn, and UberTwitter for Blackberry are all must-haves.
Managing Your Time
This can seem like overload at times, but setting "quiet times" and other time management techniques can help avert social media burnout. You may not always need such constant contact with your online communities, but in searching for the best possible opportunity, it pays to do all that we can.