Dig Into Your (Virtual) Job Hunt Toolbox


College graduates can use their computers for lots of free job hunt tools.

We’ve already talked about the importance of social media and the job hunt. Our Careers Editor, Michelle, also gave grads a thorough step-by-step guide to conducting a job search on LinkedIn.

However, what you might not realize is how much good stuff is under the virtual hood, even for grads who don’t take the LinkedIn route but still want to use the web to their (inexpensive) advantage.

The internet-based job hunt is not just about networking and resume-pushing to actual prospects. It can also be a job searcher’s bag of freebies, from styled resume templates to hot industry leads on Twitter.

Because no job search can end soon enough, here are my favorite resources on amping up yours at  no cost beyond your wifi connection.

Set Up a Blog-folio of Work

Key for creative professionals, marketing wannabes, and even academics, is having a snazzy online portfolio. This is your place to shine, your URL of greatness. And you don’t have to blog (although I recommend it if you enjoy writing ).

WordPress and other blogging platforms are actually excellent out-of-the-box content management systems, meaning that they can organize and host your content (i.e. your portfolio of work) without the need to build a website with a database from scratch. Google “free portfolio WordPress themes” and you’ll find a bazillion templates (like these) that are beautiful and readily customizable. Savvy WP users will get their own hosting and customize to the max with additional plugins and template edits.

Download an HTML or CSS/CV Resume Template

Again, not all of us are designers – and we shouldn’t pretend we are. But most experts agree that a stylish resume with plenty of white space helps draw the eye to the important stuff – and like most everything else a weary job searcher does, having a fresh-looking resume can help to distinguish you from the rest of the pack. This excellent list of free, very professional templates will help take your boring resume to the next step – and you can customize them to make yourself really original. (Remember to always have a plaintext and a PDF version of your resume handy too.)

Google Docs is Your Friend

In fact, if you’re a Gmail user, it should be your very good friend already – but if it’s not, here are a few templates to get you started on the path to Google Docs organizational greatness. The greatest thing about G Docs is that you can share, upload, publish and connect with other G Doccers out there – and that’s just what the brilliant Jenny Blake of “Life After College” blog has done. From job interview “Cliffs Notes” to an a document designed to help you keep track of your networking contacts, Jenny Blake is after this listmaker’s heart. Check out her Google Doc templates (blank and ready for you to customize) on her blog, and organize your job search (and budget, and life) virtually: http://www.lifeaftercollege.org/blog/templates/

Search Twitter Responsibly

Finding out what the hell to listen to, social media-wise, can be a daunting task. Don’t let it become one by following a million career advisers or recruiters. Instead, seek out lists to follow that field experts have already compiled.

Another way to make your Twitter experience more fruitful is to search by hashtag (which work much like tags on Flickr, except you add them to your Tweets with a # symbol). Confused? Don’t be. Here’s a clickable list of job search hashtags like the good old #jobhunt. Click on any of them to see the real-time Twitter search result. Once you find a few queries that yield results you care about, you can look at the righthand navigation bar on Twitter.com – at the bottom, underneath the trending topics, is the orange RSS button – an RSS feed for that query.

What are your favorite free job hunt resources online? Share your suggestions in the comments!

About the Author: Lindsey Donner

Lindsey Donner, is a writer who graduated magna cum laude from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2006. Her diverse experience includes working as managing editor of an English newspaper in Mexico and copyediting a novel about Cleopatra in the Czech Republic. In 2009, Lindsey launched her own design and writing consultancy, Well Versed Creative. Be sure to read her blog about the business of writing.

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